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The EFG London Jazz Festival may have celebrated its 21st birthday last year, but as if to prove it has truly come of age – and lost none of its spark – the opening weekend of the 22nd edition positively swaggered and swung with joyful jazz noises everywhere across the capital. If proof were needed of this all-encompassing event’s diversity and pulling power then opening vocal gala Jazz Voice got off to a flying start with top US vocalist Kurt Elling (pictured top) delivering a typically punchy ‘Stepping Out’. With his rich tenor resonating against the 40-piece orchestra-cum-big band, Elling’s bravura technique saw him scat soloing with abandon – a half-concealed grin bearing witness to the fun he seemed to be having dueling with conductor/arranger Guy Barker’s bristling score.

Jazz Voice is something of a ‘taster’ for the less jazz inclined listeners, and as such welcomes voices from soul, blues and pop to join the party – tonight including Basement Jaxx session soulstress Vula Malinga and rising soul-boy Jacob Banks – yet this was also a great showcase for young jazz singer Emma Smith whose time has surely come to move from rising to established name, performing a wonderfully restrained take on ‘Dance Me To The End of Love’. Jacqui Dankworth was equally mesmeric with a truly heartfelt performance of the Charlie Chaplin classic ‘Smile’, turning this all too mawkish melody into something deeply special, while Georgie Fame and Elling had fun with Cab Calloway’s ‘Mini the Moocher’. Other highlights included Barker’s masterful Blue Note medley that began the second half, to mark the label’s 75th anniversary this year, while Natalie Williams and the brilliant Dee Dee Bridgewater demonstrated that today’s vocal scene has both youth and experience in abundance. Click here to listen again to the programme on the BBC iPlayer.

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If the Brit-jazz powered big band thrilled the Barbican, then it was the turn of US bass boss Stanley Clarke (above) and his extraordinary band of young guns to shake the walls of Ronnie Scott’s for both their own headline gig and the late night Jazz On 3 live broadcast immediately after. This annual opening-night showcase always provides a contrasting array of sounds – a genuine snapshot of the sheer diversity of the capital’s jazz festival – and this 15th edition was no exception. Clarke’s firecracker foursome of keyboardist Cameron Graves, pianist Beka Gochiashvili and drum monster Michael Mitchell gave the bass icon’s Return To Forever acoustic fusion a blast of 21st century energy. Mitchell’s drumming was the perfect amalgam of Cobham-kick and Chris ‘Daddy’ Dave-daring while Gochiashvili is surely a name set for huge things on the international jazz scene.

As is typical with a Jazz On 3 line-up things detoured into freer terrain as South African drum guru Louis Moholo Moholo brought a reduced Dedication Quartet to the stage – his Dedication Orchestra headlined the Queen Elizabeth Hall on Saturday – with pianist Steve Beresford, bassist John Edwards and saxophonist Jason Yarde digging deep into their collective resources. Yarde bringing things to a head with both soprano and alto saxes in his mouth in a self-harmonising peak. Calmer waters followed with the beatific baritone sax of John Surman creating delicate harmonies of a different kind with singer Karin Krog but it was the aforementioned Dee Dee Bridgewater who had a few aces up her sleeve.

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Hot-footing it from the Barbican, Bridgewater also brought an astonishingly talented young band of Edsel Gomez Rentas (piano), Kenny Phelps (drums), Theo Croker (trumpet), Irwin Hall(sax) and Stefan Lievestro (bass) and needed no encouragement to unleash a feverish ‘Afro Blue’ that skittered and twisted across the 6/8 groove. Trumpeter Croker is a name we’re sure to hear a lot more from in the coming years, playing with the kind of unfettered, infectious exuberance missing from so many players today, likewise Hall on sax was his equal – also be-dreadlocked and grinning with refreshing enthusiasm. Bridgewater’s obvious bond with them all took on a motherly/mentor-ish air as she looked on with pride at her young brood’s brilliance – her own vocals much better suited to the intimacy of a club rather than a concert hall – but perhaps it was just her band providing new levels of inspiration. (MF)   

The protective power of Gris Gris came to town on Saturday night when New Orlean’s very own hoodoo man Dr John brought his ‘Spirit of Satch’ show to the Barbican and proceeded to give fellow home-boy, Louis Armstrong’s timeless repertoire his own highly individual stamp, not to mention a hefty injection of second line funk. With a super-tight band led by trombonist and arranger Sarah Morrow, and featuring a Brit-jazz horn section boasting trumpeter Reuben Fowler, saxophonist Patrick Clahar, Tony Kofi on baritone sax and Byron Wallen on lead trumpet, Mac (Dr John) Rebennack sashayed on, walking-stick style, to a hero’s welcome as he slipped behind the skull-adorned piano and pushed ‘What A Wonderful World’ through the Crescent City juicer.

