ob c607f8 ascenseur-pour-l-echafaud-br-1958

As part of the global celebrations for International Jazz Day on Sunday 30 April, the French Bureau Export, in association with 'Jazz on Film' events-organizer Offbeat, presents French director Louis Malle's mesmerising classic Ascenseur pour l'échafaud (1958) at the Lumiere, South Kensington SW7. 

The screening will be preceded by an entirely exclusive live set inspired by Miles Davis' improvised soundtrack for the film, performed by the French trumpeter Julien Alour in duo with Matt Ridley, one of the most oustanding new British bassists to come out of London in recent years. 

The live set will start at 4.10pm followed by the film screening and a Q&A chaired by broadcaster Kevin Le Gendre with Julien Alour and 'jazz on film' journalist Selwyn Harris on the panel.

Spencer Grady

For more info visit www.institut-francais.org.uk/cine-lumiere/whats-on/special-screenings/lift-to-the-scaffold/

To coincide with International Jazz Day, Leamington Spa-based promoters In The Moment are putting on an event featuring Norma Winstone on Monday 1 May at 7.30pm at the Restaurant in the Park, Jephson Gardens, Leamington Spa CV32 4AA. Accompanying Norma is bassist Adrian Litvinoff's highly respected group, Interplay, featuring Alan Wakeman (sax/flute), Richard Baker (trombone), Neil Hunter (piano) and Dave Balen (drums/percussion).

There will also be a free public talk before the concert: 'Miles Davis and Doo Bop: Jazz meets Hip Hop' by Dr. Roger Fagge, Associate Professor in Comparative American Studies, University of Warwick. This takes place at 5.00pm in The Studio in Jephson Gardens Glasshouse. No advance booking is required, although places are limited.

– Matthew Wright

For more info visit www.wegottickets.com

Adventurous Mercury Prize-nominated folk singer Sam Lee's nature-bound concert series, Singing with Nightingales, returns for a second run of 30 gigs in four locations in woodland locations in Kent, Essex, Sussex and Cambridgeshire from 13 April to 13 May. Chief among the intimate fireside performers will be emerging jazz bass talent Misha Mullov-Abbado (29 April) plus jazz singer/violinist Alice Zawadzki (pictured above, 5 and 6 May) and singer songwriter Gwyneth Herbert (21 and 22 April) – all appearing as part of this unusual festival experience created to put punters in touch with art and nature via a campfire feast with songs and stories about one of Britain's rarest birds culminating in a night walk to hear a unique duet between the nightingale and musicians.

– Mike Flynn

For full details visit www.singingwithnightingales.com

MOBO Award-winning Brit-jazz four-piece Empirical are set to take their boundary-busting Pop-up Jazz Lounge to three locations around the UK this year, which kicked off with a weeklong string of dates in Birmingham from 25-29 April. Launching the project at Old Street Tube station in February 2016, the band played to some 2,800 commuters over 24 performances, winning approval from many non-jazz fans in the process.

The gigs are aimed at taking jazz out of the concert halls playing directly to workers, shoppers and commuters via several sets each day. This year also marks Empirical's decade together with the band set to return to Old Street Underground station from 19-24 June during the day and early evening, before appearing in Liverpool in September.

The band's bassist Tom Farmer commented on the project: "It was great to see so many new people at our pop-up lounge at Old Street and to see them really engage with the music – it showed that there is an audience for jazz out there, and we can reach them! So we're really excited to be able to take our pop-up lounge to Birmingham this April and hope that we'll get the same enthusiastic reaction from people there."

– Mike Flynn

For more info visit www.facebook.com/Emprical

Watch '6 days in Old Street' – a short documentary about the band's pilot Pop-up Jazz Lounge:

gavita-ronnies

Ostensibly a CD launch gig to promote his new album Transient (reviewed in Jazzwise's May 2017 edition), trumpeter Freddie Gavita's early-evening appearance at Ronnie Scott's Upstairs attracted a full house of well-wishers, Kickstart supporters and relatives. Oh yes, and plenty of fans of his music too. Gavita has form as far as I'm concerned as an integral part of the James Pearson Ronnie Scott's quintet and as a fluent contributor to Alex Webb's Tribute to Bird on Dial. Here, though, it was his own music that was on offer, an eclectic mix of themes, each with a tale attached, and thoughtfully presented by Gavita, always an engaging presence who sometimes looks as if he can't quite believe his luck in being able to play this music for a living.

This was Gavita's band and gig, for sure, but he's simply the first among equals on this showing and has in Tom Cawley a player whose creativity and appetite for improvisation is almost unsettlingly potent, much the same applying to James Maddren, whose dazzling array of percussive effects kept the pot boiling throughout. All this and more was evident on 'Sprezzatura', a very perky, zig-zagging theme, with a rumbling undertow from Maddren and series of two-handed downward rums from Cawley that sent Gavita into the stratosphere before he came down to earth with a sequence of short, clarion calls. 'Iverson Oddity' had to do with Ethan Iverson apparently, and seemed almost elegant by comparison, with a very neat harmonic sub-structure, Gavita poised and calm, Cawley relishing the harmonies, spacious and always taking up the unexpected option. 'The Vow' was similarly solemn, Gavita playing beautifully over a chorded, stop-time pattern, Calum Gourley's sure-footed basslines the perfect underpinning. Much the same could be said for 'The Buffalo Trace', another cleverly made piece with a relaxed, elegiac feel, Gavita's ballad capability balanced by Gourley's solo passage as Cawley comped quietly in the background.

And so it went, this young pretender setting out his stall, his instrumental prowess and command of idiom clear for all to see, his compositional skills equally evident, this audience's appreciation maximised. Nothing hackneyed here, no easy licks, that's for sure. Would I have liked to hear Gavita stretch out as he can on a conventional hard-bop line with a swinging beat? Well, yes, but that's perhaps something for another time and place.

– Peter Vacher
– Photo by Leah Thomas

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