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Jazzpool NRW

Sunday night’s concert Jazzpool NRW – Channel Crossing at the Recital Room looks an interesting one. It’s led by Cologne-based pianist Jarry Singla, and features a couple of other German musicians, saxophonist and bass clarinet player Wolfgang Schmidtke and bass player Gunnar Plümer along with two UK musicians, saxophonist Julian Argüelles and trumpeter Tom Arthurs. There’s no mention of a drummer in the publicity, although the band’s own website lists drummer Peter Weiss as part of the band.

Why “Jazzpool NRW – Channel Crossing”? Well, they’re a pool because they draw from a squad of musicians with the exact line-up varying from project to project; they’re NRW because they come from the Nordrhein – Westfalen (North Rhine – Westphalia) area of Germany, NRW for short, which includes Cologne, Düsseldorf and the cities of the Ruhr District; and they are Channel Crossing because they work with both UK and mainland European musicians and ideas. Their website explains

The importance of Britain with regard to the development of a specifically European version of originally "American" jazz music was not understood in an appropriate way for a long time. But it was there where, especially in the 1970s, new paths were trodden. Musicians like Kenny Wheeler, Evan Parker, John Taylor and Norma Winstone left their marks then with their concept of a more open mode of playing, thus influencing both the view and the interpretation of jazz on the European continent in a crucial way.

I’m not familiar with the work of any of the German musicians, but they’ve all got strong pedigrees. Singla studied with John Taylor and Richie Beirach, and has a long-established quartet which includes Julian Argüelles. Schmidtke has worked with Lee Konitz, Randy Brecker, Horace Parlan, Chris McGregor and Steve Lacy among many others and teaches saxophone at the Wuppertal campus of the Cologne Music College (Musikhochschule Köln – one of Europe’s top jazz colleges). Plümer has recorded with Kenny Wheeler and Lee Konitz and is also a teacher. These guys have good track records, and the Cologne area seems to have a very strong jazz scene, so I reckon this one will be well worth investigating.

Tickets are available online from the Glasgow Concert Halls site, but for some reason the concert doesn’t show up if you search for jazz events: look for performances on Sunday 23rd instead.

Afternoon delights

The weekend also sees a couple of worthwhile-looking afternoon jazz shows.

In the trendy West End, Brel has a gig by “Loose Grip”, a band with a very promising looking line-up: saxophonist John Burgess, guitarist Malcolm Macfarlane, bassist Sean Pentland and drummer Chris Wallace. It’s on Saturday and starts at 3pm.

South of the river, the Southside Festival is putting on a jazz concert in the Queen’s Park Glasshouses on Sunday. It features Joni Keen and Bobby Deans among others, and runs from 12.30 to 4.30pm. (Glasgow must have had a “Southside Blues Band” during the late 60s Blues Boom, surely? Or was the name too obvious for anyone to use?)

Admission to both these events is free.

The 80s Revival continues…

I can’t find any footage of Jazzpool NRW, but here’s some 80s jazz-funk from German band Das Pferd, with Wolfgang Schmidtke on tenor and Randy Brecker on trumpet. Annoyingly from the point of view of publicising Sunday’s gig, it fades out just as Schmidtke starts his solo.

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