Oli

Whether exploring a gospel-tinged, hymnic solo introduction, which would have had Smokie Norful nodding in approval, or laying down some Glasper-esque chords that lit up the outro of 'Ridiculous', keys player, singer-songwriter and producer Oli Rockberger's versicoloured pianism and rhythmic sleights of hand continue to tease the brain as well as the senses.

Launching his fourth studio album, Sovereign (Whirlwind Recordings), over two nights at Pizza Express's newest live venue in Holborn, and fronting an exceptional band that included Hannah Read (vocals/fiddle), Giorgio Serci (guitar), Michael Janisch (bass), Marijus Aleksa (drums), Rockberger is an artist whose way with a song's melodic contour and expressive arc is very persuasive. From the harmonic sophistication of opener 'My Old Life' and the surprising semi-tonal shift up in 'Vertigo' to the beautiful coda of 'Right Through Me', which slowly disappeared into the upper register of the piano (featuring the great opening line: "Oh the sky fell on my head yesterday"), Rockberger takes great delight in confounding your expectations.

The evening also included a trio of standouts from previous album, Old Habits. The first of two heard back-to-back, 'Queen of Evasion', was certainly eventful, encompassing Rockberger's Nord keyboard dying midway through the song – a quick move back to the grand piano elicited encouraging cheers from the audience – another energising key change, and audience participation riffing on a characteristically memorable vocal hook. Performed as a duet, the mellifluous vocal harmonies of 'Old Habits Die Hard' highlighted the impressive contributions of Read, whose voice blended incredibly well with the leader, while the impressionistic outro of 'Let Go' – bowed bass, soft sticks and a circling piano riff – illustrated the band's sensitivity to texture and dynamics.

Set two was similarly packed with ear-catching detail, notably the magical extended fade of 'The Garden', with Janisch sustaining a fulsome G bass pedal against an unchanging heartbeat in the drums. Channelling a bluegrass-country furrow, the Rockberger/Read duet 'I'll Go Mine' saw the fiddle player stretching out for the first time, then supplying yet more wondrous harmonies on 'Is Anybody Out There?'. As an encore, Rockberger turned to the pop perfection of 'Don't Forget Me' (the third and final cut from Old Habits), whose final textural build-up perfectly encapsulated the impressive eloquence of the music-making.

– Peter Quinn

ohe2-Dennis-Fersing preview

Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble will be presenting The Spirit of Trane and Bird with Strings at London's Pizza Express on 27-28 October, celebrating not only two of the most important jazz musicians of all time – John Coltrane and Charlie Parker – but also the release of The Spirit of Trane album, issued this month on the Fanfare imprint. Atzmon and his ensemble will be joined for these special concerrs by The Sigamos String Quartet, led by Ros Stephen.

– Spencer Grady

For more info visit www.pizzaexpresslive.com

Following the success of the inaugural Music Instrument Amnesty in 2015, which saw 150 instruments pledged to new homes, the Ronnie Scott's Charitable Foundation is once again opening its doors on Saturday 28 October at the iconic Frith Street jazz club from 10am to 4pm.

Any instruments donated will be distributed through a network of participating organisations, with instrument shop The Vibe, London, donating a safe storage space for any instruments received. Donors are invited to book an appointment before arriving at Ronnie Scott's on the day – with each donor given a tracking number that will enable them to see where their instrument ends up – be it somewhere in the UK or overseas. The 2015 instrument amnesty saw items distributed as far and wide as Mexico, Palestine, Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as across the UK

– Mike Flynn

For full details on how to donate visit www.ronniescotts.co.uk

The unique, internationally renowned Instant Composers Pool Orchestra launches Going Dutch, a new, yearlong project aimed at introducing British and Irish audiences to the vibrant Netherlands jazz scene, with a seven date tour beginning at Lakeside Arts in Nottingham on Monday 30 October.

ICP was formed in 1967 by pianist Misha Mengelberg, drummer Han Bennink and saxophonist Willem Breuker to promote the idea of improvisation being the equal of composition. It has developed into a record label, releasing dozens of albums, and its members have collaborated with giants of the experimental music world including Anthony Braxton, Cecil Taylor, Sunny Murray, Peter Brotzman, Derek Bailey, Evan Parker and George Lewis.

