Saturday, March 08, 2003


The web is a wonderful locus for niche interests. Take the extraordinary International Archives for the Jazz Organ site, which does exactly what it says on the packet: it provides world surveys, links, sheet music, access to sound sources (mp3 etc.) and much more. As you would anticipate, there is great devotion to the classic Hammond B3. But among less expected features is a section on church organs as vehicles of jazziz. I've come to appreciate the dexterity and sheer musical perversity of the electronic instrument, of course. There's nothing like a good wail. But somehow those pipes retain a purity and power which is -- well, in a different league. If you haven't heard it, I particularly recommend that you rush out and buy the beautiful, strange and atmospherically captivating CD by John Taylor and Ian Carr (church organ and flugelhorn respectively), Sounds and Sweet Airs (Celestial Harmonies, 01371130642). Recorded in the mid-'90s at Southwark Cathedral in London, it is replete with Shakespearian themes, shards of bluesiness in a classical ambient, and an authentic just-audible thunderstorm setting the scene. Remarkable. has a few clips, and there's background here. 'A Sea Change Rich And Strange' remains my favourite piece, first discovered through Unknown Public.

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