The UK's leading big band, The Syd Lawrence Orchestra, were chosen by producer Mike Valentine for his exploration into the sound differences between direct cut vinyl and a multi-track analogue tape recording and mix done of exactly the same event. The album had to be recorded live so he had to choose a selection of music which would be of the perfect length. Valentine chose a recording studio which not only had a superb sounding space, but also an engineer versed in the black art of cutting live vinyl. Ultimately, he chose Air Studios with engineers Jake Jackson and John Webber. The Syd Lawrence Orchestra led by Chris Dean perform music consisting of eight pieces from the big band era, the creations of Glen Miller, Artie Shaw, and Benny Goodman played live at Air Studios. That recording is now available on CD - enjoy!
During August 2015 the WDR Big Band performed an impressive concert of large ensemble jazz crossed with African timbres and rhythms, at the Cologne Philharmonic. The guests also included Rhani Krija on percussion, Henry Dorina, electric bass, Woz Kaly, vocals and Jean-Philippe Rykiel, keyboard. The pieces were arranged and conducted by Michael Mossmann. The music is presented by Mokhtar Samba: it is about vibrant rhythms and hypnotising melodies. As Samba feels very close to the music of his ancestors, his pieces are naturally heavily influenced by the elementary power of African rhythms.
It's patently obvious for everyone that Martial SOLAL is virtuosity itself. Even with an unlimited technical skill he never lets himself be content with this utmost proficiency. Because music can never confine itself to such a necessary mastery, he set himself other goals. Throughout the constant clinch with the piano, forever trying to progress - even beyond what is possible - towards that horizon of the ideal where the improviser, free from any technical concern, can at least reach the unbelievable. With such a degree of perfection, even improvisation becomes obvious.