Brown and Flanagan mind their language with buoyant bout of Hastings beat-descendancy

 Pete-Brown-Simon-Thorpe-Kevin-Flanagan

That so many came out to The Stade on a hot and airless night was a tribute to Jazz Hastings and their programme planning, on this occasion presenting an evening of jazz and poetry which appealed to those who recall New Departures of the 1960s and indeed the work of Kenneths Patchen and Rexroth earlier. The John Donaldson Trio – Donaldson (piano), Simon Thorpe (bass) and Winston Clifford (drums) – was fronted first by saxophonist Kevin Flanagan. The purely instrumental numbers, with the exclusion of a fine rendition of Joe Calderazzo's 'Midnight Voyage' which opened the set, seemed slightly lacklustre, as if they were fillers between the pieces with words. Coming from Lowell, Massachusetts, Kerouac's birthplace, is perhaps the reason for Flanagan's interest in the Beat Poets and he conjured up an impression of those with an array of evocative works, well constructed both verbally and musically, with his composition 'Riprap', inspired by the writing of Gary Snydor. The trio's work was sympathetic, with bubbling, mesmeric piano and suitably understated, laidback drumming during Flanagan's recitations, and when the horn joined them, some fine modal playing.

For the second half, Flanagan stood down and poet Pete Brown took frontstage. For those of a certain age, no introduction is necessary. For the uninitiated, a treat is in store by delving into his history. Pinning his colours to the mast from the start, he began with a paean to early jazz artists, notably Clarence Williams, in 'Dreaming the Hours Away'. Making a distinction between poems and lyrics, he read his 'Ballad for the Queen of Outer Space', which he wrote after seeing Zsa Zsa Gabor as an unlikely scientist in the film of that name. (Variety called it "a good-natured attempt to put some honest sex into science-fiction"!) It included many of the characteristics of his art, mixing surreal imagery with sensuality, continually stretching the boundaries of reality, but keeping a rhythmic drive which supports the words and often helps give then greater impact. 'Poem For Bill Evans' followed, with his hat tipped to Mingus' album East Coasting, which was accompanied by Donaldson's appropriate Evans-style piano. Then an excerpt from the darkly pessimistic 'Blues for the Hitchhiking Dead', from the New Departures era, poignantly relevant to current events. Gearbox Records have recently issued the live recording from 1962 with Brown, Michael Horovitz, Stan Tracey and Bobby Wellins, and Brown paid tribute to his friends with 'You And The Night And The Music', making a dedication to Wellins, Flanagan joining for this section.

Inevitably, he mentioned his collaboration with Jack Bruce, as he moved onto what he referred to as his "songs", starting with 'Theme From An Imaginary Western' and including 'The Ballad of Psycho and Delia', a macabre murder ballad from his time with Phil Ryan. These songs were performed with great feeling and intensity, and though his voice strained at times in the upper register, his words seem carved and honed for greatest effect. The performance closed with two songs closely associated with Cream, for which, as he pointed out, he had a good deal of gratitude, as they were possibly the reason why he was living in a house. 'White Room' worked just as well with piano lead rather than guitar, and 'Sunshine of your Love' met with rapturous applause, the strength of the lyrics a reminder of the rich poetic vein they came from.

Matthew Wright

Elling elegantly elliptical at Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Fest

Kuurtelling

This year's 40th anniversary Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival (EJBF) was a far cry from the inaugural Edinburgh jazz fest back in 1978, a one day, mostly un-ticketed event, which showcased largely UK traditional jazz bands. Shows took place in pubs and at the popular Edinburgh Astoria Ballroom, best known back then for its association with punk and new wave gigs.

It was appropriate that this anniversary year's ambitious 10-day long event looked back to these trad origins, with the likes of the exuberant New Orleans Swamp Donkeys Traditional Jass Band and Jerron 'Blind Boy' Paxton's cheeky blues lyrics and strings skills which wowed the audience. The irrepressible Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and Scotland's own horn-heavy Swampfrog both attracted a youthful audience with their exuberant latter-day take on the New Orleans sound.

