Sunday, 04 December 2016 14:44 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altIt's just over 25 years since an album icon of Brit soul was released.... 'The Chimes' by THE CHIMES. The band was essentially a trio ... Mike Peden, James Locke and Pauline Henry and back in 1990 cuts from the album were being played out everywhere. Their version of U2's 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' scaled the charts and even hard-to-please Bono was heard to say how much he loved the Chimes' version.

To celebrate the anniversary, bbr records have just reissued the album ... along with a plethora of bonus cuts (see our "Reviews" section). Now old soul heads are once more enjoying some original and ground breaking Brit soul and we felt we couldn't let the anniversary go by without finding out a bit more about the elusive and short-lived Chimes. After considerable detective work we tracked down singer, PAULINE HENRY and fired all kinds of questions at her. First, though, we wanted to know how she felt about the album reissue after all this time....

The reissue came about when a fan reminded me that it was "The Chimes 25 years anniversary, and how nice it would be to see the Chime reunite!" So I initiated the idea with Sony Music about a re- licence, and that is when BBR Records and Cherry Red got involved. And you know I am excited about it for many reasons. Firstly because the Chimes did not fulfil their potential. We signed to Columbia for a five-album record deal but we only made our one "brilliant" album. So the reissue with the un-released songs and re mixes on feels like the second album that never was. I get to savour tracks I have long since forgotten about. I'm totally loving "Stay", "Stronger" and 'No Need To Pretend'. It takes me back to the innocent and early days of the Chimes. Secondly, too, we are gaining new audiences as well as re engaging our established fan base. Thirdly, re-working the songs gives them a new lease of life.

Last Updated on Sunday, 04 December 2016 15:14



Friday, 25 November 2016 15:13 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF


It was exactly thirty years ago that  jazz tenor saxophone legend, DEXTER GORDON, made his on-screen acting debut at the age of 63 portraying Dale Turner (a fictional musician whose life was loosely based on that of itinerant US pianist, Bud Powell) in Bertrand Tavernier's acclaimed movie, Round Midnight. Dexter died four years afterwards but the film - which has been revived with special showings around the globe to celebrate its anniversary - remains an important part of his legacy. 

In the second and concluding part of Charles Waring's recent interview with Dexter's wife,  Maxine Gordon, the saxophonist's manager-turned-music historian, record producer and author, talks about Round Midnight and also gives us her opinion of a new film called Cool Cats, which focuses on her husband's (and fellow tenorist Ben Webster's) years living in Denmark. She also tells us about the Dexter Gordon biography she's writing, which is due to be published sometime next year...

Last Updated on Friday, 25 November 2016 15:57


"I want to make a Country & Western album!" - GUITAR LEGEND JAMES "BLOOD" ULMER TALKS

Thursday, 17 November 2016 17:38 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF


"I hate interviews," declares legendary avant-funk-rock guitarist JAMES "BLOOD" ULMER as he peers over his dark shades when I introduce myself to him. His distaste for being interrogated by journalists is expressed with such vehemence and so forcefully that I don't doubt his antipathy for a second. That doesn't bode too well for our scheduled conversation, which is about to take place in his dressing room backstage at Bethnal Green's Rich Mix venue. I laugh nervously but the skull-capped big man - who's elegantly attired in a dark suit which is coolly complemented by two-tone, snakeskin boots - instantly puts me at ease. "Oh, it's all right," he chuckles, in a deep melodious voice. "It's necessary. There's a lot of shit that is necessary. If you make records you got to do interviews."

He laughs heartily again but at 76-years-old, Ulmer - who also suffers, he tells me, from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and these days plays sitting down on stage - could be forgiven for being weary of the promotional rituals and press games that go along with working in the music business. But he's here in London not to promote a new album but perform live with his trio as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival. From here he travels to continental Europe for a few select dates. "The next gig is in Austria," he says, in a strong, molasses-rich, southern American accent that reveals his South Carolina roots. "We're going about six little countries. I can't play these long tours no more but I don't want to eliminate them altogether."

