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Bob & Lily revisited

Bob Dylan Lily etc

It took me several weeks to overcome a disinclination to buy the Bootleg Series version of Blood on the Tracks. I’d been invited to a playback session last summer, hosted by Jeff Rosen, Dylan’s manager, and I wasn’t keen on what I heard. Of course the series as a whole represents a priceless example of a great artist permitting access to his own archives, but Blood on the Tracks is a perfect album and I don’t really need it in any other less perfect form. “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go”, for example, is so precious to me that I really hated listening to a truly horrible early version with an arrangement that robbed the song of all its lilting heartbreak poetry.

I suppose the real value of the new release is in its implicit suggestion of why Dylan rejected the first (mostly) solo version of the album, recorded in New York. What he didn’t like was its “down” mood. When he re-recorded half the songs in Minneapolis with a band, he dialled the mood up a notch, letting a bit more sunlight in. And he got it right.

Notwithstanding all that, eventually I cracked and bought the single CD version of More Blood, More Tracks. Now I’m glad I did, for one reason: a version of “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts” that tells us something about Bob Dylan’s skills as a performer.

It’s a track I’ve always loved because it has so much of Bob in it: a wild story, full of characters and humour and unexplained ambiguities and bizarre incidents, a slapstick take on “Desolation Row” relocated in Tombstone, Arizona. Has he ever written anything more romantic than the line “She was with Big Jim but she was leaning to the Jack of Hearts”? Has he ever brought off another shift of mood as adroitly and blood-freezingly cinematic as “But then the crowd began to stamp their feet and the house lights did dim / And in the darkness of the room there was only Jim and him”?

The version we know from the released album was recorded in Minneapolis in December 1974 with a six-piece band (two guitars, organ, bass guitar and drums) plus Dylan himself on guitar and harmonica. One of its joys is its hurtling momentum: a tempo of 64 bars per minute, a fast shuffle propelled by the slap of wire brushes.

Now Volume 14 of the Bootleg Series gives us Dylan’s solo attempt at the song in New York three and a half month earlier. It’s slower — 56 bars per minute — and lacks the deadpan effervescence of the later version. What it has in recompense is a freedom for the singer to treat the song’s structure — AABA, in eight-bar sections — and metre in the way the standard 12-bar blues form was treated by John Lee Hooker or Jimmy Reed, in other words with absolute flexibility.

In place of the urgency that would be provided by the Minneapolis band, Dylan comes up with another way of providing that momentum: he shortens the eight-bar sections by clipping off a bar or half a bar and entering early with the first line of the next section. He can do this because he is alone with his guitar. And I don’t know many better examples of his command of phrasing, of his ability to manipulate asymmetry, making the bar-lines follow the melody, rather than the customary vice-versa. Here’s the man who honed his art alone on stages in the folk clubs and coffee houses of Greenwich Village, polishing devices that would hold an audience’s attention. Once you starting listening closely, it’s mesmerising.

* The photograph of Bob Dylan is from the booklet that comes with More Blood, More Tracks (CBS/Sony Legacy). It’s omitted from the otherwise comprehensive credits, but I think it’s by Barry Feinstein.

Signed Gladys

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It’s Gladys Knight’s business why she accepted an invitation to sing “The Star Spangled Banner” at last weekend’s Super Bowl after several prominent artists, acting in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, had turned down the half-time show. Gladys started her performing career in 1952, when she was seven years old. She’s known a long lifetime of ups and downs. As far as I’m concerned, she’s entitled to make her own arrangements.

Like Aretha, Gladys can move me to tears. But I feel something about her that I don’t feel about Aretha. Where Aretha sang from the top of Mount Olympus, somehow untouchable if not invulnerable, Gladys sings from across the kitchen table. Her triumphs and troubles are yours, and vice versa.

