sat 18/08/2018

New Music Features

First Person: Nico Muhly on music for two pianos

Nico Muhly

Writing for two pianos is something that – until last year – I had not attempted. I was contacted by Katya Apekisheva and Charles Owen, two pianists who have performed as a duo for many years, asking me to compose a duet for them to perform at the inaugural London Piano Festival. I met Charles back in 2014 when he performed my pieces A Hudson Cycle and Fast Stuff in New York.

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10 Questions for Pianist Morten Schantz

Matthew Wright

Pianist Morten Schantz has been a prominent and pioneering figure on first the Danish, then international jazz and fusion scene for more than a decade. With saxophonist Marius Neset and drummer Anton Eger, also members of his new trio, he founded ground-breaking quintet JazzKamikaze in 2005, playing an exhilarating fusion of jazz, rock, funk and hip hop.

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theartsdesk at The Green Man Festival

Martin Longley

The Green Man Festival is blessed by the expansive beauty of the Brecon Beacons, but this year, it was not blessed by the pagan rain deities. For two out of its four days, the downpour dominated, but the positive news was that this only created a very thin layer of mud, situated at strategic intersection points.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Musician/DJ Mark Hawkins aka Marquis Hawkes

joe Muggs

This is not a standard dance music story. Marquis Hawkes is one of the club music success stories of the past couple of years – since the first release in 2012 on Glasgow's revered Dixon Avenue Basement Jams, there've been many 12" club hits on multiple connoisseurs' labels, and his album Social Housing on the Fabric club's Houndstooth label has soundtracked many people's summer this year, with the artist all the while remaining anonymous.

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Soulful Islamic passion: the Najmuddin Saifuddin group

peter Culshaw

Qawwali music is amongst the most soulful, passionate music in the world. Many people have discovered it through the legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, who was one the greatest singers of the last half century. Seeing him perform at an early WOMAD was a revelation - he was scheduled to perform for 90 minutes and kept singing for hours. No-one seemed to leave the tent to catch the headliners.

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theartsdesk at the Montreal Jazz Festival

Martin Longley

The Montréal International Jazz Festival's 37th edition presented its accustomed surfeit of gigs, covering the complete range from concert hall spectaculars to small club sessions. A large part of this, the globe's biggest jazzfest, is the massive-scale freebie shows on various outdoor stages. The festival completely takes over Montréal's downtown centre, which just happens to be this French-speaking city’s cultural area.

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theartsdesk in the Faroe Islands: G! Festival 2016

kieron Tyler

Familiar words pepper the lead item on the 9am radio news: "Brexit", "Theresa May", "Boris Johnson". Yet the bulletin is delivered in the first language of the 49,000-population Faroe Islands. The self-governing region of Denmark may be a remote cluster of 18 North Atlantic islands, but the Britain-watching contagion has spread to a place which has never been a member of the EU. Denmark is. The Faroes aren't.

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A salute to Dave Swarbrick's singing

graham Fuller

When folk rock’s demon fiddler Dave Swarbrick died at 75 on 3 June, it was barely noticed that Real Gone Music released Fairport Convention’s Live in Finland 1971 the same day. Featuring the lineup of Swarbrick, Dave Mattacks (drums), Simon Nicol (guitar), and Dave Pegg (bass), which performed at the annual Ruisrock festival that 22 August, the disc features seven songs played with such force and briskness you’d think they wanted to get the hell away from the Archipelago Sea.

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Seasick Steve – A Myth Unravels

Matthew Wright

Life and art have generally had a troubled relationship. In the case of former hobo and punk-blues singer Seasick Steve, however, it all seemed so simple. When he sang "Dog House Boogie" on his extraordinary Hootenanny debut nearly a decade ago, it was his grit and authenticity, even more than his musical skills – though the two go hand-in-hand – that the audience fell in love with.

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2016 Parliamentary Jazz Awards

peter Quinn

Compered by Jazzwise magazine’s gregarious editor-in-chief, Jon Newey, the winners of this year's Parliamentary Jazz Awards were announced last night in the Terrace Pavilion at the House of Commons.

Now in their twelfth year, the Awards, organised by the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG) and sponsored by the music licensing company PPL, are one of the most important dates in the UK jazz calendar.

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