Thursday, 19 November 2020

Tenderlonious & Dennis Ayler ‎– 8rick Ci7y (2017)

Genre: Electronic, Jazz, Funk / Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl, FLAC
Label: 22a 

A1.   Be Ur Friend
A2.   Bootsy
A3.   Funky Booda
A4.   Smoke (Part IV)
A5.   Brick City (4pm)
B1.   Butterfly
B2.   Pepe's Walk
B3.   Ferndale Gateaux
B4.   Untitled
B5.   Brick City (4am)

Cover Design – Theo Ackroyd
Photography By – Alex Zalewska

Edward Cawthorne was born into a military family and spent much of his early childhood abroad. Any propensity to rebel from such a regimented yet rootless upbringing was exacerbated at boarding school back in the UK. Unlike his contemporaries, Cawthorne benefitted from neither a traditional jazz education, nor the osmosis of being a teenager in an urban environment. When it comes to musical history, Woking is hardly Detroit.

Riding out a rocky adolescence listening to drum’n’bass and making loops in his bedroom may not be a suburban experience partiular to Cawthorne, but things got worse before they got better. A few turbulent years as a disaffected beat-maker for grime artists on the fringes of the law hardly amounted to a career in music, and distractions (sought or imposed) were everywhere.

Cawthorne was at a low ebb when the soprano sax – or “golden clarinet” as he thought it was – pierced his consciousness. “From listening to Lateef and seeing the soprano in the window [of a local music shop], I thought maybe that’s the focus that I needed,” he remembers. “I enquired with the guy in the shop, and he looked at me like “who the hell are you?” because I was on some rude boy stance.” It’s an encounter he recalls with great pride, as the main character in a narrative who revels in being written off.

That stance is one which Cawthorne still carries today, and the juxtaposition of seeing a tattooed jazz musician on stage in a Slazenger tracksuit remains striking. For our photos he whips his hood up, grabbing young puppy Rocco like a prize fighting dog. And while he speaks eloquently, almost uninterrupted, for close to two hours, his inflections alternate seamlessly between that rude boy stance and crisp, middle class articulations.

Again with those assumptions. As much as any musician trying to make a living from their work – and having to promote themselves to do so – there’s no separating Ed Cawthorne from the music he makes as Tenderlonious.

A largely self-taught jazz saxophonist with seventeen years of beat-making experience, a respected, financially self-sufficient record label in 22a, three major musical outlets as Tenderlonious, Ruby Rushton and 22archestra, several releases already this year, and a live schedule graduating from Bussey Building to Ronnie Scott’s in a matter of days, his is a story that has helped refresh a genre beset by a reputation of elitism, and establishment pretence.

Fast-forward a few years and things begin to look very different. Doing grade one and grade four saxophone as a 23 year old (qualified, almost defiantly with, “I got distinction and stuff in them anyway!”), Cawthorne took lessons with a British jazz player called Pat Crumly who he found on the internet.

A member of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) Buddhist movement – like Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter – Crumly gave Cawthorne more than just musical foundations, opening a door to spirituality, which although short-lived, only served to deepen the experience of learning to play music.

Devastated by Crumly’s death (“I loved him a lot. Pat was like an uncle, and I felt like he really loved me too”, he remembers), Cawthorne’s brief flirtation with Buddhism was replaced by a renewed dedication to his instrument, and honing the ability to express himself in an emotionally articulate manner. Legends like like Yusef Lateef and John Coltrane were a good place to start…

Sacred System ‎– Nagual Site (1998)

Style: Dub, Drum n Bass, Fusion, Ambient
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: BMG Classics, Wicklow

1.   Raag Sohni
2.   Black Lotus
3.   X-Zibit-i
4.   Derive
5.   Saiya Nikasegaye
6.   Driftwork
7.   Aab Yaad Kar Tu

Bass – Jah Wobble
Cornet – Graham Haynes
Drums, Frame Drum – Hamid Drake
Ghatam, Bells – Aiyb Dieng
Shakuhachi, Khene – Clive Bell
Tabla – Zakir Hussain
Tabla, Voice – Badal Roy
Trombone – Craig Harris
Voice – Sussan Deyhim
Guitar, Twelve-String Guitar – Nicky Skopelitis
Harmonium, Voice – Gulam Mohamed Khanr
Organ, Electric Piano – Bernie Worrell
Tabla, Ektare, Drums, Percussion – Bill Buchen
Soprano Saxophone – Byard Lancaster, Dave Liebman
Bass, Keyboards, Percussion, Producer  – Bill Laswell

