Sunny side up
13 April 2019: Monday this week (8 April) saw Fog Arts’ digital reissue of Jan Lundgren Trio Presents Miriam Aïda & Fredrik Kronkvist, originally released in 2002. Details of the album’s line-up can be found in the 11 January story below, while the liner notes and artwork are all here. It’s a fun record that mixes 11 standards (more or less) with a lively original by Aida and Kronkvist. The former include Bobby Hebb’s fondly remembered composition Sunny from 1966 which, in his sometimes provocative liner notes, veteran Swedish music journalist Staffan Holmgren describes as “strong and funky” and having “a great momentum to the singing”. This particular track has been available on Spotify – without the rights holders’ permission, we hasten to add – for several years as part of a compilation called The New Divas Of Jazz. So it’s nice that, finally, the original session from which this version of Sunny was brutally extracted is now back out in full and can be enjoyed in all its glory.
When Jan met Miriam and Fredrik
11 January 2019: We’ve got a new Jan Lundgren Trio reissue coming to Fog Arts in the next month or so. It’s an album originally released in 2002, and is the first recording ever made by Swedish vocalist Miriam Aïda and her now-husband (and fellow Swede) Fredrik Kronkvist on alto sax and flute. Laid down at Sun Studio in Copenhagen and called Jan Lundgren Trio Presents Miriam Aïda & Fredrik Kronkvist, the 12-track release was also the first time that Danish drummer Morten Lund had recorded with Jan Lundgren (piano) and Mattias Svensson (bass). More details soon.
JimTomJazz is back in town
21 October 2018: Fog Arts’ Guy Jones yesterday caught up for a second time this year with the British saxophonist, composer, arranger and producer Jim Tomlinson. In a follow-up to their first podcast in May, Part 2 sees Jim chatting about, among many other things, his and Stacey Kent’s extensive collaborations with Brazilian greats including Edu Lobo, Roberto Menescal, Danilo Caymmi and Marcos Valle. Jim also shares his thoughts on how the jazz industry and audience manage to keep renewing themselves, and why he still feels as though he’s learning after a quarter of a century in the business. Go here to listen to our second interview with Jim on Fog Arts’ SoundCloud channel, where you’ll also find Part 1. If you prefer YouTube, click here.
Emil Viklicky Trio’s Humoresque now out
6 October 2018: Fog Arts’ third Emil Viklicky album, Humoresque, was released for worldwide streaming and downloading yesterday morning. It’s a live trio set with Emil on piano, Czech compatriot Petr Dvorsky on bass and veteran American drummer Ernie Adams, and it was recorded at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in May this year. Rifftides author and Wall Street Journal contributor Doug Ramsey described the concert as “a highlight of [Viklicky’s] discography” in a recent ‘Monday Recommendation’ on his blog, and you can hear why Doug was so enthusiastic by giving the record a listen at Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, iTunes or any other digital platform that takes your fancy. As with all Fog Arts’ releases, the artwork and liner notes can be found on this website at our dedicated Humoresque page.
Marc Myers gets frank with Fog Arts
29 September 2018: New York-based Marc Myers writes the must-read daily jazz and popular music blog JazzWax. He’s also a regular Wall Street Journal contributor, author, broadcaster and an all-round fine fellow. Marc did an interview yesterday with Fog Arts’ Guy Jones, in which he discusses the pleasures and pains of writing about music on pretty much a 24/7 basis, explains why a lot of contemporary jazz leaves him cold, and spills the beans on the best way to make him listen to your latest album. Towards the end of the podcast (from around 56:15), he also shares some frank opinions, robustly expressed, about the importance of making opportunites happen, rather than sitting around in the misguided belief that you’ll be magically ‘discovered’. Click on the links at our Conversations page to listen.
9 September 2018: A quick heads-up about our next digital release on 5 October. It’s called Humoresque and, rather than being a reissue, it’s an entirely new album by the Emil Viklicky Trio, recorded live at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in May this year. Czech pianist Emil is joined for the set by bassist and fellow countryman Petr Dvorsky, and the great American drummer Ernie Adams. This is the third Emil Viklicky album we’ve had the pleasure of releasing and, since it’s not actually a reissue but a new recording, something of a first for Fog Arts. If you want to read a little more about the album, check out the liner notes at our Humoresque page.
