I saw Neil Cowley last Saturday in his tribute to the musical life of Dudley Moore. As famous as Dudley was for his acting and comedy performances it was music that was his real love. He played to deal with his demons and he played beautifully. Neil Cowley did a fantastic job illustrating this story with Dudley Moore’s own music and his influences. He neatly showed how that story affected his own too.
I felt a bit jaded about my music listening recently. Nothing quite hit the spot. I was saved from this luxurious problem by hearing a band called Algiers on the NPR All Songs Considered podcast. Their full-on, powerful song ‘Black Eunuch’ blew away most of the cobwebs.
I was also helped by Camille’s classic (well, classic to me) album, Le Fil. This is my go-to album when nothing else works.
Finally, I heard the new Andy Sheppard album, Surrounded by Sea. Jazz is always hard to define but I came to this because it’s on the ECM label which rarely produces bad albums. The line-up is double bass, drums, sax and guitar. The guitarist adds textural support, rather than shredding and strumming. I’m intrigued by this use of the instrument and putting it in a jazz context makes it more compelling. I’m aware this is a personal taste and became even more aware of how subjective these things are when I checked out reviews for the album. In the Guardian, John Fordham wrote “the addition of Eivind Aarset’s guitar playing “…gives the music even more breathing space.” In the Telegraph Ivan Hewett says the music is “…suffocated by Eivind Aarset’s electronics and heavily pedalled guitar.” I greatly enjoyed the album and recommend a listen.
If you like music that moves outside the mainstream (whatever that is) then listen to some centrozoon. It's deep, immersive stuff. Full of emotion, power and even a little humour. I love it. Tell your friends!