What was once a ballad transformed into a joyous fat groove and the well-worn lyric dripped with a lip-smacking new tang courtesy of Rebennack’s utterly unmistakable voice. And this is exactly what elevated the show above a mere tribute concert as each of Armstrong’s tunes, including ‘I’ve Got The World On A String’, ‘That’s My Home’, and ‘Tight Like This’ were twisted into irresistible new shapes – some with an impassioned Carlene Anderson on guest vocals – that sounded as though they’d been in Mac and the band’s book for years. “He came to me in this dream and said, ‘Do my stuff – your way’,” said Rebbenack, and with the band in full-funking flow and the audience rocking on its feet, who would want it any other way? (JN)

Yet as the 22nd EFG London Jazz Festival springs into life, one long-running partnership draws to a close. Over the past two decades Norwegian alto/soprano sax master Jan Garbarek has forged a fruitful (artistically and commercially) relationship with leading early music vocal quartet the Hilliard Ensemble. For their penultimate concert together on Friday night at Temple Church, London, the collaborators treated the audience to a selection of songs and chants from the 11th to the 21st Century, taking in everything and everyone from Part to traditional Scottish song. Gabarek sometimes echoed and commented upon the serene harmonies of the Hilliards; sometimes he blew with a celestial passion, forcing notes to clatter and soar around the church.

The venue itself, slap bang in the heart of the Inns of Court, is both breathtakingly beautiful and entirely appropriate; its vaulted ceilings make the perfect echo chamber for this at once fiery and crystalline, meditative music. If the music was serene and still, the vocal performers were not, moving about the church and adding an extra dimension to the sound – this was music that seems to come from everywhere, and nowhere, at once. It’s a pity that such a successful merging of talents has to end, but it has ended on the highest of notes. (KW)

– Mike Flynn, Jon Newey and Kevin Whitlock

– Photos by Tim Dickeson


The EFG London Jazz festival continues until Sunday 23 November for more info go to www.efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk

Click here to listen again to the launch night at Ronnie Scott's on the iPayer – available until 14 December

 

The EFG London Jazz Festival unleashes 10 barnstorming days of jazz in all its guises across the capital from 14-23 November, with the complete concert hall, club and freestage programme listed below. Highlights include tonight’s opening concert Jazz Voice at the Barbican has now become the well-established gala event opener and this year will feature a stellar line-up of singers, including Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Elling, Emma Smith, Georgie Fame, Jacob Banks and Vula Malinga, accompanied by a 40-piece orchestra conducted and arranged by Guy Barker. Another unmissable night will be the all-star ‘Celebrating 75 Years of Blue Note’ concert at the Royal Festival Hall on Saturday 22 November that features highly-rated US trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire (pictured below), pianists Robert Glasper and Jason Moran, while Different Every Time – an evening with Robert Wyatt on Sunday 23 November at Queen Elizabeth Hall will be a fascinating mix of chat and music.

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The myriad club and free stage programme takes the festival across the length and breadth of the metropolis, totalling a whopping 350 events at 68 venues, ranging from Stanley Clarke, Roy Hargrove and the Steve Swallow/Carla Bley Quintet at Ronnie Scott’s and The Bad Plus at Village Underground to Led Bib at the Vortex, Peter Brötzmann at Café Oto, a Stan Tracey Tribute at the 606, the Headhunters’ bass meister Paul Jackson at The Hideaway, and Balkan influenced newcomers Paprika, who play the Horniman Museum in south east London’s Forest Hill.

This year the festival, now in its 22nd year and is sponsored by Jazzwise, also welcomes new venues to the festival for the first time, including Ace Hotel, Shoreditch; Handel House, W1; Italian Cultural Institute, SW1; JW3, NW3; Long White Cloud, E2; Temple Church, EC4; and Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe, SE1.

Concert hall, club and freestage highlights are:

Friday 14 November: Jazz Voice (Barbican 7.30pm); Branford Marsalis (Queen Elizabeth Hall, 7.30pm and 10pm); Angélique Kidjo (Royal Festival Hall, 7.30pm); John Surman and Trans4mation Strings (Kings Place: Hall 1, 7.30pm); The Jazz Repertory Company presents Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller at Carnegie Hall 1939 (Cadogan Hall, 7.30pm); John Butcher and Mark Sanders: Tarab Cuts (Purcell Room, 7.45pm); Alexander Hawkins and Marcin Masecki (Purcell Room, 10pm). Euan Burton (Royal Albert Hall/Verdi Café, 12pm, Free); Peter Edwards (Queen Elizabeth Hall Front Room, 5.30 & 9pm, Free); Stanley Clarke (Ronnie Scott’s, 6.30pm); Wildbirds & Peacedrums (Village Underground, 8pm); Renato D’Aiello and Andy Davies (Spice of Life, 8pm); Tom Millar (Green Note, 8.30pm); Peter Brötzmann, Jason Adasiewicz and Steve Noble (Café OTO, 8.45pm); Anita Wardell (Charlie Wright’s, 9pm); Paul Jackson Trio (Hideaway, 9pm); Way Out West (Polish Jazz Café POSK, 9pm); Imaani and Wayne Hernandez (606, 9.30pm); Jazz on 3 Launch (Ronnie Scott’s, 10.30pm, Free by invite).

