How Miles Davis plugged in and transformed jazz ... all over again

(Because I listen a lot, in a very strange life time, Miles' Bitches Brew... pure genius, changing the face of music for ever)...

Between 1945, when he hustled his way on to New York's new bebop scene as Charlie Parker's teenage trumpeter, and the turbulent year of 1968, Miles Davis couldn't help being hip. Though tentative in the Parker days, he had a characteristically soft sound and coolly-timed patience of phrasing that became steadily more eloquent and assured through the 1950s and 60s, despite big changes in the musical structures around him.
From his personal stylistic breakthrough at 23 in 1949, when he was involved in the gracefully orchestral Birth of the Cool sessions, through the mid-50s years in a devastating quintet with the young John Coltrane, up to 1959's meditative, scale-based Kind of Blue and then the formation of another groundbreaking five-piece with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, Miles Davis was always at the cutting-edge of creative American music.
But by 1968, Davis was into his 40s, and young audiences were listening to Motown soul and funk, to James Brown, Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone - not to unplugged contemporary jazz, however good it was. Davis was already edging his way toward a funkier sound within the edgy jazz setting of the Hancock/Shorter group. He was beginning to introduce the sound of the Fender Rhodes piano, and then the electric guitar, first with Joe Beck and then George Benson. In spring 1968, the quintet and Benson quietly slipped this revealing track into the otherwise freebop setting that had produced such classic mid-period Davis albums as ESP and Sorcerer. (The Guardian, TBC Here)


Charles Bradley new LP. The Guardian Review.

t's no great shock that a film-maker has alighted on the life story of Charles Bradley; his is a pretty dramatic saga. The one surprise is that the film-maker in question is a documentarian rather than a dramatist –Charles Bradley: Soul of America did the rounds of the film festivals last year – but perhaps the twist at the end of the story seems too unbelievable for fiction. When the crew first meet Bradley, he is a 62-year-old semi-literate handyman and part-time James Brown tribute act. He lives in the Brooklyn projects with a pet parrot and his apartment looks pretty grim, but it's nothing compared to his neighbour's, which has bullet holes in the door frame. While waiting for a musical break that never came, he endured homelessness, grinding poverty, a near-fatal illness and the murder of his brother. He is also the primary carer for his invalid mother, mired in the obligation and despair of that role: "I have no life." And yet, by the end of the film, he has a record deal and a debut album on the shelves after Gabe Roth, head of retro-soullabel Daptone, chanced upon Bradley's James Brown tribute act and came away convinced that he'd stumbled across the real deal: a vocalist made of the same stuff as the man he man he was imitating. TBC Here


Paul's mate new album soon: Bobby Gillespie Primal Scream's new LP

How Mod became the mainstream (Telegraph)

From the sharp-suited Soho jazzmen of the 1950s to Bradley Wiggins, Mod is the British style that never seems to grow old. A uniquely British fusion of American, European and Caribbean music and fashion, Mod was the new look of cosmopolitan, affluent post-war Britain, designed to rebuke the prejudices of older Britons towards the Continent and the colonies, while remaining proud of the island on which those myriad influences were stitched together.
Originally calling themselves 'Modernists’ after their love of modern jazz, the cult’s young founders emerged in London’s Soho around 1959. To the tight-fitting, colourful Italian suits of Brioni worn by Miles Davis, Mods added the 'pork pie’ hat of Jamaican immigrants, the Crombie overcoat from Scotland and the button-down shirts of the American company Brooks Brothers (which recently dressed the cast of the television series Mad Men); a more casual look combined the Harrington jacket from the States, Clark’s desert boots and, over time, a range of European sportswear from Fred Perry to Sergio Tacchini. TBC Here.


What's in my Bag? Weller "Shopping"

TCT reverse angle, Weller on the "drums"...

Last Shops Standing...