I have a special playlist of recordings by Gladys Knight and the Pips. Most of them are from her Motown era, which lasted from 1966 to 1973. They start with the beautiful remakes of her earlier hits with the Pips: “Every Beat of My Heart”, “Letter Full of Tears” and “Giving Up”. They continue with “Just Walk in My Shoes”, “Didn’t You Know (You’d Have to Cry Sometime)”, “If I Were Your Woman” and “Make Me the Woman You Go Home To”. They also include album tracks like “The Look of Love”, “Can You Give Me Love With a Guarantee”, “If You’re Gonna Leave (Just Leave)”, “No One Could Love You More”, “Here Are the Pieces of My Broken Heart” and “Signed Gladys”. The writing, playing and production on each of them lives up to the standard set by her singing.

She and the Pips left Motown because they didn’t feel they were getting the sort of priority treatment they believed Berry Gordy had promised them. Over the next few years they were occasionally able to show him what he was missing. With Buddah (1973-78) and Columbia (1980-85), they recorded the hits that are most likely to turn up on daytime radio.

Those years are the subject of a new 2CD compilation called On and On: The Buddah/Columbia Anthology. The 20 tracks on the Buddah disc show them veering perilously close to the middle of the road, but they include two of the most perfect pop records ever made in “Midnight Train to Georgia” and “Baby Don’t Change Your Mind”, plus soulful sides like “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination”, “On and On”, “The Makings of You”, “Make Yours a Happy Home” and “Part Time Love”. The disco boom was in full flood when they arrived at Columbia, who teamed them with Nik Ashford and Valerie Simpson for the elegantly devastating “Taste of Bitter Love” and several other fine tracks, including “Landlord” and “Bourgie Bourgie”.

The best of the songwriters and arrangers who worked with them understood the special relationship between Gladys and the Pips, who could be used not just to underline what she was saying but to issue reminders or warnings, and sometimes answer her back. But mostly the producers cleared a space for her artistry, for the way she got directly to the heart of a lyric, opening up her own heart in the process, adding the occasional unforced “ooh” or “mmm” that sounded like she was talking to herself.

Maybe my favourite of all her great moments is when she starts “If You’re Gonna Leave (Just Leave)” with a hesitation over the very first word of the opening line. It feels exactly like the way you might begin the hardest conversation of your life. Signed Gladys, as always.

* On and On: The Buddah/Columbia Anthology is released in Soul Music Records’ Classics series.

Michel Legrand 1932-2019

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Last summer I discovered that Michel Legrand, who died on Saturday, was one of those interview subjects who present you with the problem of what to leave out. We had an hour together in his apartment in the Marais, an hour packed with stories. When I wrote the piece up for the Guardian, some of them had to be omitted for reasons of space and continuity. Here’s one that began when he talked about scoring movies.

When I write music, my music talks. It’s not a music that says nothing, a tapestry where nothing happens, like most of the composers. Such a bore. I always wrote adventurous, original, different. But it happened a few times that producers or directors…

He fell silent. I prompted him. They didn’t like what you gave them? May I have an example?

For instance, I did one score for Joseph Losey on The Go-Between. Joe called me. He lived in London, I was in Paris. He said, ‘I’ve finished a movie called The Go-Between and I’d love you to write the score.’ So I fly to London. I love the movie. I said to Joe, ‘It’s extraordinary. It’s the best film you ever made.’ So we go to his house and before we have dinner together he played a record for me, saying, ‘This is the type of music that I want in my movie.’ And I heard it. Strings, with a tenor sax screaming, bleeding, like the music in bordellos. So I said to Joe, ‘That’s what you want?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Goodbye!’ He said, ‘But what would you do?’ I said, ‘I don’t know yet – but that I would never do, because it’s not good for your movie at all.’ He thought for a bit and said, ‘Do it. Do what you want. I trust you.’