Saturday 15 November: Dedication Orchestra (QEH, 2pm); Supersonics (Purcell Room, 2pm); Dr John – a tribute to Louis Armstrong featuring Carleen Anderson plus Brendan Reilly (Barbican, 7.30pm); Abdullah Ibrahim – Ekaya plus New Trio (RFH, 7.30pm); Dee Dee Bridgewater plus Laura MacDonald and David Berkman (QEH, 7.30pm); John Surman and the Bergen Big band (Kings Place: Hall 1, 7.30pm); The Hot Sardines (Purcell Room, 7.45pm and 10pm); Jef Neve plus Rusconi (Kings Place: Hall 2, 8pm). South Africa 20 years on and the legacy of the Blue Notes (QEH Front Room, 12.45 & 3.30pm, Free); Mezzotono (Pizza Express, 1pm); Trans-Europa One (Barbican Free Stage, 2pm, Free); Jazz Line-Up (RFH, Clore Ballroom, 2pm, Free); Way in to the Way Out: Arun Ghosh and Zoe Rahman (QEH Front Room, 4.30pm, Free, Part 2 Sun 16); F-IRE Collective (JW3, 8pm); Somi (Rich Mix, 8pm); Strobes + Shiver (Servant Jazz Quarters, 8pm); Matt Roberts Biggish Band (Spice of Life, 8pm); Sarah Jane Morris (Hippodrome, 8pm); Hyperactive Kid + Tricko Tareco + Starlight (Vortex, 8.30pm); Peter Brötzmann, Jason Adasiewicz, Steve Noble (Café OTO, 8.45pm); Da Lata + DJ Patrick Forge (Hideaway, 9pm); Saxophone Summit (606, 9.30pm).

Sunday 16 November: Marilyn Mazur (Purcell Room, 2pm); Bill Frisell – Guitar in the Space Age plus Sam Amidon (Barbican, 7.30pm); Vinicio Capossela plus Piers Faccini and Vincent Segal (RFH, 7.30pm); Henri Texier plus Tori Freestone Trio (Purcell Room, 7.45pm); Chassol (QEH, 8pm). Next Generation Takes Over (RFH Clore Ballroom, 11.30am, Free); London Vocal Project (606, 1.30pm); Jazz Record Requests (Barbican Free Stage, 2pm, Free); Haze Indigo with Jessica Hynes (Handel House, 2pm); London Jazz Orchestra (Vortex, 4pm); Omar Puente (artsdepot, 4pm); Kevin MacKenzie and Steve Hamilton (Barbican Free Stage, 4pm, Free); Nathaniel Facey (Barbican Free Stage, 5.30pm, Free); Barb Jungr (St James Theatre, 7pm); Gareth Lockrane’s Grooveyard Unplugged (Forge, 7pm); Sam Leak Big Band (Spice of Life, 8pm); Simon Purcell (Pizza Express, 8pm); Mopomoso (Vortex, 8.30pm); China Moses (606, 8.30pm); Budapest Café Orchestra (Hideaway, 8.30pm); Jeff Williams (Green Note, 8.30pm); Chloe Charles (RAH /Elgar Room, 9.45pm).

Monday 17 November: Randy Weston and Billy Harper plus JD Allen (QEH, 7.30pm); Marilyn Mazur – Spirit Cave (Purcell Room, 7.45pm). EFG LJF Sessions (Ray’s Jazz at Foyles, Soho, 6pm, Free, Nightly to Fri 21); Trinity Laban Contemporary Jazz Ensemble (QEH Front Room, 6pm, Free); Steve Swallow/Carla Bley Quintet (Ronnie Scott’s, 7.15pm); Chris Dowding and Sarah Woolfenden (Vortex, 7.15pm); Flamenco Jazz: Chano Dominguez and Niño Josele (Shakespeare’s Globe/Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, 7.30pm); Pete Wareham & Kit Downes (606, 8pm); Noemi Nuti (Forge, 8pm); Tom Green & Tom White (Spice of Life, 8pm); The Bad Plus (Village Underground, 8pm); Moonlight Saving Time (Pizza Express, 8.30pm); Tolis Zavaliaris (Charlie Wright’s, 9pm); Giovanni Di Domenico and Tatsuhisa Yamamoto (Cafe OTO, 8.45pm); Cyrille Aimée (RAH / Elgar Room, 9.45pm).

