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Joe Temperley

At the end of last week, the sad news came through that saxophonist Joe Temperley has died. Anyone who attended Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra concerts over the past years will have known about Joe – a bulky figure perched at the end of the saxophone section, playing both baritone saxophone and bass clarinet with a sound that harked back to the golden era of jazz. Remarkably for a musician who was steeped in the jazz tradition, and who made a real impact in the hustle and bustle of the New York scene, Joe was Scottish through and through – born in 1927 in Lochgelly, a small mining town in Fife, he worked his way through the British dance and swing bands of the 40s and 50s before joining the Humphrey Lyttelton band, and thence moving to New York in the mid 60s – a courageous step for a European player in those days. Typically, he picked up work – first with Woody Herman, with Frank Sinatra, then with the Duke Ellington Orchestra and the terrific big band led by Thad Jones and Me Lewis. He became a founder member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, credited by Wynton Marsalis as being the heart of  the band, providing an essential link with the great big band leaders. 

It seemed like Joe was indestructible, and despite his age, he seemed like his seven decade career would be somehow endless. A consummate professional and an inspirational teacher (he continued to act as mentor to the Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra until the final bars) – and he was a fountain of jazz knowledge. A late night malt with Joe Temperley was an often hilarious, but invariably fascinating glimpse into jazz history – he lived and breathed the jazz spirit. But the thing that will be most missed is, of course, his playing – a big, soulful saxophonist who could swing the night away in irresistible style. But it’s the gorgeous bass clarinet sound that sticks in the memory, described by Tommy Smith as 'sweet velvet' – his interpretation of  Ellington’s classic A single Petal of a Rose remains one of the great statements in jazz balladry. 

Read The Scotsman's obituary here

Parliamentary Jazz Awards

Take Five alumni Alexander HawkinsEmilia Martensson and Moses Boyd (with Binker Golding) emerged among the winners at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards, alongside Empirical, whose saxophonist Nathaniel Facey is another Take Fiver. Congratulations also to saxophonist Evan Parker for his Lifetime Achievement Award, to Mary Grieg who has supported the scene so well, and to Julian ArguellesMichael ConnartyJez Nelson and Tommy Smith, as well as Seven Jazz.

Full list of winners:

Jazz Album of the Year: Julian Argüelles, Let It Be Told
Jazz Education Award: Dr Tommy Smith
Jazz Newcomer of the Year: Binker & Moses
Jazz Venue of the Year: Seven Jazz Leeds
Jazz Vocalist of the Year: Emilia Mårtensson
Jazz Media Award: Jez Nelson, BBC Jazz on 3
Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year: Alexander Hawkins
Jazz Ensemble of the Year: Empirical
Services to Jazz Award: Mary Greig
APPJAG Special Awards: Michael Connarty and Evan Parker

EFG London Jazz Festival - more shows announced

We are delighted to announce the next wave of concerts for this year's EFG London Jazz Festival (Friday 11 – Sunday 20 November 2016).

New shows, which go on sale 10am this Friday, include the Jazz Voice opening gala, Bobby McFerrinBugge Wesseltoft, Dhafer Youssef, Les Diaboliques (Joëlle Léandre, Maggie Nicols and Irène Schweizer), Madeleine PeyrouxMarius NesetNorma Winstone and Robert Glasper.

Gateshead International Jazz Festival and the joy of festivals

Terence Blanchard and Courtney Pine are among the big names appearing at Gateshead International Jazz Festival next weekend. They shared a stage at the 1985 Camden Jazz Festival, conveniently 30 years ago.

At that point, Terence was the emerging trumpeter on the block, earning his spurs with Art Blakey. Courtney was emerging as a leading light of the young guns of Brit jazz, spearheading a new generation of black UK musicians. Both of them have gone on to become hugely important jazz ambassadors – championing the music in their playing, in their attitude and in their ability to take the music to the big wide world, acknowledging their roots in the jazz tradition, as well as their own cultural backgrounds, from New Orleans and urban America (Blanchard), or from London and Jamaica (Pine). They both continue to move jazz forward into new and innovative territory, and follow in the Blakey footsteps by encouraging and mentoring musicians of successive generations. And speaking on behalf of the music publicly and with commitment, passion and generosity.

Festivals are special places where life-long friendships can take root both on the stage, in the crowd and wherever there’s a creative spark. Get down to Gateshead next weekend to be part of this wonderful atmosphere.


EFG London Jazz Festival - first shows announced

The EFG London Jazz Festival returns for its 24th year from Friday 11 – Sunday 20 November 2016. Produced by Serious, the Festival has a deserved reputation for bringing world-class music to the capital throughout its long history, and this year is shaping up to be no exception. 

We are delighted to announce the first wave of concerts:

Joshua Redman / Brad Mehldau Duo | Saturday 12 November | Barbican 
A truly world class duo, saxophonist Joshua Redman and pianist Brad Mehldau perform in the UK together for the first time. Part of EFG Excellence Series of concerts
Lizz Wright | Saturday 12 November | Cadogan Hall
In her first headline London show in some years, Lizz Wright brings a powerfully emotional live performance to Cadogan Hall. 
Tord Gustavsen – What Was Said | Saturday 12 November (matinee and evening) | Barbican / Milton Court 
Renowned for subtle lyricism and a breath-taking use of space and dynamic, the Norwegian pianist and composer creates a mesmerising setting for the entrancing warmth and vibrancy of German/Afghan singer Simin Tander and the delicately nuanced drumming of long-standing partner Jarle Vespestad. 
Jan Garbarek Group featuring Trilok Gurtu  | Sunday 13 November | Royal Festival Hall 
an Garbarek returns to London with his long-established quartet, featuring virtuoso percussionist Trilok Gurtu, bassist Yuri Daniel and his remarkable keyboard playing partner of some 25 years, Rainer Brünninghaus.  
The Bad Plus | Sunday 13 November | Scala
Following their sold out gig at the Festival in 2014, we’re delighted to be bringing back The Bad Plus, playing music from their new album (due to be released in September) 
Chris Potter, Lionel Loueke, Dave Holland, Eric Harland – Aziza | Tuesday 15 November | Cadogan Hall
The sheer range of talent and commitment that exudes from this newly minted quartet is positively mouthwatering. Chris Potter is one of the most assured saxophonists on the planet; Lionel Loueke’s blend of contemporary guitar sounds with echoes of the traditions of his native Benin absorbs and intrigues; Eric Harland’s muscular, dynamically sophisticated drumming places a stamp of authority wherever he sets foot; and Dave Holland’s commanding presence and mastery of groove, sound and creative spirit is simply inspirational.  This is jazz for today’s generation, played by four masters of the art.
Christian Scott | Wednesday 16 November |​ Scala
Following his genre-melting set at last year’s Festival, Christian Scott returns - new band, new album, and new sound.
David Murray, Terri Lyne Carrington, Geri Allen – MCA Power Trio | Saturday 19 November | Cadogan Hall
If you want a statement of where the jazz mainstream is heading, look no further. David Murray’s daring, headlong saxophonics collide with the expansive piano improv of Geri Allen and the sheer subtlety and power of Terri Lyne Carrington,  one of today’s key drummers – music that digs deep into the jazz tradition, whilst sitting fair and square in the 21st century. 
Wayne Shorter Quartet | Sunday 20 November | Barbican  
Delving into a back catalogue of jazz themes that have inhabited the music since a 60s decade recording for Blue Note and playing with Art Blakey and Miles Davis, this is Shorter continuing to demonstrate that the jazz masters never lose the urge to explore the new and unexpected – jazz at the cutting edge. 
All tickets on sale Friday 18 March at 10am.