Denys Baptiste has been interviewed onBBC Radio 3 to provide a bit of a prelude to a new BBC Radio 3 drama, Bix: Singing The Blues by Robert Forrest to be broadcast this Sunday 17 November at 10.00pm. Set against a backdrop of racial and musical segregation in the 1920s, the play gives a fictionalised version of the one and only time Bix and Louis Armstrong played together in a private, after-hours session.
According to the BBC programme notes:
Apart from their genius, the musicians Bix Beiderbecke and Louis Armstrong had little in common. Armstrong was black and Beiderbecke was white and musical segregation was complete in the 1920’s. Armstrong would go on to be one of the first musicians to challenge this racial divide, and his life story is well documented. Beiderbecke was an alcoholic who died young – but perhaps his greatest tragedy was that he never got to play with the best – because in his view the best were black.
Set your reminder now! BBC Radio 3Sunday 17 November at 10.00pm
Peter Doig, Untitled 2011. Photograph: Courtesy The Artist And Michael Werner Gallery, New York And London
Nice reference the other day (5 Sep) to Jamaican alto saxophonist, Joe Harriott in Stuart Jeffries piece on Peter Doig in The Guardian. It’s great to know that this wonderful contemporary artist is a Harriott fan who makes the link that Harriott himself made (and as we are exploring in Parallel – A Tribute To Joe Harriott) between music and art.
Check out this short Catch A Fire trailer we made with our featured vocalist, reggae star Brinsley Forde, Gary Crosby (founder and leader of Jazz Jamaica) and Jason Yarde who is busily preparing some deep and fabulous big band arrangements for the forthcoming shows by Jazz Jamaica All Stars,Urban Soul Orchestra and, of course, Brinsley on vocals.
The actual concert features a 30-musician massive with full rhythm section, horns and reeds sections, strings sections, and backing vocalists (our take on the wonderful I-Threes!) so, for the moment, this is just a taster.
Here’s a little 2 mins video clip of some of the members of Jazz Jamaica All Stars having a quick jam on Bob Marley’s Stir It Up in between looking good for the camera at a Lively Up! photoshoot around the Southbank Centre.
Thankfully, we had great weather for the shoot – it was HOT! But keeping everything and everyone cool calm and completely collected was our brilliant dynamic duo: art director and designer, Ahmed Akasha and the wonderful photographer, Ben Amure. A great team!
If this tour were an album, it would be a collector’s item!
This is a call out to all music fans out there to lively up yourself and race along to one of 19 fantastic concerts and events in our new Lively Up!Festival coming to a city near you from 28 September-2 November. Festival headliners, the fiery Jazz Jamaica All Stars big band are back on the road after 8 long years and set to ignite audiences up and down the country when they team up with reggae star, Brinsley Forde and strings from Urban Soul OrchestraforCatch A Fire – a live, pulsating, roots-rock-reggae-jazz tribute to global superstars, Bob Marley and The Wailers with rich orchestrations by Jason Yarde.
Other acts confirmed in the Lively Up! Festival include the Nu Civilisation Orchestra whose Musical Director, Peter Edwards collaborates with visual artist, Emma Godebska to deliver a multidimensional, mixed media Parallel – A Tribute To Joe Harriott, the iconic Jamaican free form jazz saxophonist; Tomorrow’s Warriors collaborate with JazzCotech Dancers and the young Calypsonian Sheldon Skeete to host a Jamaican dance party with spectacular floorshow for the whole family; and Jazz Jamaica Family Fun Club presents Mango Spice, an interactive performance workshop for children and their carers to discover Jamaican folk songs and ring games.
Other events hosted in association with Lively Up! include a panel discussion the British Music Experience, London (20 September) exploring the impact and legacy of Catch A Fire as part of the BME’s Seminal Album series – includes the chance to see an open rehearsal of Jazz Jamaica’s vocalists with Brinsley Forde, band leader Gary Crosby OBE, and music arranger, Jason Yarde. Also the I Is Anotherexhibition at New Art Exchange, Nottingham (28 September-8 December) highlighting some of the best contemporary talent in sculpture, painting, installation, photography, film, video and performance from across the hugely diverse Jamaican diaspora.
Produced by Dune Music in association with Tomorrow’s Warriors Lively Up! is a bold and ambitious festival of music touring 50 musicians and dancers to 10 cities around the country in a vibrant programme celebrating some of Jamaica’s most influential cultural icons. In 2012, the year in which Jamaica celebrates 50 years of independence, the festival will present 19 events in 17 venues from Southampton to Edinburgh through a series of concerts and participatory activities that offers something for everyone: children, adults and families.