Tuesday 18 November: Snarky Puppy (The Roundhouse); Mike Fletcher Trio (Milton Court Concert Hall, Barbican, 7.30pm); Trish Clowes and Guy Barker with the BBC Concert Orchestra (QEH, 7.30pm); Richard Pite presents The Newport Jazz Festival: The 1950s (Cadogan Hall, 7.30pm); Arifa (Purcell Room, 7.45pm). Andre Canniere (Pizza Express, 1pm, Free); Patchwork Project (QEH Front Room, 6pm, Free); Mike Fletcher (Guildhall School / Milton Court, 7.30pm); Sue Richardson (Crazy Coqs, 8pm, Nightly to Sat 22); Tori Freestone & Metamorphic (Servant Jazz Quarters, 8.30pm); Pascuala Ilabaca and Fauna (Rich Mix, 8pm); The Weave (Spice of Life, 8pm); Emilia Mårtensson (606, 8.30pm); Rick Simpson’s Klammer & Alex Munk (Green Note, 8.30pm); Lafayette Gilchrist, Paul Dunmall and Mark Sanders (Vortex, 8.30pm); Ripsaw Catfish (Long White Cloud, 8.30pm); Buck Clayton Legacy Band (Pizza Express, 8.30pm); Happenstance (Arch1, 8.30pm); Pat Thomas and Tatsuhisa Yamamoto + Giovanni Di Domenico (Café OTO, 8.45pm).

Wednesday 19 November: Guildhall Jazz Band (Milton Court Concert Hall, 7.30pm); Ibrahim Maalouf – Illusions (QEH, 7.30pm); Jane Monheit (Cadogan Hall, 7.30pm); NYJO plus BuJazzO Freedom and Friendship – A Century Of Jazz (Purcell Room, 7.45pm). Neal Richardson (Pizza Express, 1pm, Free); Harvey Mason (Ronnie Scott’s, 7.15pm); The Soapbox Series (Vortex, 7.15pm); Guildhall Jazz Band (Guildhall School / Milton Court, 7.30pm); Steve Lodder (Forge, 8pm); Vocal Jazz Summit (Spice of Life, 8pm); Small Ensembles (Bull’s Head, 8.30pm); Kris Bowers + Peter Edwards (XOYO, 8pm); Amina Figarova (606, 8.30pm); Emile Parisien & Alexander Hawkins (Vortex, 8.30pm); Jesse Bannister and Zoe Rahman (Pizza Express, 8.30pm); Black Top (Café OTO, 8.45pm, & Thu 20 ); Brendan Reilly (Ace Hotel Shoreditch, 9pm); Nicole Perez (Charlie Wright’s, 9pm); Alice Zawadzki (RAH / Elgar Room, 9.45pm).

Thursday 20 November: Tomasz Stańko New York Quartet plus Stefano Bollani and Hamilton de Holanda (Barbican, 7.30pm); John McLaughlin (RFH, 7.30pm); 100 years of British Song: Ian Shaw with special guests (QEH, 7.30pm); Movers and Shakers: The art of the British jazz group (Purcell Room, 7.45pm); Frazey Ford (Cadogan Hall, 7.30pm); Chucho Valdés (Kings Place: Hall 1, 7.30pm); Dan Tepfer – Goldberg Variations/ Variations (Wigmore Hall, 7.30pm). Plaistow (Pizza Express, 1pm, Free); L’Hijâz’Car (Barbican Free Stage, 6pm, Free); Nérija (QEH Front Room, 6pm, Free); Oren Marshall (Handel House, 6.30pm); Harvey Mason (Ronnie Scott’s, 7.15pm); Brendan Reilly (artsdepot, 7.45pm); Jay Phelps (Hippodrome, 8pm); Inner Spaces (Spice of Life, 8pm); Tim Garland (Club Inégales, 8pm); Soweto Kinch (606, 8.30pm); Quadraceratops & Entropi (Long White Cloud, 8.30pm); Tommaso Starace (Lauderdale House, 8.30pm); Evan Parker (Vortex, 8.30pm); Olivia Trummer (Pizza Express, 8.30pm); Emily Saunders (229 The Venue, 8.30pm); The Dixie Ticklers (The Golden Hinde, 8.30pm); In Sound Out (Servant Jazz Quarters, 8.30pm); Out Of The Loop (Charlie Wright’s, 9pm); Tony Allen (Village Underground, 9pm); Aaron Goldberg (Pizza Express, 11.45pm, Free); Finn Peters Curates (Vortex, 12.30am).