“So I go back home and write. Six weeks later I go back to record and the first cue he says, ‘No, it’s not for my film.’ I said, ‘Joe, I’ve finished. I recorded every single thing.’ I said, ‘I know you hate it, but you asked me to score your movie so in return you owe me to put it in your film. Call me and I’ll come back and if it’s really a catastrophe, we’ll find a solution.’ November, no news. December, no news. January, no news. Joe Losey never used the telephone. Much too modern for him. He communicated through telegrams. March, not a word. Then I see in the French papers that The Go-Between represents England in the Cannes festival. May, publicity everywhere. At the end of the festival, he wins the Palme d’Or.

“So the next morning I received a 100-line telegram saying, ‘Michel, this is exactly what the film wanted. I’m sorry for my behaviour.’ I send him back a huge telegram saying, ‘Dear Joe – I hate you. I used to love you. Not any more. I don’t want to work with you any more. Forget me.’ So what happened after that, some stars in London who worked with Joe, every time he showed the movie with my music in private screenings, everybody said the score’s extraordinary – and he hated it. Finally he said, ‘I might be wrong.'”

Did you work with him again?

“Yes.”

* Here is John Fordham’s excellent obituary. Here is my Legrand interview as it appeared in the Guardian. And here is the Go-Between music. 

Que Vola?

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It’s so cold this morning that I’m typing this with gloves on (fingerless ones, knitted by my daughter, since you ask). But all the ambiant heat I need is being provided by the debut CD from a Franco-Cuban band called Que Vola?, who stir new and inspiring life into an old formula.

The Cuban influence on jazz has been coming and going for the best part of a century, getting its biggest boost in the 1940s, when the immortal conguero Chano Pozo joined the Dizzy Gillespie big band. The story of Que Vola? — literally, “what flies?”, or “wha’ happen?” in the vernacular — began in 2012, when the trombonist Fidel Fourneyron visited Havana and was seized by a desire to blend jazz horns with the deep rhythms he was hearing in clubs.

Back in Paris, he added three Cuban percussionists — Adonis Panter Calderón, Ramón Tamayo Martínez and Barbara Crespo Richard — to an assembly of local musicians: Aymeric Avice (trumpet), Hugues Mayot and Benjamin Dousteyssier (saxophones), Bruno Ruder (electric piano), Thibaud Soulas (double bass) and Elie Duris (drums). As I say, it’s not a particularly new idea, but Fourneyron has come up with a different sound, a new set of textures and balances, as you can hear here and here. The effect is something akin to Grounation, the classic album in which Count Ossie and the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari fused nyabinghi rhythms with post-bop jazz soloists 45 years ago.

What makes Fourneyron’s approach different from most earlier Latin-jazz fusions, I think, is that he accepts the Cuban rhythms at their most complex and sophisticated. He doesn’t try to water them down for a popular audience, even one familiar with salsa, but matches them to the complexity and sophistication of the contemporary jazz musician. What, really, could be closer to the spirit of Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo?

* Que Vola? is released on January 25 on the Nø Førmat label. The band will appear at EartH (Evolutionary Arts Hackney) in Stoke Newington on April 10, with Oumou Sangaré and Gérald Toto.

Joseph Jarman 1937-2019

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By a coincidence that seems extraordinary, at least to me, Joseph Jarman’s death on Wednesday, at the age of 81, took place two days after a group of London-based artists had performed his 1966 poem-with-music “Non-Cognitive Aspects of the City” to a packed audience at Cafe Oto. Dante Micheaux read Jarman’s words beautifully, sharing the stage with the singer Elaine Michener, Byron Wallen on trumpet, Jason Yarde on saxophones and electronics, Alex Hawkins on piano, Neil Charles on bass and Mark Sanders on drums. It was a surprising and welcome choice in an unbroken two-hour set that also included works by Jeanne Lee, Eric Dolphy, Archie Shepp and Jayne Cortez. (Here is Mike Hobart’s excellent FT review of the gig.)

Jarman, who died in a New Jersey home for actors, spent his last decades as a teacher of Shin Buddhism, having significantly reduced his involvement in musical performance from about 1993 onwards. He’ll be best remembered as a founding member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, which evolved in the mid-’60s out of Roscoe Mitchell’s quartet and Muhal Richard Abrams’ Experimental Band, in both of which he played. This made him an early member of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, now into its sixth decade.