Slightly more traditional in its approach than much of bassist/producer Bill Laswell's fusionary world music outings, the mesmerizing Nagual Site was one of the first releases from head Chieftan Paddy Maloney's eclectic label, Wicklow. A breathtakingly original Indian/ambient music fusion, the lushly-textured album prominently features the vocal talents of Gulam Mohammed Khan and Sussan Deyhim, as well as more subtle contributions from frequent Laswell co-conspirators like guitarist Nicky Skopelitis, bassist Jah Wobble, Indian percussion masters Badal Roy and Zakir Hussain, and former P-funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell. Remarkably seamless and organic, this is one of Laswell's most heady stylistic brews.
Bret Love / AllMusic
Bill Laswell is progressive music’s version of Master P., dropping more projects than you would think possible for one artist. Unlike P, however, Laswell manages to produce consistently interesting material. Bill Laswell and Sacred System’s Nagual Site (Wicklow Records, 09026-63263-2, 52:04), features Laswell’s take on Qawwalli, the Sufi devotional vocal style popularized by the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. The combination of singers Guylam Mohamed Khan and Ustad Sultan Khan and Laswell’s trademark ambient washes produces some good moments, and Laswell’s familiar list of collaborators add their own flavor to the batter. Bernie Worrell’s gothic organ stabs highlight the dub-influenced Black Lotus. Cornetist Graham Haynes waxes wistful on the fusionoid ballad “Derive,” and “X-Zibit” and “Driftwork” hint at drum-n-bass, rather than tackling it head on-wisely so, considering the proliferation of cookie-cutter drum-n-bass stuff.
Tony Green / JazzTimes 

Jon Hassell ‎– Earthquake Island (1978)

Style: Fusion, Contemporary Jazz, Afro-Cuban Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl, FLAC
Label: Tomato

A1.   Voodoo Wind
A2.   Cobra Moon
A3.   Sundown Dance
B1.   Earthquake Island
B2.   Tribal Secret
B3.   Balia
B4.   Adios Saturn

Bass – Claudio Ferreira, Miroslav Vitous
Guitar – Claudio Ferreira, Ricardo Silveira
Percussion – Dom Um Romao
Voice, Congas – Nana Vasconcelos
Tabla – Badal Roy
Trumpet, Synthesizer – Jon Hassell 
Vocals – Clarice Taylor
Composed By, Producer – Jon Hassell

Earthquake Island was Hassell's first project supported by a traditional lineup -- two guitarists, a bassist, and several percussionists. Rhythms from Latin American and the Caribbean appear for the only time (so far) in this world citizen's recordings, and on a couple of tracks there's even a guest vocalist named Clarice Taylor. Earthquake Island is also the artist's least discussed album. Okay, make that undiscussed -- even on websites devoted to Hassell's music, it only gets a sentence or two. In hindsight, this album seemed like a backward step compared to the electronic drones and hand percussion of Vernal Equinox, and was perhaps taken as a thin example of the late-'70s jazz fusion taste for Latin percussion and horn arrangements (cf. Santana; the 1979 debut by Irakere). Certainly the participation of Weather Report vets like bassist Miroslav Vitous and percussionist Dom Um Romão promised a bit of that band's shine with jazz reviewers and fans. This is too bad, because a nice, unusually direct collection of tunes has gone overlooked. Certainly, the Moog and Arp synthesizers date the music. They provide nice harmonic guidelines without getting slippery, but are a little slick; Vitous' bass and the guitars of Claudio Ferreira and Ricardo Silviera don't use electronic effects, so they don't match Hassell's brass textures. But they all, Um Romeo, Nana Vasconcelos, and Pakistan tabla master Badal Roy, create a bottom far earthier than the experimental percussion textures of Dream Theory in Malaysia or the overworked, undermelodic funk rock of City: Works of Fiction, especially the touches of samba. Where Hassell's trumpet effects and stylings tend to swell up and even loom over his keyboards and rhythm sections on his finest albums, this time the melodies keep him playing closer to the treetops.

The fun parts catch Hassell using his horn to make sounds that, in other hands, would drive high school band directors to chain-smoke. Under the string synthesizer of "Tribal Secrets," he creates a two-note riff by inhaling through the trumpet; sucks a kissing tone on "Voodoo Wind," and everywhere he leans close to the microphone for a solo and relaxes his embouchure so air can stream around the mouthpiece. The closer, "Adios Saturn," is a particularly gratifying slice of cheese. Hassell cops from easy listening icon Ray Conniff and plays a snake-like melody in unison with Taylor over modulations taken from the opening track.
John Young / AllMusic