Friday 21 November: Henry Cow, Music For Films, News From Babel and Oh Moscow play the music of Lindsay Cooper (Barbican, 7.30pm); Marcus Miller plus Tony Remy (RFH, 7.30pm); Kenny Barron & Dave Holland plus Jeremy Monteiro (QEH, 7.30pm); Coleridge Goode: A Celebration (Purcell Room, 7.45pm); Leszek Możdżer (Cadogan Hall, 7.30pm); Chucho Valdés (Kings Place: Hall 1, 7:30pm). Girls In Airports (Pizza Express Jazz Club, 1pm, Free); Ezra Collective (QEH Front Room, 5.30pm, Free); Estafest (Barbican Free Stage, 6pm, Free); Laura Zakian (National Portrait Gallery, 6.30pm, Free); Natalie Williams (Pizza Express, 7.30 & 10.30pm); Sean Noonan + Tomasso Starace (The Crypt, 8pm); Zara McFarlane (Rich Mix, 8pm); Hedvig Mollestad (Club Inégales, 8pm); Chaos Orchestra (Spice of Life, 8pm); Partisans (Vortex, 8.30pm); Roy Hargrove (Ronnie Scott’s, 7.15 & 11.15pm); Norma Winstone + Emily Remembered (St. Mary’s Old Church, 8.30pm); Samara (606, 9.30pm); Finn Peters Curates (Vortex, 12.30am).

Saturday 22 November: Nikki Iles (pictured above – Purcell Room, 2pm); Lau plus Bugge Wesseltoft, Henrik Schwarz, Dan Berglund (Barbican, 7.30pm); Celebrating 75 Years of Blue Note: Jason Moran, Robert Glasper & guests (RFH, 7.30pm); John Stevens – A Celebration (QEH, 7.30pm); Regina Carter plus Yazz Ahmed (Purcell Room, 7.45pm); Charnett Moffett/Jean Toussaint (Kings Place: Hall 1, 3pm), Engines Orchestra and Phil Meadows Group (Hall 2, 3pm) John Escreet/James Mainwaring (Hall 2, 7.30pm) Chucho Valdés (Hall 1, 7.30pm); Johanna Graham (Pizza Express, 1pm); Search & Reflect: with Maggie Nicols (Southbank Centre / Blue Room, 10.30am); John Stevens Remembered (QEH Front Room, 2pm, Free); Clare Teal (Pizza Express, 7.30 & 10.30pm); Gwilym Simcock and John Etheridge (St John’s Downshire Hill, 7.30pm); Cactus Truck (Club Inégales, 8pm); Wild Card (Spice of Life, 8pm); Liane Carroll (St James Theatre, 8pm); Led Bib (Vortex, 8.30pm); Michal Urbaniak (POSK, 8.30pm); Roy Hargrove (Ronnie Scott’s, 8.30 & 11.15pm); Smiling Organizm (Charlie Wright’s, 9pm); Juliet Roberts and Vula Malinga (Hideaway, 9pm); Tribute to Stan Tracey (606, 9.30pm).

Sunday 23 November: Robert Mitchell – Invocation (QEH, 2pm); Charles Lloyd Quartet plus Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas (Barbican, 7.30pm); Kassé Mady Diabaté (Purcell Room, 7.45pm); Different Every Time – an evening with Robert Wyatt (QEH, 7.30pm). Gareth Lockrane Big Band (Spice of Life, 1.30pm); Nick Costley-White (Forge, 2pm); Gabriel Garrick Big Band (Hideaway, 2pm); Jazz in the Round (RFH Foyer, 2pm, Free); Blow the Fuse presents… (QEH Front Room, 2pm, Free); Yazz Ahmed (Vortex, 3.30pm); Arun Ghosh Sonic Boom (Rich Mix, 7.30pm); Will Butterworth (Dysart, 7.30pm); EyeShuTight (Forge, 7.30pm); Kneebody (Ronnie Scott’s, 8pm); Clare Teal (Pizza Express, 8pm); Loop Collective (Vortex, 8.30pm); Lillian Boutté (606, 8.30pm); Deep Whole Trio + Colin Webster and Mark Holub (Cafe OTO, 8.45pm); Juliet Roberts and Vula Malinga (Hideaway, 9pm); Smiling Organizm – Upside Down (Charlie Wright’s, 9pm); Andrew Woolf (The Salisbury, 9pm).

For all ticket information go to www.efglondonjazzfestival.com

Having arrived in 2013 with glorious weather, a strong mix of jazz, funk and soul and garnering much critical praise, and a second year attendance in 2014 with over 20,000 people across the weekend, the Love Supreme Jazz Festival is gearing up for its third edition from 3-5 July 2015.