Likewise, it was fitting that this year a number of Scottish jazz veterans appeared at EJBF. At the opening gala concert at The Assembly Hall, among a host of big names, the redoubtable Carol Kidd demonstrated that she remains UK's foremost balladeer, her passionate rendition of Billy Joel's 'And So It Goes' particularly impressing. Guitar maestro Martin Taylor gave a masterclass in lucid understatement, while his deep swinging duet with the multi-talented MC for the evening, Seonaid Aitken on violin, transported this reviewer back many decades to Taylor's early days when he toured with Stephane Grappelli. Ever-evolving Scottish saxman Tommy Smith meanwhile offered spacious and technically flawless dreamscapes.

Nevertheless, the main focus of the festival was squarely towards the future, with a somewhat safe but satisfying range of bands from across the globe, together with and a crop of Scottish rising stars. Though there were many highlights, especial mention should be made of Keyon Harrold's intense and almost belligerently socially aware set at the Speigeltent, while the aptly-named Cross Currents Trio offered a set of breathtaking beauty from Dave Holland's double-bass and Zakir Hussain's percussion, as Chris Potter's sax at times evoked shades of Bulgarian clarinet maestro Ivo Papasov. The Zoe Rahman Trio charmed with her lush, classically-informed lyricism, with clear nods to Rahman's dual Bengali/Irish heritage. Meanwhile, Steve Lehman's fluidity on alto-sax within The Vijay Iyer Sextet's east coast complexity and pugilism, was mesmerising. Even the Kurt Elling Quintet strayed far from its origins, baritone Elling even dipping his toe pleasingly close to Phil Minton territory. And for the late-night party-goers, the likes of Italian Rumba de Bodas, cosmopolitan supergroup Bokante, the Ghanaian K.O.G. and Zongo Brigade all gave ample satisfaction.

A swathe of homegrown bands similarly gave hope for the future. Versatile guitarist Graeme Stephen's trio left the packed audience almost sucker-punched from his concentrated, high-energy set at The Jazz Bar. Another Jazz Bar regular, spirited drummer Alyn Cosker and his band, with a more generous time slot, were happily able to dip extensively into Cosker's latest fusion release, KPF. At the late-night Teviot Row Festival Club, vibrant bands Fat-Suit and Werkha gave the audience something to dance about, while distinguished Scottish jazzers, pianist Brian Kellock and saxophonists Laura Macdonald, Martin Kershaw and Phil Bancroft, each delivered their customary first-rate sets. Meanwhile, pianist Fergus McCreadie, bassist Mark Hendry and 2018 Scottish Jazz Awards 'Rising Star' award-winner vocalist Lucca Manning, and their bands, all demonstrated an ability belying their tender years. All deserve close watch and lend confidence that Scottish jazz is in good hands over the next 40 years of the EJBF.

Fiona Mactaggart 
Photo by Sandy Blair 

Esther Swift fleet of folk at Manchester Jazz Fest

Esther-Swift-4-Manc-Wanderer

The 'MJF originals' are a lifeline to artistry, like most music festival commissions, and this year they handed the chance to Esther Swift (pictured far right) to entwine her folk, classical and jazz roots with a statement ensemble of strings, brass, piano, drums and four harps. A rare sight that immediately engaged. Throughout, the delicacy and sweetness associated with harps had an edge created by short repetitive refrains, the four in precise unison. Sometimes their physical scraping of the strings or clawing was a like a dance, the effect mesmerising, and the quality of vibration was, well, heavenly. Cannily, Esther, had piano, sax and trombone to bring earthly dimensions, though the latter was often played with supreme delicacy, as were the drums; there and not there, uniting the sound without dominating it.

