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|We know so little of the musical world around us. Not assisted by an entertainment industry that tries to ensure we keep buying it's
sugar-coated regurgitations, and because of the sheer volume of such productions, we can be forgiven for presuming that we are
aware of what's available.
Most of what is truly breathtaking in the world of music is not to be found in obvious places. I would guess that in every city in the world,
there is at least one totally awesome musical talent that could revolutionise the popular music scene if it were allowed to. Unfortunately
their music is not guaranteed to reach the ears that might appreciate it: 99% of what the record companies record and produce - and
consequently what radio and TV plays - has it's creative source in the office of a businessman. Many of the greatest musicians have
to pay for and personally distribute their own recordings.
Here I try to link you to some inspirational musicians that might otherwise escape your attention. Also to other great web-sites and
sources of real music. We are a global community and must support each other.
|Brazil This is one incredible country for producing beautiful music.
My top choice for inspiring musician of all time is Hermeto Pascoal. This
multi-instumentalist from the north-east of Brazil has had a prolific career as a recording
artist but most of his records are on small local record companies and are difficult to
Another favourite of mine is Milton Nascimento, a singer/songwriter from Minas
Geraes whos hauntingly beautiful voice is matched by his unique and wonderful
Others include: Egberto Gismonti, a virtuoso on both guitar and piano. Elis Regina,
the most wonderful singer who unfortunately passed away too young.
Singer/songwriters: Caetano Velhoso, Chico Buarque, Joao Bosco, Ivan Lins, Gilberto
Gil and too many more. Almost anything coming out of Brazil is infused with this
wonderful sense of groove and rich harmony.
London's a pretty well-known source of good original music. It has had a major influence on the
development of popular music and it is no less vibrant in the realm of jazz. There are plenty of guys
who have conciously tried to develop a non-American sound, but there are some who have a
genuinely different way of hearing things and produce some great music.
Check out Huw Warren, a refreshingly different musician who switches from accordion to piano at the
drop of a hat, and has made a name for himself both in the folk music world as a duet partner for singer
June Tabor and as leader of the Euro-jazz quartet Perfect Houseplants. The best way to appreciate
his full expression is with his now regular solo appearances.
The ferociusly talented Django Bates, at home on both keyboard and tenor horn was the musical
direction behind the 1980s phenomenon the 21-piece Loose Tubes which did a lot to define a British
movement in contemporary jazz.Though now defunkt it was a breeding ground for musical excellence
and introduced many new talents including Iain Ballamy, Mark Lockheart and John Parricelli.
Other great Brits include: Damon Brown, Dudley Phillips, Stuart Hall, John Surman, John Taylor
, Billy Jenkins and many others who unfortunately don't yet have much presence on the internet.
A great resource for musicians and jazz lovers is the web-site jazzservices.org.uk
|South East Asia
Quite a vibrant area with an emerging voice of its own.
The Hong Kong guitarist Eugene Pao is Asia's best kept secret. After making a couple of records with
luminaries such as Jack Dejohnette and Michael Brecker, he has been relatively inactive on the
international circuit. Luckily he is starting to move around again, albeit confined to South East Asia at the
Check out also Phillipino saxophonist Tots Tolentino and Singaporean pianist Jeremy Monteiro,
One singer that I always look forward to working with is Angelita Li from Hong Kong. She has the most
expressive and sensual style and incorporates her voice into the group as an instrument rather than a
feature. She also shares with me a passion for Brazilian music.
One of the more articulate pianists in the world, both as a soloist and as
accompanist, is the Finnish musician Jarmo Savolainen. He has a sizeable
discography which does some justice to his beautiful compositions and playing.
Rather underrated still - though he works with the best!
One of my favourite discoveries in recent years was the music of Stephan
Rigert. He's a drummer from Switzerland who has a band that comprises a mix of
musicians from Mali and Europe. A very interesting fusion!
Austrian bassist Peter Herbert is another favourite. Currently resident in Paris -
previously New York - he has a very natural but refreshingly European angle on
improvised music that can be both off-the-wall and fundamentally grooving at the
Watch out for drummer Ramon Diaz from Spain. A fine drummer, bandleader and
composer who is not afraid to take life by the scruff of the neck. Check out his new
Check out the young alto saxophonist Christian Weidner from Germany.
There's a great on-line radio station called Vinilemania in Italy that is playing my
One absolute favourite arranger of mine is Maria Schneider
with an awesome band based in New York. She is now
part of a great organisation called ArtistShare which puts
the listener into the production picture. Her latest CDs are
only available on-line.
|Contact Greg at: email@example.com