Set in the idyllic surroundings of Glynde Place in the Sussex Downs, just next to Glyndebourne Opera house, the festival’s first two editions successfully balanced accessible main stage headliners such as Courtney Pine, Gregory Porter, Jamie Cullum, Esperanza Spalding and Snarky Puppy alongside a vibrant mix of big name jazz artists appearing in the Ronnie Scott’s Big Top such as Dave Holland, John Scofield, Marcus Miller, Robert Glasper and Chritsian McBride. The Arena Stage also showcased the UK’s rising stars such as GoGo Penguin, Roller Trio, Laura Jurd, Melt Yourself Down, Polar Bear and Slowly Rolling Camera as well as bringing in burgeoning Brighton-based talent on the Bandstand Stage and up-and-coming jazz and blues names on the Matua Sessions Stage.

Festival director Ciro Romano commented on the upcoming third edition of the festival:
“We are absolutely delighted to confirm that the Love Supreme Festival will return for its third year. We’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received and by how popular the event has become in such a short space of time. Next year’s festival will undoubtedly be the biggest and best yet and we have some very exciting acts lined up."

Love Supreme 2015 takes place from 3-5 July and artists appearing will be announced shortly. Early bird tickets are available for a limited time from 1pm Thursday 13 November. Details of all ticket prices can be found at www.lovesupremefestival.com


– Mike Flynn

Saxophonist and composer Phil Meadows (above right) is set to launch his ambitious Engines Orchestra project’s debut album, Lifecycles, at the EFG London Jazz Festival on Saturday 22 November at 3pm, Hall Two, Kings Place. The project brings together 20 musicians from both jazz and classical worlds with Meadows’ core Quintet of rising stars including trumpeter Laura Jurd, pianist Elliot Galvin, bassist Conor Chaplin and drummer Simon Roth, all combining on expansive, richly textured original music. Notable guest musicians in the ensemble include dazzling violin and vocalist Alice Zawadzki (above centre) who makes a key link between the larger group and the quintet and contributes soaring jazz-folk vocals to the heady blend of sounds, while harpist Tori Hansley adds a sonic shimmer to the surging strings and brass.

This is Meadows’ second album, following his well-received June 2013 debut, Engines Of Creation, which featured his core quintet. He subsequently went on to win the prestigious Peter Whittingham Award, and also picked up the Jazz Newcomer Of The Year at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards in May this year. Backed by Arts Council England and Help Musicians UK the Engines Orchestra plans to expand into an umbrella organisation that works with other artists on large-scale collaborations, continues to grow its educational outreach and offers performance advice for aspiring musicians through its record label.

With Lifecycles set for release on 24 November on the Engines Imprint label, Jazzwise is pleased to be able to exclusively offer listeners a chance to hear
the track 'Remembrance', see below, which is “a homage to those that are taken from us too soon”, and features Tori Handsley on harp, Elliott Galvin on piano and Alice Zawadzski on vocals.

– Mike Flynn

For more info on the album launch go to www.kingsplace.co.uk

Marquis Hill ascended to the top at the 27th annual Thelonious Monk International Trumpet Competition on 9 November at Hollywood’s glamorous Dolby Theatre. The 27-year-old, Chicago-native won a $25,000 music scholarship and a recording contract with Concord Records.

Accompanied by the competition trio – drummer Carl Allen, bassist Rodney Whittaker and pianist Reginald Thomas – Hill showcased his mellifluous tone and melodic, assured approach to improvisations on two classic ballads – Frank Loesser’s ‘If I Were a Bell’ and Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke’s ‘Polka Dots and Moonbeams’. Hill thoroughly impressed the panel of judges, which consisted of Randy Brecker, Quincy Jones, Roy Hargrove, Arturo Sandoval, Jimmy Owens and Ambrose Akinmusire.

On the former, Hill animated the melody with sleek passages that developed knottier as the song progressed. It became a fine vehicle for his fluid, seemingly effortless virtuosity as well as his keen interactive skills. But it was his transfixing reading of ‘Polka Dots and Moonbeams’ that really sealed the deal. He zeroed in on the sensual contours of the melody by articulated it a captivating languid manner that allowed listeners to luxuriate in the sound of his horn, especially on his cadenza toward the end.

Prior to the Monk Competition, Hill was a winner at the 2013 Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition and the 2012 International Trumpet Guild Jazz Improvisation Competition. He gained a lot of bandstand experience from playing with Windy City figures such as trumpeter Tito Carrillo, saxophonist Fred Anderson and pianist Willie Pickens. Also, Hill has a noteworthy discography consisting of four discs. Including the recently released, Modern Flows EP Vol 1, which meshes modern jazz with hip-hop, R&B and spoken word. Nevertheless, it’s ballads that are closet to his heart. “From a very young age, I was attracted to ballads,” Hill said after the event. “So I knew that I wanted to play a beautiful ballad during the finals and semifinals. I think it’s extremely important to be able to communicate over a ballad.”