The trio of violin, viola and cello added stretches of bowing and energy or heightened the emotion. This was Esther's skill, to imagine such a combination of instruments, allowing each to shine in its own style, then transitioning to a different viewpoint. The sax would walk a line talking to itself, or the trombone would have a deep and dirty blow, then the harps would sparkle alone, switching the mood. The changes were smooth like low, soft waves pulling in, then fading out. Esther's seven-movement work blossomed out of poetry by fellow Scot, Carol Ann Duffy, whose DNA seems to spiral together magical star-spray and concrete realness. Duffy's words from poems such as 'Art' sounded best when Esther speak-sings with a 'Björk-ian' clarity; her high-pitched vocals annunciated the sentiments of the 'Light Gatherer' perfectly. And she had a very warm standing ovation for her efforts.

I was part of a panel discussion afterwards when Esther spoke of her ensemble's unwavering support in this project, and the issues facing female composers. Chaired by Vanessa Reed of the PRS Foundation, the central topic was their Keychange initiative that asks festivals to programme an equal male/female split of band leaders by 2022. Manchester Jazz Festival has signed up and there were seemed plenty of chances to check female talent this year.

I know vocalist Elina Duni well, and was keen to hear her new duo with guitarist Rob Luft. Born in Albania and singing in public since she was about five years old, it's Duni's arrangement of songs that sets her apart, whether it's a traditional such as 'Vaj Si Kenka' or Serge Gainsbourg's 'Couleur Café'. She has a jazz sensibility infused in her delivery, sometimes she'll even use rhythmical scatting, but then she will hold a high porcelain-like note, that seems to stop time; a cry that feels ancient and completely relevant in the same moment. Luft's electric-guitar style and looping suits it well, shimmering and delicate, extending the sentiment of songs such as the Celtic 'The Water is Wide' and I particularly liked their version of 'Wayfaring Stranger', well known as a Johnny Cash track. Duni's intonation on the lyric: "I'm going there to see my Father" was a beautiful balance of heartache and assertion. Whatever the language, a Portuguese fado or Baltic folk, there is a deliciousness to Duni's singing of words and use of accents. There was much light in the performance, and in the setting of St Ann's Church, even in the sadness there was a sense of romance. As Elina explained, Baltic songs express joy and pain, side by side, and the mournful notes led into a rhythmic groove and warmth that she has established with Luft.

Luft also appeared with his band Big Bad Wolf on the festival square's stage. They take indie, pop rock and a touch of jazz, melting them in a tasty toastie that would be welcome at any festival. There is a vulnerability to their sound, especially when Owen Dawson sings or plays a melodic bar on his trombone, as on their new track 'Butterfly'. Luft and bassist Michael de Souza also deliver vocals with a gentle, uncertain tone but, like drummer Jay Davis, they all play with great ability and unity, creating a place for themselves that feels sort of fresh, and avoids horrible jazz clichés altogether.

On the same stage, Umbra from Dublin conveyed the rock influences that guitarist Chris Guilfoyle picked up journeying the west coast of America and Canada. Set in a more obvious jazz context, drummer Matt Jacobsen was able to address any style asked of him, while there was animated interplay between saxophonists Sam Comerford and Chris Engel. The latter, originally from Cape Town, stabbed out one solo with great verve and heat.

Debra Richards
– Photo by Manc Wanderer

The Viljandi Variations: Kevin Le Gendre finds a lot more than folk music at one of Estonia's premier festivals

