[by Ken Hunt, London] In 1955 North America’s modern-era fascination with Hindustani music began with the advent of jet travel and the arrival of the sarod maestro Ali Akbar Khan in New York. By then, Shamin Ahmed Khan, born in Baroda, Baroda State (modern-day Gujarat) on 10 September 1938, had already met the musician who would transform his life.
[by Ken Hunt, London] One day before her third album Coracle‘s official release the Emily Portman Trio performed much of it a good number of songs at a Sunday lunchtime concert at the Riverhouse Arts Centre in Walton-on-Thames. A splendid, characterful venue yards away from the Thames, its barn-like interior is all wooden beams and half-timbered decorations. It made for a stark backdrop for the Trio.
[by Ken Hunt, London] At the time of the inspirational illustrator Maurice Sendak’death, obituaries concentrated on his connections with Mozart, Prokofiev, Janáček and suchlike. On the occasion of the death of the US folksinger Jean Ritchie (1922-2015), it is time to remind about his bigger sound palette connections, notably one that coloured his early art. One commission revealed other musical tastes.
[by Martha Hawley, Amsterdam] Roberto Fonseca and Fatoumata Diawara passed through the Netherlands in May 2015, in the company of musicians from Mali and Cuba, stopping at the Music Meeting in Nijmegen, and in Amsterdam’s North Sea Jazz Club, where I heard them. The North Sea Jazz Club is licensed to use the name of the sprawling North Sea Jazz Festival…
[by Ken Hunt, London] This month’s collection is a mixture of project-related listening and, that luxury, music listened to just for pleasure. In the latter case that doesn’t happen too often. Rojda, Little Feat, Martin Simpson, Andy Cutting & Nancy Kerr, Peggy Seeger, Scarlett O’ & ‘the little big band’, Jackson Browne & David Lindley, Jyotsna Srikanth, The Young Tradition, Kirsty MacColl and Tritonus
[by Ken Hunt, London] It is a knee-jerk reaction when evoking Belgian song to extol Jacques Brel and his impact on Francophone chanson. But Belgium is a composite nation, with Walloon, Flemish and German populations. When it comes to articulating what it means to be Flemish, one of the giants of contemporary Flemish song and poetry was Wannes van de Velde, who for more than 40 years defined Flemish culture and defied cultural laziness.
[by Ken Hunt, London] John Mayer’s impact on hyphenated fusion exceeds calculability. Though the Jazz Café’s ‘Events Brochure’ rebirthed him as Bombayite, Mayer is Calcutta-born. In the 1960s when he and the Jamaican-born saxophonist Joe Harriott combi-doubled their quintets, even more than Don Ellis, they were the defining ensemble shaking (up) the raag and jazz cocktail.
[by Ken Hunt, London]Like some misbegotten mantra, I usually say that the year started slow. Happens year after year after year after blooming year. For 2014 that applied particularly in terms of live performances. In the annual polls to which I contribute I am fully aware that what my bread-and-butter music diet is will never register in anything anywhere apart from here.
[by Ken Hunt, London and Prague] This month’s selection anticipates two December deaths: my father Leslie Lloyd Hunt (1912-1995) and Lubomír Dorůžka (1924-2013), the father of my co-host on this website’s father. In my father’s case it is through Acker Bilk’s most famous vehicle. Among others providing the music are the Bosnian singer Amira Medunjanin, Vlasta Grycová, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, the Incredible String Band, Kala Ramnath and Ali Akbar Khan, Martin & Eliza Carthy, Commander Cody And His Lost Planet Airmen and Acker Bilk.
[by Ken Hunt, London] Two months rolled into one, thanks to the aftermath of travelling and delivering copy. The choices reflect work, death and making associations. The musical scatter cushions include Kishore Kumar, Carlos Paredes, Kavita Shah, Olga Bell, Abhishek Raghururam… And more.