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2015/02 2015/02

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Alan Luff (p40 – welcome back, Alan) prefers to talk of jazz not politics but it’s not so in all quarters. Ahead of the Jazz For Labour concert at the London Barbican on 27 February, clarinettist Arun Ghosh says: “Jazz embodies, and has always been built on anti-racist and progressive principles, principles that I believe are essential for our society. I do not want to live in a country where narrow-mindedness and bigotry are the norm. Jazz for Labour represents and calls for another way; just like the music, we value and recognise the need for community, empathy, fairness and diversity.” These are fine sentiments, but is that the whole truth about jazz? Saxophonist Gilad Atzmon coincidentally offers a different perspective in a 4 January interview at “Like many people of my generation, I grew up inspired by Left thought and progressive self-righteousness. I foolishly tended to believe that people who speak about equality are somehow better. As I got older, I obviously grasped the lie that is embedded in whatever is left out of the Left. I am now regarding myself as a reactionary essentialist.” It seems politics can be as much combative fun as the best jazz cutting contests.

Drummer Peter Erskine has had a colourful, wide-ranging career before and after his years in Weather Report’s classic line-up. Wif Stenger sat down with this humble giant of the drum kit to look into the past and future (featuring Maarit Kytöharju's exceptional colour photography and many historic shots from Erskine's own archive)

Polishing the brass: Trumpeter Wallace Roney explores the 1960s and 70s constellation around Miles Davis; trumpeter Goran Kajfes builds on Gillespie and Don Cherry; singer Roberto Gambarini finds voice in Clark Terry and Sweets Edison

Dolphy’s origin and legacy; Lars Gullin; Radio Times archived online; Ahmad Jamal; Paul Robeson

Steve Voce admires Dave Bennett’s revival of Battle Royal, speculates on the history of the Lunceford band and sees Bechet honoured in Fitzrovia

Dave Gelly remembers that once jazz was seen by the avant-garde as the saviour of music precisely because it was popular entertainment

Michael Tucker reflects on the euphony and discord generated by saxophonist Jan Garbarek’s million-selling collaboration with The Hilliard Ensemble

John White tells the story of America’s wartime recording programme for troops in the field

Books: Jazz Child: A Portrait of Sheila Jordan; The Real Jazz Solos Book; Free Jazz & Improvisation On Vinyl 1965-1985. DVD: John Cassavetes’ Too Late Blues

Acker Bilk; David Redfern; Giorgio Gaslini; Peter Russell

Alan Luff recalls a new year 70 years ago and its portents of change as the big bands declined and the jazz baby boomers popped forth

JJ offers unrivalled coverage of recorded jazz, carrying more than 20,000 words of expert comment and discography on jazz across the board in every issue. See a complete list of CDs reviewed in JJ February 2015, including excerpts.
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