Earth Recordings to Reissue Bert Jansch’s Avocet for 40th Anniversary
Earth recordings, the independent label founded by James Nicholls of Fire records, is to reissue Bert Jansch’s 1979 LP Avocet for a second time, celebrating forty years since its initial release. Where their 2016 reissue featured a die-cut sleeve and six lithograph art prints to represent the six birds Jansch named the album’s compositions after, this vinyl-only reissue is limited to 500 copies, pressed on white wax, with an exclusive digital EP of tracks recorded live in Italy in 1977, plus new liner notes from Jansch’s Pentangle bandmate, Danny Thompson.
The entirely instrumental record is considered by many to be one of Jansch’s finest works as a solo artist, drawing from techniques from the classical world and showcasing Jansch’s singular style of acoustic guitar playing. The new edition is available to pre-order now and will be released on 15th October. Revisit a classic Granada broadcast featuring Jansch and Thompson playing with Pentangle here.
The Repeat Listen: Sara Gazarek — Thirsty Ghost
Thirsty Ghost hears the Los Angeles-based vocalist Sara Gazarek following her intuition. Reflecting upon the advice of trusted mentor Kurt Elling, she has curated a collection of covers and original compositions that truly reflect her personality and artistic outlook, inspiring outstanding vocal performances from herself and capturing the finest attributes of her bandmates with a range of well-written arrangements.
Titles by Sam Smith, Nick Drake, Björk and Dolly Parton are certainly unexpected, but they appear alongside a piece penned by the pianist Brad Melhdau and numbers co-written with organist Larry Goldings, demonstrating the breadth of Gazarek’s taste and her willingness to take interpretative risks.
She opens this collection with saxophonist Josh Johnson’s arrangement of Lonely Hours– her pitch-perfect scatting following his lyrical sax line expertly until the track breaks into its cool left-hand piano lick, emphasising the rhythm of the 5/4 time signature. Capturing the sultry atmosphere of classics by Peggy Lee but also the uncertainty the runs through Anne Phillips’ Lonelyville, Johnson and Gazarek craft an emotionally dense album opener that harkens back to the work of those fifties greats while still feeling contemporary and edgy in its instrumentation.
Warm electric piano leads the way on Gazarek’s rendition of I’m Not the Only One: a subtle, delicate and mature take on Sam Smith’s wildly popular hit single. Stu Mindleman’s voicings and chord choices completely reinvent the flow and inflections of the verse, with beautiful vocal pads punctuating Gazarek’s lead vocal. Horns add to the intensity as the song develops, before Johnson tears into an uninhibited sixteen bar sax solo.
Other standouts include the menacing, fiery rework of Jolene, in which Gazarek and arranger Geoff Keezer completely reframe the emotional context of the song – Gazarek reaching for low, spoken utterances sometimes heard of confrontation tracks by Laura Marling, altogether conveying anger, defiance and assurance.
Listening from front to back, Sara Gazarek’s new LP gives one a well-rounded sense of her artistic outlook, the records that mean a lot to her, and the musicians with whom she works so well. It is honest, emotive and exemplary in its creation: from the writing and performance of the arrangements, to the quality with which they’re recorded, mixed and mastered.
New Sounds and Visuals
Compro Oro’s psychedelic, travel-informed track Rastapopoulosharnesses the beguiling double harmonic scale for its electric guitar lick, which is backed with soothing vibes harmonies. Joachim Cooder, son of the one-time Captain Beefheart collaborator and Buena Vista Social Club member Ry Cooder, contributes electric mbira to the adventurous instrumental cut, which manages to evoke Turkish folk music, dub, rock and Ethiojazz with its inventive arrangement. Check out the track here and keep your eyes peeled for more from this promising five-piece.
Instrumental outfit Ikebe Shakedown have released a new found footage visual for their track Horses. The bands sound blends classic soul with flavours common in Western soundtracks by Morricon eand the likes, which is perfectly displayed in this track and the footage accompanying it. Their record Kings Left Behind is streaming now.
Jazz bassist Gilad Abro is soon to release his debut solo album, Leaf Boy, on Raw Tapes records. The label recently shared the ‘mysterious’ Much Love To Give, which features contributions from trumpeter Sefi Zisling. You can check out the groovy, icy cold post bop cut below and find the full project here.
Brighton’s Hive Mind record label has announced the reissue of Osondi Owendi, highlife artist Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe’s 1984 ‘magnum opus’. Side A is streaming now on Bandcamp, providing a window into the Nigerian artist’s mellow, mellifluous and Afro-Cuban-informed record.
Singer-songwriter Kayla Cohen retreated to a rural, century-old house in New Mexico to write the material for her latest Itasca album, Spring. Drawing inspiration from the sparse surroundings there, she has penned a collection of gentle, sun-scorched folk-rock corkers, recalling the classic arrangements and vocal tones heard on records by sixties and seventies icons of the movement. Bess’s Dance is streaming now and the full album is out on 1st November.
Common Holly’s new video for Joshua Snakes carries a warning for those with photosensitive epilepsy, given its use of rapid, psychedelic colour changes and flash edits. It sees its protagonist repeatedly intruding upon her own reality, but breaking the cycle through dance, just as the track’s menacing, Television-esque guitar lick kicks in. Fans of Frankie Cosmos and Girlpool are certain to dig the songwriting and production, and can look forward to the album When I say to you Black Lightning dropping on 11th October.
Burna Boy is the name on everyone’s lips at present, following the release of his critically-acclaimed fourth album, African Giant, and his recent features on tracks by Jorja Smith, Mercury Prize nominee Dave, and collab with Nigerian artist Zlatan Ibile. His new video for Pull Up is garnering praise for its casting, wardrobe and artistic direction, with the JM production opting for a narrow aspect, saturated colours and variety of shots to set its mood. The chilled beat, with minimal highlife guitar lines and subtle percussion, makes for a relaxing late summer vibe.
Fans of TVAM’s gritty VHS visuals and Jane Weaver’s cosmic creations as a solo artist will love the visual and sonic tone of her new project, Fenella. Bright Curse is its first single, created in collaboration with Raz Ullah, who also filmed, processed and edited the video, and Peter Philipson. The project is described as a ‘reimagined soundtrack to Marcell Jankovics’ cult animation Fehérlófia’ and was created at a remote cottage in North West Scotland.