Fergus McCreadie talks jazz and Scotland
7 September 2018: Scottish pianist Fergus McCreadie, who won the first Fog Arts-sponsored Jazz Improvisation Prize at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) in 2016, talked to Guy Jones earlier this week about why he always wanted to be a professional musician, his studies at RCS in Glasgow, the current state of Scotland’s jazz scene, and the similarities between Nordic and Scottish folk music. Fergus also chatted about his very well-received debut album, Turas (see the 21 April story below), in which the young pianist teamed up with bassist David Bowden and drummer Stephen Henderson for a journey through the music and landscape of Scotland. To listen to Fergus’ interview, go to our Conversations page, or visit SoundCloud or YouTube.
Why bother making records?
1 September 2018: Fog Arts’ Guy Jones had a long discussion yesterday with Martin Hummel (pictured), the founder and CEO of London-based jazz label Ubuntu Music. Among many other things, Martin talked about the challenges of developing an artist roster and album catalogue from scratch, the thorny issue of CDs and vinyl versus digital, and – shock, horror – whether musicians should be making records at all. Guy’s extended interview with Martin is now up on Fog Arts’ SoundCloud channel here. You’ll also find it on this website’s Conversations page.
JLT’s Flowers Of Sendai reissued today
22 June 2018: Our reissue of Jan Lundgren Trio’s Flowers Of Sendai is out today for streaming and downloading on all good digital platforms worldwide. The 10-track album was originally released in April 2014 by the small French label Bee Jazz, which closed its doors eight months later. So, unless you were lucky enough to unearth some old stock somewhere, it hasn’t been possible to buy the CD, or to stream or download the record, for nearly four years.
You’ll find the album’s cover artwork and liner notes on this website at Flowers Of Sendai. And you can read a short article about the record’s genesis and content, which appeared in the March 2014 edition of Jan Lundgren News, on our Conversations page. Flowers Of Sendai is available for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and other major streamers, and/or as a download at platforms like iTunes and Amazon.
Cliff Goldmacher talks songwriting
16 June 2018: Earlier this week, the American songwriter, producer and educator Cliff Goldmacher shared his experiences and insights from 25 years in the music business with Fog Arts’ Guy Jones in an hour-long interview.
Based in Sonoma, California, Cliff began his professional career in Nashville, where he collaborated with other writers, musicians and singers in crafting numerous country and other songs. Although he also writes for pop, rock and folk artists, Cliff is particularly active these days in the jazz field, where his collaborators include the US singers Stacey Kent – and her musical partner and husband Jim Tomlinson – and Spencer Day, with whom he co-wrote the song TIll you come to me, which topped the American jazz chart soon after its release.
The podcast is now on Fog Arts’ SoundCloud and YouTube channels, and you’ll find it embedded in our Conversations page. Cliff is candid, good-humoured, and a mine of useful information for anyone who wants to hone their songwriting skills.
This year’s Fog Arts jazz improv prize winner announced
14 June 2018: Many congratulations to drummer and percussionist Dominykas Snarskis, who’s been named as the 2018 winner of the Fog Arts-sponsored jazz improvisation prize at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS). This is the third year we’ve been involved with the prize, which is awarded at the discretion of the jazz faculty’s head, saxophonist Tommy Smith, to the student “who has made the most significant advancement in the pursuit of excellence within the realm of improvisation”.
Now based in Glasgow, Dominykas was born and raised in Vilnius, Lithuania, and has a particular affinity for free jazz. He regularly performs with bands throughout Scotland and in the Baltic States. Here’s Dominykas at a club in Vilnius back in April, deftly displaying a wide range of his many skills.
From Stockholm to Tennessee
11 June 2018: Jazz aficionado, author of the US-based Jazz Flashes blog and professor of Spanish at the University of Tennessee at Martin, Anton Garcia-Fernandez, picked up on the interview by Fog Arts’ Guy Jones with British reed man Jim Tomlinson, recorded when Jim and Stacey Kent played Stockholm last month. Click on the link here to read Anton’s blog post, and here to listen to the interview on YouTube.
Jim Tomlinson in conversation
24 May 2018: Fog Arts’ founder and manager, Guy Jones, recently interviewed Jim Tomlinson, the British saxophonist and flute player, composer, arranger and producer. Jim is not only a fine musician in his own right with three albums as leader to his name; he’s also the musical partner – and husband – of prolific American jazz singer Stacey Kent, who appears on three tracks of the Jan Lundgren Trio Plays The Music Of Victor Young album that Fog Arts digitally reissued in September 2016.