Like many other great musicians — including Gene Ammons, Bo Diddley, Johnny Griffin, Dinah Washington, John Gilmore, Nat King Cole, Richard Davis, Eddie Harris, Freddie Below, Wilbur Ware and Johnny Hartman —  he had been taught at DuSable High, on Chicago’s South Side, by the legendary Captain Walter Dyett, the school’s music instructor from 1935 to 1962. His instrument at that time was the snare drum, which he played in the school band.

He began studying the saxophone and woodwinds while stationed in Germany with the US Army from 1955 to 1958. On returning to Chicago he met Mitchell and Malachi Favors, and his course was set. He became part of a music that absorbed, metabolised and reimagined everything from the country blues to John Cage, breaking down the conventions and creating new approaches. The impact of their arrival in Europe in 1969, together with Anthony Braxton, Wadada Leo Smith and others, has yet to be properly assessed.

I was fortunate enough to hear the Art Ensemble on several occasions in what I suppose we think of as their classic incarnation — notably in Central Park’s open-air Wollman Auditorium in 1973, their first New York concert, when they played the epic “People in Sorrow”, and at the Roundhouse in London later in that decade — and on both occasions I had my consciousness rearranged in a very fulfilling way. With their slogan “Great Black Music: Ancient to the Future”, they took ownership of what they were doing with a visionary confidence that continues to exert an influence on new generations.

In her book As Serious As Your Life, Val Wilmer describes Jarman as “poet, philosopher and polemicist as well as musician.” On his last studio recording with the Art Ensemble, Sirius Calling (Pi, 2004), he opened a saxophone-and-drums duet with Don Moye by speaking these words:

Every day is a perfect day

Every moment a perfect moment

Every second a perfect second

We can see complete darkness simply by closing our eyes

We can see complete light by truly opening our eyes

* The photograph of Joseph Jarman is from the cover of his first album, Song For (Delmark, 1967), and was taken by Joe Banks.

Mark Lockheart’s ‘Days on Earth’

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Most of the interesting new big-band music these days tends to be of the experimental variety, from Darcy James Argue to Ingrid Laubrock. Too much is the kind of warmed-over bombast you get from people steeped in the tradition of Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich and the University of North Texas Lab Band. So it’s always welcome to come across someone using the established language to say new things, as Mark Lockheart does with great success in Days on Earth, a large-scale work for sextet and orchestra premiered at Milton Court in London last night.

Lockheart (above), the saxophonist and composer who first attracted attention with Loose Tubes 30 years ago and has since played with Polar Bear, Perfect Houseplants and others, was leading the distinguished core group, which included John Parricelli (guitar), Liam Noble (piano), Tom Herbert (bass), Seb Rochford (drums). John Ashton Thomas conducted the 33-piece Guildhall Studio Orchestra: 14 violins, four violas, three cellos, harp, four woodwind, six brass and percussion.

Normally I don’t like doing that jazz-critic thing of describing a piece of music by triangulating it with a couple of other things it resembles, but I don’t see the harm in mentioning here that Lockheart, whether he meant to or not, has drawn together aspects of Eddie Sauter’s work behind Stan Getz on Focus with Gil Evans’s setting for Wayne Shorter on “The Barbara Song”. Which is not to suggest that Lockheart’s seven-part suite is a concerto for tenor saxophone and orchestra, which it is not, or that it reflects the early 1960s, the time when those works were made. The infectious grooves alone — and there are many of them scattered throughout Days on Earth — are definitely contemporary.

The use of his resources to create new textures, however, would do credit to Sauter or Evans. I heard some imaginative groupings; two examples would be bass clarinet and double bass repeating a staccato motif as an undercurrent, and a clarinet against harp and plucked cellos . The big ensemble passages were perfectly integrated and, thanks as much to the skill and enthusiasm of the students in the orchestra as much as the pros in the rhythm section, swung like mad. That wouldn’t have happened half a century ago.