Union Music, Lewes

Running a burlesque boutique in a Sussex market town wasn't enough of a challenge for Stevie Freeman. With musician husband Jamie, she'd always dreamed of running a folk and country record shop, with a tiny stage in the corner, just like bars in Nashville. But she knew that 2010, post-recession, wasn't the best time to do it.
"And then we saw this place," Freeman says. Union Music came to life in a quirky one-storey building near Lewes railway station, and the husband-and-wife team then got to work, making the shop furniture themselves in their garden, "from bits of wood to keep things really cheap". The shop quickly became a community hub. The Freemans host regular gigs, work with a local youth charity, Starfish Youth Music, to support new musicians, and even run their own record label.
It was important to Stevie that the shop be welcoming to women, too; their Facebook page, she says proudly, has more female than male visitors. "Running a record shop nowadays, you have to be welcoming. Make your shop look friendly and warm. That'll keep people coming in." Those who have come in include Mumford & Sons, who made a special pilgrimage there last year ("I'd popped out," Freeman sighs). The band loved Lewes so much they're holding a festival there in July.
It also helps that the town's council supports independent businesses, Freeman adds. "If the chains had taken over Lewes, it would be difficult, but we're very lucky here." Her enthusiasm tells its own story. "Our dream came true."
Prize stock: "I've just sold it – a 10" Hank Williams album that I accidentally bought in America, stuck in between two others." Its buyer? Local Lib Dem MP Norman Baker.


Noel Gallagher; Damon Albarn & Graham Coxon – review

The cessation of hostilities, when it came, was almost poignant – well, for those who remembered the mid-90s feud between Blur and Oasis, which gave the era's two biggest British bands license to insult each other every week in the press. On Saturday, Damon Albarn and Noel Gallagher buried the hatchet in the name of the Teenage Cancer Trust charity, whose annual week of concerts Gallagher is curating.
They appeared together, along with the Blur guitarist Graham Coxon and Paul Weller (on drums, improbably), on Blur's Tender, separated only by a couple of microphone stands. If that didn't definitively prove hell had frozen over, a hearty backslap at the end did.
Even if their Britpop rivalry was always a joke to all except Liam Gallagher, who believed it was real, there was a genuine "ahhh" factor to this pop rapprochement. Middle-aged now – it was Albarn's 45th birthday – and with Britpop a sepia memory, it was clear the two men had more common ground than differences. "Noel? Noel?" Albarn beckoned. Gallagher duly appeared from the wings and they set about Blur's most pensive song, two veterans strumming and harmonising as cameraphones flashed.
In a musical sense, the shared moment was the only meeting point of a night that showed what different paths the pair have followed. As the night's main support act (the chore of opening was handed to the Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys, who sang frazzle-brained folk songs as the audience chattered) Albarn and Coxon played just three other songs, each of which reminded us that while some people still bang guitars, they have long since moved on. Their set was introduced by Gallagher, who said cryptically: "Sit down, open your mind". One wondered what he made of what followed.
After an ambling cover of Kevin Ayers' May I, Albarn and Coxon were joined by Gallagher's old mate Weller, who was ecstatically screamed at, and the beat poet Michael Horovitz. The 77-year-old recited his Ballade of the Nocturnal Commune poem as Coxon honked a saxophone and the others played keyboards. Then there was a freeform composition written specially for tonight. Horovitz baaed like a sheep and spat words, only some of them decipherable: "War machine and bombs, teenage trust, old age trust, fruit juice!" TBC Here.


Order it at RefleX of course!

McCa is a Busker!

Paul McCartney was reportedly ignored when he began performing Beatles songs on a train in North America recently as passengers thought he was a busker. 

The star was travelling with his wife Nancy Shevell in a New Orleans street car when he reportedly "burst into a medley of some of The Beatles' biggest hits". Unfortunately, rather than enjoy a rare opportunity to see McCartney up close and personal, his fellow passengers ignored him. 

Read more here and about the "Out There" tour!

Suede BBC Maida Vale session + LP Streaming.


