Reform Radio Announce Annie Mac as First Ambassador

— News — Editor

Manchester-based radio company Reform Radio celebrated World Radio Day yesterday by announcing their first ambassador. DJ, AMP founder, and BBC Radio 1 regular Annie Mac will work alongside the not-for-profit organisation to strengthen their mission and ‘use radio and music to develop new skills in those looking for employment.’ The station described Mac as ‘one of our DJ and broadcast heroes,’ in a statement confirming her role. Listen to Reform Radio on demand here.

Repeat Listen: Bill Laurance Trio – Live at Ronnie Scott’s

Listeners anticipating an album similar to Live at Union Chapel, Bill Laurance’s 2016 live album for GroundUP Music, will be taken aback by the pianist, composer and Snarky Puppy member’s new release, Live at Ronnie Scott’s. With bassist Jonathan Harvey and drummer Marijus Aleksa filling the shoes of Michael League and Robert ‘Sput’ Searight, no percussionist or chamber ensemble augmenting the sound, and no electric pianos, keyboards or synthesizers at Laurance’s disposal, the album is fundamentally different to its live predecessor, not to mention Laurance’s four previous studio albums.

In determining how to approach their performance at the world-renowned London jazz club, which fell during the 2018 International Piano Trio Festival, Laurance called to mind outstanding piano trio live albums by Ahmad Jamal, Oscar Peterson and others, picking up on their acoustic instrumentation, the prevalence of improvisation, and the audible presence of the audience in the final mix. Such albums inspired him to keep their performance largely acoustic (although, electric bass and a few effects pedals on the piano were used), to stretch compositions from his first three studio albums further than he had ever done previously, and to pay attention to their interactions with the audience in the final mix.

The result is a vibrant, freewheeling piano trio record, with the catchy, melodic keys parts the Laurance has become known for, complemented by unrestrained and dynamic soloing. Harvey alternates between upright and electric bass, playing snarling electric lines on a forceful rendition of Red Sand and delicate, minimal passages on Golden Hour. Aleksa’s solo on The Pines is a standout moment, and his shuffling drum ‘n’ bass beat on The Good Things captures his ability to move from jazz, through to dance and electronic styles with consummate ease.

The Bill Laurance Trio strike a perfect balance between honouring the historic and exploring the contemporary, creating a live album that preserves the excitement and intensity of a live show, but that still sounds polished and thoroughly thought-out.

New Sounds and Visuals

Yemi Alade’s new video with Angelique Kidjo is a joyous affair. Directed by Ovie Etseyatse, it sees traditional Maasai dance meet with contemporary routines, as drummers and musicians play to reflect Alade’s ‘talking drums and shekere combination’ lyric. C’est fantastique!

The Lone Bellow’s new album, Half Moon Light, is out now, and standout cut Martingales highlights their terrific vocal blend and songcraft. We look forward to welcoming them back to Band on the Wall in May.

Dance, symmetry and high fashion all inform Sudan Archives’ expressive new video for Limitless. Directed by Femke Huurdeman and featuring choreography from Angela Boix Duran, it features ‘the good and the bad’ of Archives’ persona, as she recently told the Fader, and draws inspiration from Queen of the Damned, the norties horror starring the late great Aaliyah.




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