Brooklyn’s Adam O’Farrill, the 20-year-old son of pianist, bandleader Arturo O’Farill and grandson of the legendary latin jazz legend Chico O’Farrill, also shined brightly. During the semifinals at University of California Los Angeles’ Schoenberg Music Hall, he gave one of the most suspenseful performances from the 13 semifinalists. On Billy Strayhorn’s ‘U.M.M.G’ and Thelonious Monk’s ‘Ask Me Now’ O’Farrill honed a buttery tone and fashioned elliptical improvisations that often arrived way behind the beat and unraveled in unexpected twists that revealed capricious displays of tension and release. He capped off his semifinal performance with a thrilling rendering of Charles Mingus’ skulking, ‘Pithecanthropus Erectus’.

O’Farrill’s maturity beyond his years and improvisational inventiveness made him an undisputed candidate for the finals. His conceptual approach to melody and improvisations got the best of him though during the finals as he fumbled through an inchoate cadenza at the beginning. He launched into a comely original ballad but still didn’t seem to fully recover on Monk’s “Criss-Cross.” He took home the third prize of a $10,000 music scholarship.

Billy Buss, 26-year-old alumni of the Berklee College of Music and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance from Berkley, Calif., won the second prize of $15,000 scholarship, by exciting the crowd during the finals on a frisky take of Clifford Brown’s ‘Brownie Speaks’. Of the three finalists, he showcased the most crackling of virtuosity and the brightest of tones. When he improvised, fusillade of notes burst with the marksmanship precision. He followed up the bebop standard with an exploratory original, ‘The Quotablues’, that begin with an abstract cadenza, marked by smears and zigzagging phrases, before seguing into an amorous balladry.

Before the announcement of the winner the Monk Institute threw a star-studded gala in honor of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who in 1993 hosted a major jazz concert at the White House. In addition to a litany of jazz notables such as Wayne Shorter, Kenny Burrell, Jimmy Heath, Stefon Harris, Joshua Redman and Kris Bowers, the list of Hollywood celebrities at the gala included actors Goldie Hawn, Don Cheadle and Kevin Spacey, who crooned a swaggering rendition of Bart Howard’s ‘Fly Me to the Moon’. Dee Dee Bridgewater and Dianne Reeves delivered two respective noteworthy performance of Gershwin’s ‘Lady Be Good’ and ‘Love Is Here to Stay’. Queen Latifah turned is a delightful reading of Harry Rosenthal’s “Georgia Rose” as did Chaka Khan on Gershwin’s ‘I Love You Porgy’.

Jazz gave way to the blues during the second portion of the gala thanks to a greasy rendition of the Crusaders’ 1972 honky-tonk classic ‘Put It Where You Want It’, featuring rocker John Mayer admirably channeling Larry Carlton. Mayer held his own too while accompanying blues legend Taj Mahal on a shimmying take on Robert Johnson’s ‘Dust My Broom’.

The performance that got everyone out of their seats though, was a sanguine take on Pharrell Williams’ contagious worldwide hit, ‘Happy’ on which he shared the stage with bassist Ben Williams, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and pianist/keyboard wizard Herbie Hancock, who deftly invigorated the anodyne pop gem with acoustic and electric piano asides that alternated between soul-jazz boogaloo and impressionistic modern jazz.

– John Murph

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Ayanna Witter-Johnson and Binker & Moses head to Harrogate

Ayanna Witter-Johnson and Binker & M…

The Harrogate International Festival, which has been running for over...

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Voting Now Open for 2018 Parliamentary Jazz Awards

Voting Now Open for 2018 Parliamentary J…

Voting is now open for the 2018 Parliamentary Jazz Awards...

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Lost John Coltrane Quartet Album surfaces on Impulse!

Lost John Coltrane Quartet Album surface…

A previously unreleased session by the classic John Coltrane Quartet...

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Etienne Charles Triumphant At The Tabernacle With Timely Blend Of Defiance And Celebration

Etienne Charles Triumphant At The Tabern…

  This venue has deep historical resonance for black music in...

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Jean Toussaint All-Star 6Tet Shine Bright At Ronnie Scott's

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  'All-star' is a term mostly out of fashion these days...

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Horn Doyenne Holsen Hones Minimalist Drones For Hubro Album Launch

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The Norwegian brass-band tradition, which first evolved in that country...

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Vandermark and Nilssen-Love Blow Down Brighton's Green Door

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  The streets of Brighton have been overflowing with music fans...

