16th December – The Near Jazz Experience and The Understudies

I like jazz. I don’t care who knows it. I don’t mean, smooth, easy vocal jazz. I don’t mean Ella Fitzgerald. I mean wild, untamed, cacophonous, expressive jazz. Coltrane, Coleman, Davis etc. But it goes further than that. My interest in Free Jazz has taken me out towards free improvised music by Evan Parker, Derek Bailey and others. I was playing a cd the other day and my Wife came in the front room because she thought I was breaking something.

I didn’t think this would happen. Like most punks and indie kids I associate Jazz with indulgence and ego. Once you’re inside this wonderful rewarding music it seems the opposite, it’s generous, intellectual, melodic and to me almost ego-less. Rock starts to like it’s the one wearing the slippers.

I don’t expect you to come with me, but trust me there comes a time when Jazz comes to all of us.

A perfect stepping stone might be Terry Edwards and his Near Jazz Experience. It’s not jazz, it’s ‘near’ jazz. – Darren

Here’s Terry with more words on his song.

“We Freak Kings” – a version of We Three Kings inspired by Roland Kirk’s “We Free Kings”, played by The Near Jazz Experience.

This is the first studio recording to be released by The Near Jazz Experience, an improvisational trio featuring multi-instrumentalist Terry Edwards, erstwhile Madness bassist Mark Bedford & drummer Simon Charterton (of Zook, Nitwood & The Higsons). Be of good cheer – there’ll be an album in the New Year.

Recorded by Kevin Feazey at Livingston Studios, Dec 2011. Courtesy of Sartorial Records. – Terry Edwards

The Near Jazz Experience – We Freak Kings

Attempting a link between today’s two artists, The Understudies are no sartorial slouches either. The Understudies wear quiffs and shoes and are probably at least halfway through their jazz conversion. They are sepia toned, classic, precise and thoughtful.

The Understudies [Facebook]

The Understudies [Myspace]

The Understudies – Midnight Mass

5th December – Josie Long and Ralegh Long

A day of sad Christmas Songs.

Josie and Ralegh are not related and this happened quite by accident. I only noticed they I had put together two people with the same surname a few days ago.

I like Ralegh’s songs because he doesn’t throw chords together in that easy indie manner. The parts of his songs fit together awkwardly and the music takes you somewhere. They’ve all been great but this is my favourite of the xmas downloads so far.

Here is Ralegh himself on his song.

“I think it was Robert Lowell who said there’s no poetry without sentiment. Christmas songs come fully loaded with it. I wanted to tackle that head on, to try and write in a sentimental mode but also say something honest. Thing is, while we often think of ‘sentiment’ and ‘honesty’ in music as diametrically opposed, they’re really part of the same circle. I find the most interesting things arise in the place where they meet.

‘Sprawl’ is available to download now from http://raleghlong.bandcamp.com
Ralegh Long – Christmas Eve
http://www.facebook.com/raleghlongmusic

You may well know Josie Long already but not as a musician.

She is a fearless, natural comedian, writer and broadcaster. I knew he via friends but really got to know her on a long drive down to Eastbourne. She is charming, generous and fiercely intelligent company and I’m always in awe when I meet her.

Josie’s song, to me, is quite serious though she tickles your ribs right at the end. – Darren Hayman

Josie Long – I Wish That I Was Someone Else This Christmas