THAT WAS 2018: Favourite and most-read articles as we approach our 10th anniversary

Among our favourite pieces:
John L Walters’ review of Bobby McFerrin (link below)
Photo credit: John Watson /
Sebastian writes: 

Welcome to our 888th and last article of 2018.

If I’m feeling reflective, nostalgic even, it is because just a few days from now, 10 January 2019, will mark LJN’s 10th anniversary. It will be ten years since I wrote a tentative first blog piece, a preview of the Ian Shaw residency at Pizza Express in Dean Street. And since then LJN has mushroomed.

2018 has been an amazing year. I am lucky to work with a core team who can be not just effective and skilfull, but also invariably bring such enthusiasm to everything they do for the site: Peter Bacon, Romy Summers, Catherine Ford and Rob Edgar.

And it is amazing to deal with the joys and surprises of the daily flow of superb articles that we get to edit and post from the fantastic team of writers and photographers.

First a few favourite pieces selected by Peter Bacon and myself from this year, then extracts from, and links to, the ten most-reads of the year:


This year we have had

a first-time contribution from the doyen of British jazz critics John Fordham

a deeply felt piece about Monk by Liam Noble

Lauren Bush celebrating the 90th birthday of Sheila Jordan

Alison Bentley describing the joys of Vincent Peirani’s Living Being

AJ Dehany on Joan Jonas and Jason Moran at the Tate

Jane Mann on Paul Booth’s Bansangu

Gail Tasker on Eddie Parker’s Debussy Mirrored

John L Walters on the Bobby McFerrin Barbican show

Leah Williams at the Proms and decidedly On The Town

Geoff Winston at the Rhythm and Reaction art exhibition

– Sebastian’s review of Joshua Redman in a duo with violin at the Wigmore Hall

– Peter Bacon’s review of Kate McGarry

At No 6  in our most-reads: AJ Dehany’s report Manfred Eicher
Phone snap by AJ Dehany


10) Steve Rubie’s interview with Peter Ind previewing the great bassist’s 90th birthday concert

“I have watched various of the young musicians that cut their teeth in the Bass Clef come through as jazz names – that has been good to see. And we have seen some incredible young musicians coming through, They seldom get side-tracked but keep their sincerity in the music – and their energy. It’s all about the energy!” (Peter Ind)

9) Martin Chilton’s feature on the Andy Sheppard album Romaria
“The idea to record Elis Regina’s hit Romaria as an instrumental was suggested by Andy Sheppard’s wife Sara. He explained: ‘My wife has great ears for music and she suggested I tackle Romaria. It started as a nice tune for an encore in concerts and everyone loved it so it became a regular part of the live repertoire. I took it to the recording session and the producer, Manfred Eicher, loved it. He was adamant we named the whole album after it.’ ” (Andy Sheppard)

8) Sebastian’s interview with WDR Big Band saxophonist Karolina Strassmayr for International Womens Day

 “If I could change one thing in the world, I would remove the self-doubts of women, deeply embedded and firmly lodged into our minds by conditioning. The fact that young women today still doubt whether they can kick ass like men is most tragic. I would want to (and DO) tell them that all they need is curiosity, a spirit of adventure and persistence!” (Karolina Strassmayr)

7) AJ Dehany’s review of John Cale’s Futurespective at the Barbican

“The first night of two ‘Futurespective’ concerts at the Barbican was a two-hour spectacular showcasing the breathtaking range of his input and output over five decades in music, with wholly reimagined selections from his string of classic 1970s albums, Vintage Violence, Paris 1919, Fear, and Helen of Troy, smatterings from the eighties and noughties, and more recent punches that reflect his continuing interest in raucous minimalism, orchestral and electronic textures, deep literary allusiveness and gut-punching emotional reveal.” (AJ Dehany)

6) AJ Dehany’s report on an audience with Manfred Eicher at the Royal Academy of Music

“It’s always the musician that formulates the music, it’s not really coming later when we record the music. If we have a two-track recording we have to be alert to the balance, the shape of things, to capture the music in this moment. If it is a multitrack recording we have to bring this and balance later and not forget that everything that has been recorded cannot be corrected—intonation, tempi, phrasing should all start before the microphone, so the music shapes itself already in the best possible way.” (Manfred Eicher)

5) Georgina Williams’ review of George Benson at the Royal Albert Hall

Benson left the audience to be played off by the band with a cheeky smile full of life for someone who is approaching their ninth decade. He’s definitely still got it. (Georgina Williams)

4) Kate Delamere’s review of the Chet Baker Live in London album launch/ interview with Jim Richardson

“When I left school and worked as a hod carrier on a building site I’d often find myself whistling some of Chet’s solos. They were beautiful. He had a melodic romantic warm style and fire in his belly. As far as music was concerned he was a big hero of mine. After listening to him I’d mess around with wire brushes and a tea chest playing along to records. Then in 1958 when I was 17 I got a double bass and turned professional five years later playing with big bands.” (Jim Richardson)

3) Peter Jones’ tribute to pianist Paolo Losi

“So so sad, way too early. My heart goes out to his family. We will all miss this beautiful man who had a heart of gold and wonderful musicianship.” (Tracey Mendham)

2) Sebastian’s review of the Jacob Collier Prom

“This was a special event, and an exciting step in a huge career that has only just begun.”

1)  Martin Chilton’s interview with Chris Barber

“In 1960, I was on the same bill as Louis Armstrong at the Hollywood Bowl in California. We were the last band on before him, and I remember him being very friendly. He told us we should go on for an extra number – so we did. He was a generous-spirited man. He just played like Louis Armstrong all the time. You didn’t analyse him, you just listened. You loved to hear him play.” (Chris Barber)

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1 reply »

  1. Ten years, and I've been a small cog in that machine for much of those ten years, so can adjudge at first hand how much hard work you – and others – have put into it, and how respected the site has become. It deserves celebrating.

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