Days on Earth was conceived as a big statement: “a defining moment for me,” the composer says, “not just in the scale of the instrumental forces but also the culmination of many musical (and life) journeys.” Without burdening the listener, in both live and recorded forms it feels like a thoughtful outpouring of human emotions, choosing to deploy beauty as a response to confusion, carefully channeled through great artistry. Lockheart’s own tenor solos were exquisitely formed and perfectly flighted — it’s no news that he has a singularly beautiful tone — and some of the students, including the violinist Nicole Petrus Barracks and the harpist Lise Vandersmissen, made striking individual contributions.

Before the interval, Lockheart led nine other student musicians through five of his earlier pieces, showcasing the powerful bass of Joe Lee and the alto of Asha Parkinson, whose quietly intense closing solo — a moment of wonderfully understated drama — reminded me of how impressive she was in the Guildhall School’s concert presentation of Donald Fagen’s Nightfly a couple of years ago.

Pretty much a five-star evening, then, which really deserves to be repeated. And in its CD form, recorded at Mark Knopfler’s British Grove studio and released next week on the Edition label, Days on Earth is definitely a five-star album, demanding a place at the forefront of Britain’s extremely active contemporary jazz scene.

Herbie Nichols at 100

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This week the Stone in New York City is hosting a four-night celebration of the centenary of Herbie Nichols, the composer and pianist who remained in obscurity during his lifetime but has since, thanks to the enthusiastic advocacy of such admirers as Roswell Rudd, Misha Mengelberg, Buell Neidlinger, Steve Lacy and George Lewis, been acknowledged as one of the most interesting figures of his era.

I read about Nichols before I heard him, as one of the figures profiled in A. B. Spellman’s great book Four Lives in the Bebop Business, published in 1967, four years after his death from leukemia at the age of 44. By placing his story alongside those of Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman and Jackie McLean, all of them much better known, the author granted him a certain standing. In career terms it was a tale of woe, very largely, but it seemed clear that public neglect never dimmed the light of Nichols’s creativity.

Then I got to hear his music — which wasn’t so easy at the time — and, like everybody else who “discovered” him for themselves, immediately recognised his great combination of complete originality and total accessibility. He was kin to Thelonious Monk, quite evidently, and also to Elmo Hope and Dick Twardzik, but with a different outlook.

Here are “23 Skidoo”, “Step Tempest” and “Shuffle Montgomery”, all from the two-volume set of 10-inch LPs recorded for the Blue Note label in 1955, titled The Prophetic Herbie Nichols, with Al McKibbon on bass and Art Blakey on drums (and great abstract cover art by Martin Craig, proving that there was visual life at Blue Note before Reid Miles). And here’s “Love Gloom Cash Love”, the title track of another trio album recorded for Bethlehem three years later, with his old friend George Duvivier on bass and Dannie Richmond on drums.

So that’s Herbie Nichols, born on January 3, 1919 to parents who’d come to New York from St Kitt’s and Trinidad. These pieces are typical in that their characteristic jauntiness seems to be a light disguise for more nuanced feelings. He was great with titles — “House Party Starting”, “Terpsichore”, “S’Crazy Pad”, “Hangover Triangle” — but even better at coming up with combinations of melody, rhythm and harmony that sound completely fresh but also like something that’s been there all your life.

According to Spellman, he wrote a lot of poetry, too, particularly in hard times. I’d love to read that.

* The photograph of Herbie Nichols is by Francis Wolff.

A Christmas song

The last time I did a Christmas post on this blog, in which I listed my seasonal favourites, William Brown wrote in to mention his choice, which comes from a live radio concert by Laura Nyro in 1990. I’ve been listening to Laura for 50 years, since the release of Eli and the Thirteenth Confession in 1968, and she’s more important to me with each passing year. Since I’ve written about her before, at some length, I won’t repeat my thoughts. I’ll just let her wish everybody reading this, on my behalf, a merry Christmas — and, although she doesn’t mention it, a happy new year.