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Tully Takes The Prize To Ronnie's

Tully Takes The Prize To Ronnie's

  What better way to celebrate the conferring of an honour...

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Rebirth Of The Cool: Shabaka Hutchings, Thundercat and Nubya Garcia lead a jazz takeover at Field Day

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  After years of going to jazz gigs and being the...

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Anthony Braxton's ZIM Sextet go exploring at Cafe OTO

Anthony Braxton's ZIM Sextet go explorin…

  With the death of Cecil Taylor a few weeks ago...

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New British Jazz Generation Blasts Bath With Spiritual Baptism

New British Jazz Generation Blasts Bath …

Bath Festival applied radical surgery to their roster of festivals in...

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PYJAEN Prosper At Peckham's Ghost Notes

PYJAEN Prosper At Peckham's Ghost Notes

Catching bands at the beginning of their journeys is so often...

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Sons of Kemet, Ashley Henry and Yussef Dayes groove at the Great Escape

Sons of Kemet, Ashley Henry and Yussef D…

Since its beginnings in 2006, Brighton's festival of new music...

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Zara McFarlane and Jazzmeia Horn among highlights at St Lucia Jazz Fest

Zara McFarlane and Jazzmeia Horn among h…

In recent times this event has had a tenuous relationship...

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Rainforest Reveries: Crawford and Simcock In Arboreal Praise For Powys As Birdsongs Take Flight At Hampstead Arts Fest

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Released last month on Basho Records, Birdsong/Cân yr Adar fuses...

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Claire Martin, The Printmakers and Jamie Cullum line-up for 606 Club 30 years at Lots Road Festival

Claire Martin, The Printmakers and Jamie…

Chelsea's salubrious jazz den, the 606 Club, is to mark...

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Collective X line-up for Love & Protest at Stratford Circus

Collective X line-up for Love & Prot…

Genre-defying London-based group Collective X, led by singer Alya Al...

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Love Supreme summit at London's Roundhouse

Love Supreme summit at London's Roundhou…

A blazing afternoon sun, beer-drinking crowds, and smooth electronic beats...

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The Lage Lund Trio, Julia Hülsmann and Christopher Dell inspire at Jazzfest Bonn

The Lage Lund Trio, Julia Hülsmann and C…

During its unlikely spell as the post-war capital of West...

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Stanley Clarke, Dave Douglas and Avishai Cohen heat up EFG London Jazz Festival

Stanley Clarke, Dave Douglas and Avishai…

The line-up for this year's EFG London Jazz Festival, which...

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Breakin' Convention raise roof with jazz-indebted dance riot at Sadler's Wells

Breakin' Convention raise roof with jazz…

  Founded in 2004 by 'choreopoet' Jonzi D and still curated...

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Bärtsch's Mobile Go Minimal Amid Homegrown Diamonds At Estonian Summit

Bärtsch's Mobile Go Minimal Amid Homegro…

  Every music festival has its logistical problems – from gremlins...

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Courtney, Kamasi, Frisell and Sheppard thrill the flock as VEIN hits rich seam at Cheltenham

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It's a small town, Cheltenham, and the jazz festival is...

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WorldService Project's propulsive politics mix punk and Python for satirical japes at Jazz In The Round

WorldService Project's propulsive politi…

"Five disillusioned anti-Brexit punk soldiers...", is how Dave Morecroft, commander-in-chief...

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EST Symphony and Akinmusire energise and engage at Espoo's April Jazz

EST Symphony and Akinmusire energise and…

It's 10 years since Esbjörn Svensson's death on 14 June...

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Ray Blue Rings True With Pan-Atlantic Quartet At Pizza

Ray Blue Rings True With Pan-Atlantic Qu…

  What better way to celebrate International Jazz Day than with...

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Tom Ibarra, Stoney Lane Records store and Family shows complete Cheltenham Jazz Fest line-up

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The doors are almost open for this year's edition of...

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Esperanza and Nubya energises while Dame Cleo mesmerises at Jazz FM Awards

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  Last year's Jazz FM awards was a memorable occasion, with...

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Pat Metheny, Ezra Collective, Esperanza and Nubya Garcia among winners at fifth Jazz FM Awards

Pat Metheny, Ezra Collective, Esperanza …

The winners of this year's Jazz FM Awards were announced...

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OFFBEAT Jazz and Cinema Fest goes French

OFFBEAT Jazz and Cinema Fest goes French

A new weekend-long jazz on film event, the OFFBEAT Jazz...

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Avishai Cohen Quartet deliver testaments to truth and beauty at Ronnie's

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The first of two sold-out gigs by the Avishai Cohen...

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Black Spirituals Let Axe Fall For Swansong

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Admirers of the scorched earth strategies of Last Exit, Fushitsusha...

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