Billy Cobham’ Crosswinds Project (US)
Billy Cobham – percussion, Paul Hanson – bassoon, saxophone, Fareed Haque – guitar, Tim Landers – bass guitar, Scott Tibbs – keyboard
Billy Cobham’s drums saw the birth of jazz rock, and the drummer himself will be celebrating his 75th birthday this year with a return to his 1974 album Crosswinds. With retrospect and rich experience, he revives the musical matter that served to express his deepest emotions in the past. The legendary drummer takes what might seem at first glance like a comfortable history trip and transforms it into a thrilling musical adventure.
In the late 1960s to 1970s, Billy Cobham was a member of Miles Davis’ band, and among others, he participated in the pioneering jazz-rock album Bitches Brew. A year later he and John McLaughlin founded the highly reputed Mahavishnu Orchestra.
The veteran drummer is convinced that everything in life happens in the right place and at the right time. Occasionally, an event starts and concludes in a single moment; other times, the initial idea might only be a fragment of something greater that needs to mature. Crosswinds reflects Cobham’s bygone search, the aim of which has only now become clear – the desire for peace of mind and the opportunity to relish and process visual experiences without any rush. The audience can savour his mature ability to mediate the acoustic form of the things he sees around him.
O. Štveráček Space Project feat. G. Jackson (CZ/SK/US)
Ondřej Štveráček – tenor saxophone, Klaudius Kováč – piano, Tomáš Baroš – double bass, Gene Jackson – percussion
The saxophonist Ondřej Štveráček is one of the most distinctive figures of the new generation of Czech jazz players and a core member of Gustav Brom’s orchestra. He is more than just a sideman, however, as he develops his own system of saxophone play unmistakably inspired by jazz tradition.
With his own band, he has already recorded several albums and has toured all of the major jazz destinations in Central Europe. Both their debut What’s Outside with its plethora of Czech Angel Award nominations, and the subsequent The Form were positively received by critics and listeners alike.
Last December his quartet released the live record “Live In Prague”, and they are preparing another release for the spring, which will also be produced by Štveráček’s own label Štvery Records. It is tellingly titled “The Ondřej Štveráček Quartet (mostly) plays Standards”.
Štveráček’s present view of jazz is complemented by true jazz masters – Tomáš Baroš is a one-of-the-kind double bassist with the unrivalled ability to make bass-playing look like the easiest thing in the world. The pianist Klaudius Kováč’s solos are like a flowing river – they pull you in and take you for a ride. Štveráček also uses a traditional yet always effective ace of trumps for his tours in the form of the American drummer Gene Jackson, a co-musician of jazz celebrities the likes of Herbie Hancock and Dave Holland.