Joe Osborn 1937-2018

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As a first-call bass guitarist in Los Angeles in the second half of the 1960s, Joe Osborn played on some of the era’s most memorable hits, including “California Dreamin'”, “Windy” and “MacArthur Park”. Osborn, who died at his home in Lousiana on December 14, aged 81, formed a particularly strong partnership in the Hollywood studios with the pianist Larry Knechtel and the drummer Hal Blaine.

Born in Mound, Louisiana, Osborn started life as a guitarist and spent two years playing with Bob Luman in Las Vegas before joining Ricky Nelson’s band in 1960 and moving to LA. Since the guitarist was James Burton, Osborn switched to bass and played on such Nelson hits as “Travellin’ Man”. In 1964 his studio career had already begun when he became part of the minimalist rhythm section on the Lou Adler-produced Johnny Rivers at the Whisky A Go Go, whose party vibe, captured by the engineer Bones Howe, made it — and the single taken from it, Chuck Berry’s “Memphis” — a giant hit. Osborn went on to play on many more of Rivers’ (now underrated) albums, right up to LA Reggae and Blue Suede Shoes in the early ’70s, and on many of Howe’s subsequent productions, usually alongside Blaine. “Hal and Joe had the lock and the feel,” Howe said in Harvey Kubernik’s book Turn Up the Radio!

He played a Fender Jazz Bass, whose narrow neck suited his fingers, mostly with a pick. Apparently he didn’t change his flat-wound strings for 20 years. There was plenty of competition on his instrument in the Hollywood studios — from Carol Kaye, Ray Pohlman, Lyle Ritz, the multi-talented Knechtel and others, some of them with jazz training — but he was valued for his southern rock ‘n’ roll chops. His later work included Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (with Knechtel on piano) and all the 5th Dimension’s hits, including “Wedding Bell Blues”, “Let the Sunshine In/Aquarius” and the sublime “One Less Bell to Answer”.

Here is a very nice little two-minute tribute, and here is a short interview. As with a lot of great session musicians, the true extent of his contribution will probably never be adequately measured.

2018: the best bits

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Sheila Atim (photograph: Manuel Harlan)

Girl from the North Country

Outside of the Rogers-and-Astaire films and Jersey Boys — and Broadway’s contribution to the American songbook, of course — musicals have never played much of a part in my life. I went to the opening night of Conor McPherson’s Girl from the North Country at the Old Vic in January only because I was asked to write a piece about how the playwright had responded to the invitation to build an evening around Bob Dylan’s songs. I got a pleasant surprise. The play was a little predictable and sometimes melodramatic. But Alan Berry, the musical director, and Simon Hale, the orchestrator, arranger and musical supervisor, had taken McPherson’s pleasingly eccentric selection and recreated them as something standing apart from a story set in Duluth, Minnesota – Dylan’s birthplace – around the time of the Depression, but entirely of a piece with the atmosphere. A little band played beautifully behind the singing of the cast, which was uniformly excellent – and in the case of Sheila Atim, delivering “Tight Connection to My Heart”, something rather more than that. I enjoyed it so much that when it transferred to the West End, I went back and was not inclined to change my view.

Here are the other things I particularly enjoyed this year:

Live performances

1 Ry Cooder (Cadogan Hall, October)

2 Mavis Staples (Union Chapel, July)

3 Ingrid Laubrock’s Anti-House (Cafe Oto, May)

4 Amir ElSaffar + Rivers of Sound (Kings Place, November)

5 Louis Moholo-Moholo Quartet (Cafe Oto, October)

6 Mary Halvorson Octet (Haus der Berliner Festspiele, November))

7 Nérija (Elgar Room, Royal Albert Hall, March)

8 Nels Cline 4 (Vortex, April)

9 Richard Thompson (Richmond Theatre, August)

10 Anthony Braxton’s ZIM Music (Cafe Oto, May)

11 Bill Frisell (Cadogan Hall, November)

12 Irreversible Entanglements (Haus der Berliner Festspiele, November)

13 Tony Malaby (Vortex, May)

14 Elaine Michener’s Sweet Tooth (St George’s, Bloomsbury, February)

15 Peter Hammill (Queen Elizabeth Hall, April)

16 The Necks (Cafe Oto, October)

17 Hamid Drake / Yuko Oshima (Haus der Berliner Festspiele, November)

18 Kit Downes / Tre Voci / Southbank Gamelan (Union Chapel, February)

19 Jamie Branch’s Fly or Die (Cafe Oto, November)

20 Martin Speake Quartet (Vortex, April)

New albums

1 Ambrose Akinmusire: Origami Harvest (Blue Note)

2 Moses Boyd Exodus: Displaced Diaspora (Exodus)

3 Arve Henriksen: The Height of the Reeds (Rune Grammofon)

4 Betty LaVette: Things Have Changed (Verve)

5 Tyshawn Sorey: Pillars (Firehouse 12)

6 Marc Ribot: Songs of Resistance 1942-2018 (Anti-)

7 Louis Moholo-Moholo’s Five Blokes: Uplift the People (Ogun)

8 Swing Out Sister: Almost Persuaded (SOS)

9 Mary Halvorson: The Maid with the Flaxen Hair (Tzadik)

10 The Necks: Body (ReR)

11 Barre Phillips: End to End (ECM)

12 Mike Westbrook: Starcross Bridge (hatOLOGY)

13 Michael Mantler: Comment c’est (ECM)

14 Geir Sundstøl: Brødløs (Hubro)

15 Lio: Lio Canta Caymmi (Crammed Discs)

16= Brian Eno: Music for Installations (Opal)

16= Bryan Ferry: Bitter-Sweet (BMG)

18 Jon Hassell: Listening to Pictures (Ndeya)

19 Peter Hammill: From the Trees (Fie)

20 Lewis Wright: Duets (Signum Classics)

Archive / reissue albums

1 Negro Church Music (Man in the Moon)

2 Charles Mingus: Jazz in Detroit / Strata Concert Gallery/ 46 Selden (BBE)

3 André Hodeir: Essais (Fresh Sound)

4 Eric Dolphy: Musical Prophet (Resonance)

5 John Coltrane: Both Directions at Once (Impulse)

6 Mike Westbrook: In Memory of Lou Gare (Westbrook)

7 Chuck Jackson: The Best of the Wand Years (Ace)

8 Don Cherry: Studio 105, Paris 1967 (Hi-Hat)

9 Shirley Ellis: Three Six Nine (Ace)

10 Keith Jarrett / Gary Peacock / Jack DeJohnette: After the Fall (ECM)

Feature films

1 A Woman’s Life (Une Vie) (dir. Stéphane Brizé)

2 Shoplifters (dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda)

3 Cold War (dir. Pawel Pawlokovski)

4 The Guardians (Les Gardiennes) (dir. Xavier Beauvois)

5 Loveless (dir. Andrey Zvyagintsev)

6 Jeune Femme (dir. Léonor Serraille)

Books: non-fiction

1 Berlin 1936 by Oliver Hilmes (The Bodley Head)

2 Left Bank by Agnès Poirier (Bloomsbury)

3. Moneyland by Oliver Bullough (Profile)

Books: fiction

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje (Jonathan Cape)

Books: poetry

The Long Take by Robin Robertson (Picador Poetry)

Books: photography

New York Scenes by Fred W. McDarrah (Abrams)

Exhibitions

1 Ilse D’Hollander (Victoria Miro Mayfair)

2 Jean-Michel Basquiat: Boom for Real (Barbican)

3 The Age of Jazz in Britain (Two Temple Place)

4 London 1938 (Max Liebermann Villa, Wannsee)

5 Journeys with ‘The Waste Land’ (Turner, Margate)

YouTube

Childish Gambino: “This is America”

Lana Del Rey: “Venice Bitch”