In these interesting times, I have had moments of turning to my record player for solace to reflect on some of the fantastic jazz musicians who have appeared at Lakeside, sometimes on more than one occassion. I share with you some of my favourite jazz tracks by musicians who have struck a cord with me for their musical talents – Ian Perry, Box Office Manager, Lakeside's in-house jazz expert on a series of jazz discoveries.
THE BAD PLUS – LITHIUM
The Bad Plus sought through many contemporary popular classics, covering songs by Nirvana, Blondie, Queen, Pink Floyd and many others. This track is taken from the album For All I Care which featured guest vocalist Wendy Lewis and was released just before their first performance at Lakeside in 2010. Their original material is equally compelling and as propulsive as some of their cover versions. I never listened to Nirvana when I was younger, I was only interested in jazz. I’d never heard the song Lithium before I heard this version. I’ve heard Nirvana’s version since then but I’ll stick with this one. I once heard drummer David King talking about musical influences when he was younger and how he considered jazz to be much more indie than Indie! The Bad Plus have been performing since the year 2000. Pianist Ethan Iverson left the band at the end of 2017 and was replaced by Orrin Evans. Orrin’s first album with Reid Anderson and David King was aptly Never Stop II.
Further listening: These Are the Vistas (Columbia 2003), Blunt Object: Live in Tokyo (Sony 2005), Activate Infinity (Edition 2019)
CRAIG TABORN – AVENGING ANGEL
Craig Taborn is the most recent US visitor to Lakeside, in December 2019. Craig has worked with a who’s who of the contemporary US jazz scene, including Steve Coleman, Dave Douglas, Wadada Leo Smith, Mat Maneri and Roscoe Mitchell, to name but a few. I first came across him via Tim Berne’s Science Friction and Chris Potter’s Underground. He’s toured and recorded with many of his own trios and other group formats. I’d been told of his stunning solo concerts, totally improvised from start to finish, so I was really excited by his Lakeside appearance. It was one of those gigs that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. I’ve chosen the title track from his 2010 album of the same name but it could have been almost any track form the album. It’s hard to recreate the magic of a totally improvised concert but I hope this gives you an insight into this extraordinary musician.
Further Listening: Chants (ECM 2012), Tim Berne’s Science Friction The Sublime And (Thirsty Ear 2003) Chris Potter’s Underground Follow the Red Line (Sunnyside 2007) Ches Smith The Bell (ECM 2016)
ELEVATION – RANK & FILE
I first came across Transylvanian pianist Lucian Ban around the time of his Enesco Re-Imagined project and later saw him perform with viola player Mat Maneri in Derby. Over a pint in the Vat & Fiddle one day he told me of his new quartet, Elevation. When he said they were “smoking” I though he meant they were on 40 Woodbines a day until I realised that he meant “smokin’ “. It took another couple of years to bring Elevation to Lakeside in 2014. I’d heard saxophonist Abraham Burton with the Mingus Big Band, bassist John Hebert was (and still is) one of the most popular bass players around, I’d heard him on the radio with many different groups, And drummer Eric McPherson already had a healthy presence as a sideman in my record collection. Hearing all four musicians together was a treat. They were truly smokin’. Difficult to choose just one track from the album Mystery I eventually plumped for Rank & File after changing my mind several times.
Further listening: Songs From Afar (Sunnyside 2016) Lucian Ban Enesco Re-Imagined (Sunnyside 2010) Lucian Ban & Mat Maneri Transylvanian Concert (ECM 2013)