A virtuoso performance
20 May 2018: Man In The Fog, Jan Lundgren’s 2013 solo album reissued by Fog Arts on 4 May, got a very complimentary mention – under the heading “CDs you should know about” – in yesterday’s JazzWax, the must-read daily blog written by New York-based Wall Street Journal contributor, Marc Myers (pictured). Particularly pleasing is Marc’s description of Yesterdays, the Jerome Kern standard that Fog Arts included as a bonus track on the reissue, as “a virtuoso performance”. Go to our Press coverage page for a larger version of this screenshot.
Man In The Fog reissued today
4 May 2018: Our solo piano reissue from Jan Lundgren, Man In The Fog (2013), is now available for streaming and downloading on all good digital platforms worldwide. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Jan Erick Kongshaug in 2011 at Oslo’s famous Rainbow Studio, the work represents an important milestone for Jan as his first-ever solo studio album in a professional career spanning nearly two decades. The 2013 CD release of Man In The Fog brought together a total of 10 standards, interpretations of classical pieces and Lundgren originals, to which we’ve added a bonus track – Jan’s version of Jerome Kern’s Yesterdays. The song was recorded at the same Rainbow sessions, but not released until 2014 when it appeared on the Japanese edition of Jan Lundgren Trio’s Flowers of Sendai (which Fog Arts is reissuing this summer).
You can read a little more about Man In The Fog at our Conversations page, as well as a contemporaneous review (in Swedish) here. And you can stream the album now on all the usual platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and Google Play, and/or purchase a download from iTunes, Amazon and other decent downloaders.
21 April 2018: Scottish pianist Fergus McCreadie, who won the first Fog Arts-sponsored Jazz Improvisation Prize at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2016, released his debut album on 18 April. A trio line-up with David Bowden on bass and drummer Stephen Henderson, Fergus’ Turas is a magnificently engaging and confident eight-track odyssey of McCreadie originals, inspired by the pianist’s travels around Scotland. Adding to the listening pleasure are Fergus’ helpful explanations of each composition’s provenance on his website (go here), where you can buy the CD and watch a couple of videos of the trio performing. Naturally, Turas is also available for streaming and downloading on all the usual digital platforms, including Spotify. Fergus (on the right in this photo), David (centre) and Stephen have made a very original and exciting recording debut with this album, and we look forward to many more of their creations in the years ahead.
29 March 2018: Two new Jan Lundgren reissues are coming soon from Fog Arts. After a career spanning two decades, Man In The Fog was Lundgren’s first-ever solo studio album, and it’s still only one of two such solo studio recordings that Jan’s released; the other is All By Myself (Fresh Sound, 2014). Man In The Fog sits neatly in our catalogue alongside Lundgren’s so far only live solo album, History Of Piano Jazz (2006), which Fog Arts reissued in September last year. Man In The Fog will be out on 4 May. Then, in the summer, we’ll reissue Jan Lundgren Trio’s Flowers Of Sendai (2014), which Jan recorded in 2013 with long-time collaborators Mattias Svensson on bass and drummer Zoltan Csörsz.
Both albums were originally released on the short-lived French label, Bee Jazz, which folded in December 2014. So, although they’re still very ‘young’ records, neither has been in print for well over three years, and we’re delighted to be making them available again.
The swinging Czech
8 February 2018: Czech pianist Emil Viklicky, whose two live albums Live At The Box (2011) and Jazz At The Castle (2007) were reissued by Fog Arts last year, has had a long association with Wynton Marsalis’ New York-based Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO) as an arranger and composer, and as a guest pianist on occasional European tour dates. Here’s a video of Emil wearing all three of these hats at a JLCO concert in the Czech city of Brno on 1 February, playing the very swinging Part II of his Czech Suite.
Big down under
7 February 2018: Strewth mate! Fog Arts’ digital reissue of Jan Lundgren Trio’s 2001 tribute to the genius of Victor Young with guest appearances by Stacey Kent, Deborah Brown and the late Johnny Griffin – Jan Lundgren Trio Plays The Music Of Victor Young – has entered the Australian charts. Stream or download the album now to find out what the Aussies are finally getting into on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Deezer and every other clued-up digital platform worldwide.
When Stacey met Jan
22 December 2017: Fog Arts’ Guy Jones took part in a podcast discussion earlier this week with Tennessee-based jazz blogger Anton Garcia-Fernandez about the 20-year recording career of US singer Stacey Kent. One of the eight tracks Jones picked among his Kent favourites (you’ll find the Spotify playlist here) was her version of My Foolish Heart with Swedish pianist Jan Lundgren on Fog Arts’ reissued album from 2001, Jan Lundgren Trio Plays The Music Of Victor Young. The discussion is at 39:40 until 48:45 in the YouTube video below.