Record Ticket Sales for Bowie Exhibition in London By ROSLYN SULCAS

LONDON — “David Bowie Is,” a major retrospective of the British singer’s career and cultural influence, which opens at the Victoria and Albert Museum on Saturday, has sold over 42,000 advance tickets, more than double the amount generated by any previous exhibition at the museum.
The exhibition, which displays more than 60 costumes worn by Bowie in performances, as well as photographs, documents, song lyrics, album sleeve artworks, music videos and stage sets, has generated considerable buzz, with rave advance reviews from the British papers. Interest has no doubt been further augmented by the singer’s surprise release last week of a new album, “The Next Day,” which almost immediately went to No. 1 one on the British charts, selling 94,000 copies in less than a week. TBC HERE.

Billy Bragg: A Nick Churchill's interview!

Nick is a long time Cornershop's fellow and he published last year The Beatles in Bournemouth. Check the link on the right side of the blog. To be read here.


Billy Bragg's Favourite Albums

Worker's Playtime: Billy Bragg's Favourite Albums Colm McAuliffe , March 18th, 2013 07:47

To celebrate the release of his notably personal new album Tooth & Nail today, the outspoken, political singer-songwriter talks Colm McAuliffe through his top records


Bowie number one...

David Bowie today secured his first No 1 album in 20 years – and the accolade of fastest-selling record of the year.

The Next Day, the musician’s 27th studio album, became his first chart-topper since Black Tie White Noise in 1993, having sold 94,000 copies since its release on 8 March.

The news coincided with revelations by the organiser of the London 2012 opening ceremony, Danny Boyle, about the extent of the efforts he made to secure the star for his four-hour extravaganza.


Rock tours in 60's London.

An A-Z of the 60s London Rock scene. Features just about everybody
inc. Small Faces, Rolling Stones, The Who, Yardbirds etc. etc.
Over 300 pages of rare pics and fascinating detail.

Click here to buy it.

Oil City Confidential on BBC I Player, 6 days left.

Director Julien Temple's film celebrates Canvey Island's Dr Feelgood, the Essex R 'n' B band that exploded out of the UK in the prog era of the early Seventies, delivering shows and albums that helped pave the way for pub rock and punk.

Temple examines Canvey Island culture as a 'Thames delta' for British rhythm and blues, with a central performance from the Feelgood's guitarist and songwriter Wilko Johnson. A British original, his dynamic stage presence and relationship with lead singer Lee Brilleaux drove the band through their early performances, characterising their three albums between 1975 and 1976, Down by the Jetty, Malpractice and the number one live album, Stupidity.
Wilko left the band in 1977, bassist John B Sparks and drummer The Big Figure both left in 1982, and Lee Brilleaux died in 1994. This is an imaginative, filmic and moving study of the place, times and characters that created the heyday of a seminal British band, and the personal forces that pulled them apart.



Johnny Marr, Ronnie Wood... Godlike Genius' speech

James Hunter Six ! (Minute by Minute)

Maybe music wasn’t altogether the healing factor in James Hunter’s return to recording after his wife’s death in 2011. No one can make assumptions in the face of a loss like that.
The strength of Minute by Minute, however, is its ability to convince us it might have played out that way. When the saxes of Lee Badau (baritone) and Damian Hand (tenor) egg on the keyboard strutting of Kyle Koehler and Andrew Kingslow, we are all, if only momentarily, healed from whatever troubles us.
If you have been enjoying Hunter’s classic-soul style since his 2006 breakout album, People Gonna Talk – or earlier – there’s no news here. The tweaked democratic group name notwithstanding, Minute by Minute is pretty much the same wonderful homage you’ve heard on all the other Hunter discs, once again indebted mainly to James Brown, Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson.
To which we say, “Keep it coming.” This music is, after all, the hip-shaking, head-bobbing, foot-shuffling truth.

Billy Bragg Tooth & Nail Review!

BBC Review

Bragg conveys truths about his home country like few other songwriters can.