Being in London brings back fond memories for the man who took Ornette Coleman's harmolodic principle - a unique system of improvisation brought about by key modulation - and applied it to the guitar. It was in London in 1980 that he launched himself on the international stage when his second album, 'Are You Glad To Be In America?,' was licensed by the London-based indie label, Rough Trade, and proved something of a cult sensation.  "That record got me started," confirms Ulmer. "I wrote the music for that record in England. I was thinking of leaving America and almost moved to London at that time I was having such a good time." The guitarist admits that he"really fell in love with London" but what stopped him from upping sticks permanently was the hedonistic nature of the music scene in the UK's capital city at the time. "I changed my mind because they had too many drugs in London," he discloses, "and I thought, 'oh no I can't do that, I'll wind up a drug addict....'"

Last Updated on Saturday, 19 November 2016 11:13


Memories of Dexter - Maxine Gordon talks to SJF about her jazz legend husband, who's the subject of her forthcoming biography.

Thursday, 10 November 2016 15:32 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF


2016 marks the thirtieth anniversary of French director Bertrand Tavernier's jazz movie, Round Midnight - now regarded as a classic - which starred the great tenor saxophonist, DEXTER GORDON, in his debut acting role portraying fictional expatriate American musician, Dale Turner. Dexter's mesmerising performance understandably garnered him an Oscar nomination and succeeded in transforming the genial, 6' 6'' bebop icon, who was then 63,  into a veritable movie star. Though jazz was still undoubtedly his raison d'être, Dexter went on to star alongside heavyweight actors Robert Di Niro and Robin Williams in the acclaimed 1990 film, Awakenings, based on the work of British neurologist, Oliver Sacks (though sadly, Dexter passed away before the film was released).

Fast forward to 2016, and Dexter Gordon is back in the news. He features in a new movie, a Danish documentary called Cool Cats that chronicles both his and fellow tenor titan Ben Webster's stay in Denmark in the 1960s (Dexter lived in Europe between 1962 and 1976, eventually settling in Copenhagen). In addition to this, there have been selected showings of Round Midnight - to celebrate its 'birthday' - at various places around the globe.

But interest in Dexter Gordon doesn't end there. There's also a new album out. It's called 'Fried Bananas' - named after one of Dexter's  signature pieces - and features a superb live performance recorded in Holland in 1972. The album's released on vinyl LP by the British audiophile label, Gearbox, which is renowned for the excellent sound quality of its releases. The album's liner notes were written by Dexter's widow, Maxine Gordon (pictured above with the saxophonist) who was also his manager and is currently putting the finishing touches to a long-awaited biography of her husband. She also supervises her husband's estate - alongside her son Woody Shaw III - and runs the Dexter Gordon Society, whose aim is both to preserve and extend the saxophone giant's legacy.

In an exclusive interview with SJF's Charles Waring, Maxine Gordon discusses the new Gearbox album and tells us about her work with the Dexter Gordon Society...

Last Updated on Monday, 10 April 2017 21:55


Once Bitten, Twice Shy - Vintage R&B revivalist NICK WATERHOUSE, talks to SJF.

Monday, 07 November 2016 20:04 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF


"It was incredibly surreal," laughs Nick Waterhouse, recalling his appearance last week on Jools Holland's live music BBC TV show, Later. "That's one of the only television shows I've always wanted to perform on and, on top of that, because of the lighting, in my sight line was José Feliciano, who I was playing to for the whole song. I've had some moments of strange eye contact with audience members but never have I watched somebody like him bopping his head and playing along to one of my tunes."

Evidently, then, the veteran Puerto Rican singer was digging Waterhouse's distinctive brand of music, which taps into a '60s-influenced, retro-soul and vintage R&B vibe that's in tune with a growing band of soul revivalists like Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Eli Reed, Leon Bridges, and the UK's  James Hunter Six. 30-year-old Waterhouse who hails from Orange County, Los Angeles, released his first record back in 2010, called 'Some Place,' which was a limited edition, private-pressing 45 that he put out on his own PRES label and which quickly became a collector's item.

After that, Waterhouse - who has also been in demand as a producer, helming records for Ural Thomas, The Boogaloo Assassins and Allah-Las - released his debut LP, 'Time's All Gone,' via the Innovative Leisure label. Amassing a growing army of followers, in 2014 the bespectacled, clean-cut auteur released his sophomore album, 'Holly,' and now follows it up with his third long player, 'Never Twice,' whose highlights include 'Straight Love,' and 'Katchi,' the latter featuring Leon Bridges.

In a revealing interview with SJF's Charles Waring, Nick Waterhouse discusses his latest album and also talks about the musicians, singers and records that helped shape his own musical sensibility...

Last Updated on Monday, 07 November 2016 20:34


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