Mengelberg died earlier this year and the current line-up of the orchestra, which consists of 10 of the most innovative musical voices from around the globe, will be celebrating the life of this inspirational figure as well as marking ICP's 50th anniversary and the75th birthday of drummer Bennink, who remains at ICP's heart.

Joining Bennink are saxophonists/clarinettists Michael Moore, Ab Baars and Tobias Delius, trombonist Wolter Wierbos, trumpeter Thomas Heberer, violinist Mary Oliver, cellist Tristan Honsinger, pianist Guus Janssen and bassist Ernst Glerum. They will decide what they will be playing just a few minutes before each performance. No two ICP Orchestra gigs are ever alike but audiences can expect to hear anything from ragtime to swing, bop to free jazz, and classical to carnival, and possibly all of the above.

Going Dutch is a joint initiative between the Jazz Promotion Network, a body of promoters, festival organisers, educators and media workers from across the UK and Ireland, and Dutch Performing Arts. Following ICP Orchestra's visit, the french horn, guitar and drums trio Kapok tours venues in the north and south of England. A full programme of tours is currently being set up to take place through 2018 and the Jazz Promotion Network will be announcing these soon.

After the Nottingham concert the tour continues at Turner Sims Concert Hall, Southampton (31 October), Culturalann Ui Chanain, Derry (2 Nov), The Mac, Belfast (3 Nov), The Sugar Club, Dublin (4 Nov), Triskel Arts Centre, Cork (5 Nov), and Widcombe Social Club, Bath (6 Nov).

– Rob Adams

For more info visit www.icporchestra.com and jazzpromotionnetwork.org.uk/goingdutch

Swanage-Fund-Raising-Concert-Poster-BIG

News that this year's 28th edition of the Swanage Jazz Festival would potentially be its last, has inspired award-winning jazz guitarist Nigel Price to set up a Kickstarter campaign and present a special Jazz at The Philharmonic-style concert to raise the funds necessary for the festival continue next year. The concert will take place on 29 October at The Mowlem Theatre, Shore Road, Swanage, Dorset and will include an opening solo set by internationally acclaimed guitarist Martin Taylor, which will be followed by a JATP-style band of top UK jazz talent including Simon Spillett (tenor sax); Tony Kofi (alto sax); George Hogg and Byron Wallen (trumpets); Ian Bateman (trombone); Dave Newton (piano); Dario Di Lecce (double bass); Steve Brown (drums) and Nigel Price (guitar).

Based in the Dorset coastal town of Swanage, the Jazz Festival has played host to hundreds of musicians since 1990. It was started by Fred Lindop, with a small marquee, a small indoor venue, and around 300 tickets. The festival has a rich history and has featured hundreds of top UK and international artists during its 28-year history. It's also worth around half-a-million pounds to local businesses during the festival weekend. Price has been nominated by the festival directors to continue running the event but to do so has to raise £15,000 to cover "unavoidable VAT impositions from ticket sales". The Kickstarter campaign has already raised £7,727 but with the deadline of 1 November there are only a couple of weeks left to hit the target.

In a statement on the Kickstarter campaign page, Price explained why he's started the fund-raising campaign: "Quite simply, there is currently not enough money in the festival fund for 2018 to even get the thing going, let alone expand enough to negate the unavoidable VAT bill. The audience will be playing their part by soaking up much of the cost through increased ticket prices, but this can only go so far. We need to find enough on top of that to make the festival run on a full tank of gas, rather than on empty, as is now the case. Together, we can all make this happen through this 'crowd funding' infrastructure. On top of attracting the top jazz musicians from the UK and further afield this festival brings a massive financial boost to the town, somewhere in the region of half a million pounds over the weekend (yes - really!) and if we all band together, share the load, each of us making a small donation then we can ensure that this important event on the Swanage calendar can continue far and away into the future. Not only that but, with the proposed increase in capacity, there will in turn be an increase to revenue for the town."

Tickets for the Jazz at The Philharmonic concert can be bought direct from the Mowlem Theatre Box Office by calling 01929 422239, or online here and here at www.mowlemtheatre.co.uk

To donate to the campaign visit www.kickstarter.com – for more on the history of Swanage Jazz Festival visit www.swanagejazz.org

Mike Flynn

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