Mischa Pearlman 2013-03-04

Billy Bragg’s first studio album since 2008’s Mr Love & Justice – and his 13th in total – presents a very laidback, mellow side of the activist and singer. Recorded in South Pasadena, California by producer Joe Henry, these 12 songs, much like his collaborations with Wilco in 1998 and 2000, are infused heavy with Americana and country influences.

While those Mermaid Avenue records consisted of Bragg setting previously unrecorded Woody Guthrie lyrics to music, here there’s only one cover – a lilting, gentle take on I Ain’t Got No Home, which was originally popularised by Guthrie himself. A sadly prescient tale of a wandering worker struggling to survive in a rich man’s world, Bragg’s take on the song is appropriately dejected and desolate, and it’s easy to imagine him lost in the vast and dusty deserts of the American southwest. TBC Here.


The Big Interview: Wilko Johnson

I’M feeling fine apart from this bloody cancer,” Wilko Johnson says by way of an ice breaker.
In January, the former Dr Feelgood guitarist issued a statement on his Facebook page informing fans that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and told by doctors that he had less than a year to live. He then announced he was going to do a farewell tour this month consisting of four dates with gigs in London, Glasgow, Bilston, near Birmingham, and Holmfirth.
It’s been a tough few months for the 65-year-old musician. “I felt this lump in my stomach and did what most blokes would do and ignored it,” he says, speaking from his home in Essex. “I hoped it would just go away but then my son visited me before Christmas, he’d come over with his son from Manila, and he dragged me to the hospital.”
He underwent a series of tests and scans. “Just before Christmas I went back in. My first question was, ‘Is it cancer?’ And they said they didn’t know.”
But when he went back, his doctor broke the grim news. “Me and my family had been theorising what it might me, we thought it would probably be a cyst. I didn’t think it would be cancer so I wasn’t expecting them to say that,” he says. TBC Here.

Johnny Marr's playlist.

Yesterday, man-of-many-hats Johnny Marr released his first official solo album The Messenger after years of contributing guitar, production and songwriting duties to bands likeModest MouseThe Cribs and more. As a founding member of BritPop legends The Smiths, many artists cite his style as an influence, but what does Johnny Marr like to listen to? We asked and he gave us a list of his favorite songs, includingDavid BowieBrian Eno and more. Check it out below and add what you like to your playlists!


Hendrix rides again...a "new" LP

"People, Hell & Angels is a new album of twelve never before released Jimi Hendrix studio recordings. This special album showcases the legendary guitarist working outside of the original Jimi Hendrix Experience trio.   Beginning in 1968, Jimi Hendrix grew restless, eager to develop new material with old friends and new ensembles.   Outside the view of a massive audience that had established the Experience as rock’s largest grossing concert act and simultaneously placed two of his albums together in the US Top 10 sales chart, Jimi was busy working behind the scenes to craft his next musical statement. Earth Blues: Totally unlike the version first issued as part of Rainbow Bridge in 1971, this December 19, 1969 master take features just Hendrix, Cox and Miles—stripped down funk at its very origin.  Somewhere: This newly discovered gem was recorded in March 1968 and features Buddy Miles on drums and Stephen Stills on bass.    Entirely different from any previous version fans have heard. Hear My Train A Comin’: This superb recording was drawn from Jimi’s first ever recording session with Billy Cox & Buddy Miles—the rhythm section with whom he would later record the groundbreaking album Band Of Gypsys. 


Miles Kane in Session, Zane Lowe Session.

David Bowie new LP review, track by track...

Recorded over the past two or three years in complete secrecy, and heralded by the sudden appearance in January of the single “Where Are We Now?”, David Bowie’s The Next Day may be the greatest comeback album ever.

It’s certainly rare to hear a comeback effort that not only reflects an artist’s own best work, but stands alongside it in terms of quality, as The Next Day does. The fact that producer Tony Visconti has worked with Bowie since the Seventies undoubtedly helps  cement the connection with his earlier work – there are constant frissons of recognition while listening to these songs, as if Bowie is deliberately  mining memories. That notion is  reinforced by the typically artful cover, which takes the original sleeve for  the “Heroes” album and partly  obscures its image with a simple  sans-serif font title panel and, on the rear, a similarly blunt track listing, making the new album a sort of  palimpsest of history. 

But if the design and sound suggest a link with the past, the songs – save for “Where Are We Now?” – are all about today, as might be expected from such an astute barometer of  societal and cultural mores as Bowie. Visconti has suggested in interviews that some songs, notably the title track, were prompted by the singer’s recent immersion in books about  medieval history; but whatever their origins, the songs seem to refract  elements of the modern day, offering sometimes brutal commentaries on contemporary events. TBC HERE

The Quietus, Live report. Billy Bragg.

"'ere, mate," says Billy Bragg, pointing at the pint of beer that a fan has left on the lip of the stage. "I wouldn't leave that there if I was you. I've got a hell of cold and believe me, if I cough up a load of phlegm into it you'll get fuck all on eBay for it!" It's a miserable late February night in North London and not even the Bard of Barking, or, as his new tour shirt has it, the Sherpa of Heartbreak, is immune from the Panzer division of lurgee that's cutting mercilessly through the capital. But while Bragg himself is suffering its vile effects, his music remains in rude health.
Standing in the Lexington 30 years after the release of his first album, Life's A Riot With Spy Vs Spy, it's impossible to shake the feeling of not only a sense of déjà-vu but also that things have come full circle for us and Billy Bragg. The country is under attack from the savage austerity measures brought on by the Tory-led coalition as Bragg once more casts his compassionate and humane eye over the devastating effects of right wing politics. Though new album Tooth And Naileschews the more overt political diatribes for which he's best known, the humanity that beats at its heart displays an artist concerned with the positive aspects of human interaction in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. And why not? Because let's face it – if we haven't got we each other than what have we got? TBC Here

Weller and Miles Kane, You're Gonna get it. (NME Awards)

Miles Kane plays Rolling Stones' Doom and Gloom (BBC Session)


Aretha Franklin Before Atlantic: The Columbia Years

Aretha Franklin made her first record when she was 14, singing some gospel standards in the church of her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, an easygoing Detroit pastor who was friends with Martin Luther King and just about every gospel singer you could name. One of the stars who visited a lot was Sam Cooke, who convinced Aretha that she could be a hit singing popular music. So in 1960, at 18, she dropped out of school and, eventually, was signed to Columbia Records by its top talent scout, John Hammond. Hammond, who had discovered Count Basie and Billie Holiday, among others, saw her as a potential jazz star, and recorded her with a jazz trio led byRay Bryant. Franklin recorded jazz standards like "Rock a Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody," which was a minor pop hit in late 1961.
It's likely that she knew she'd be doing other kinds of material, and apparently Columbia agreed, because the label followed it up with "Rough Lover." TBC Here on NPR


First Night: Wilko Johnson, The Fleece, Bristol

Wilko Johnson’s farewell tour is, for once in rock’n’roll, poignantly irrevocable. The pancreatic cancer doctors say will kill him this year has seen to that. With bitter irony, his discussion on Radio 4 of his post-diagnosis sensations of pin-sharp connection to the world finally introduced a general audience to one of British rock’s lost treasures.

Inside the honest club sweatbox where Johnson has aptly chosen to start his last go-round, there’s barely room to move. These fans don’t know him as a spiritually articulate cancer casualty, but the songwriter-guitarist of Canvey Island’s great 1970s r’n’b band Dr. Feelgood. They had a theatrical menace which cleared the way for punk, and in Johnson a bug-eyed guitar gunslinger whose lyrics carved pulp poetry from the landscape and people of his Essex home.

With Blockheads bassist Norman Watt-Roy and drummer Dylan Howe backing him, Johnson is soon tearing into songs from a solo career still awaiting discovery. In “Barbed Wire Blues”, his serrated, stuttering guitar stabs are an art a personal, irreplaceable art. TBC Here