 esttonia

Parimusmuusika, the sub-title of this joyous festival is translated from Estonian as 'folk music'. However, the wide range of artists on the bill shows how much genres blur. During four action-packed days in the bejewelled Baltic town of Viljandi, where as many as 25,000 visitors swell the population by some margin, there are dozens of groups who fit the standard profile of 'roots' ensembles. Accordions, fiddles, jew's harps and bagpipes are to be heard at regular intervals yet there are also irregular time signatures, challenging harmony and the daring improvisation that pertains to the jazz aesthetic. It is the Estonian artists who provide highlights in this respect, and the Tormis Quartet, featuring master guitarist Jaak Sooäär and vocalist Kadri Voorand, both familiar faces at the Jazzkaar festival in Tallinn, is simply majestic. Their interpretation of the works of Veljo Tormis, a renowned 20th century choral composer, generates enough warmth from a large audience to rival the heatwave currently sizzling through most of Europe. Compelling, unusually shaped melodies are given adequately expressive textures by Sooäär's wily battery of electronics, while second guitarist Paul Daniel brings understated, undulating rhythmic accompaniment to enhance the harmonizing of Voorand and fellow vocalist Liisi Koikson.

If Nordic folk songs have been a staple source material for many ECM artists then Tormis is an equally fertile kind of stimulus for fresh modernity grown from a deep tradition, which is further bolstered by the arrival of the Ja Ellerhein Girls Choir. This makes for a spectacle that is as touching as it is sonically intriguing, and the collisions of old and new are also heard in performances by Mari Kalkun and Tintura, the former combining voice, kannel (zither), vibraphone and percussion, and the latter voice, violin, double-bass and drum programming to bewitching effect, reflecting a grasp of the dynamics of hip hop, as well as folk music and improvisation.

Established 26 years ago, Viljandi has a pedigree among festivals that can be ascribed to the beauty of the setting, as well as the quality of the line-up. The bulk of the concerts take place in the ruins of an old castle, whose drained moat has created a sensationally picturesque valley that sweeps down to a long and winding road. The biggest of the outdoor stages offers a breathtaking panorama of a shimmering lake. While these surroundings are remarkable, the town of Viljandi itself has immense charm, as cobbled streets, wooden houses, and small yards offer a soothing calm that is hard to find in a sprawling metropolis such as London. In this centenary of Estonian independence a burgh like this is a good advert for a quality of life that flows into the generally celebratory ambience of the festival, which is very family friendly. Yet the sharp melancholy of some of the music also resonates with Estonia's tragic past under Russian rule. Siberia is credited as the source of some of Tintura's songs, and it was in one of its prison camps that August Maraama, Viljandi's boldly progressive major, ended his days after being arrested and deported by Soviet authorities in 1941.

Hence the sight of black, white and blue flags and civic pride that pervades most of the concerts makes a great deal of sense. Estonian Voices, the a cappella sextet led by the aforementioned Voorand, whose blend of jazz, folk and classical has attracted large audiences right across Europe captures that feeling as well as any other group. Arrangements that play artfully on the contrasting characters of the singers – the two sopranos Mirjam Dede and Maria Vali and tenor Mikk Dede all impress – are excellent and the harmonising is rich throughout. An orchestra, or rather orkestar, with a more raucous energy is Macedonia's Kadrievi, who elicit delirium and dancing in an audience that cannot resist the relentlessly swirling gypsy rhythms drawn from Eastern Europe and oriental sources. An octet with a mighty bottom-end provided by the bombardon (bass tuba), the group has the explosive character of a funky New Orleans marching band, and like its American counterpart, the standard of playing is high. As for Niger's Bombino, they play a storming desert blues not unlike Tinariwen, in which vocalist–guitarist Goumour Almoctar lays down rugged solos.

Energy levels are kept up in the closing gala concert by Viljandi's artistic director Ando Kiviberg, who invites a few dozen groups on stage to play bite-sized sets to remind the audience of what they have had the chance to enjoy over the sun-soaked weekend. Georgian vocal group Debi Gogochurebi steals the show with its rapturous polyphony, but it is Kiviberg's nifty shape-shifting – he sings one minute, plays pipes and double-bass the next – that is a potent encapsulation of traditions in transition.

Kevin Le Gendre

Trumpet-Man Martin Shaw Gets Linear And Limber At Imber

Martin Shaw-20.7

Promoter Carole Merritt has built a loyal following for jazz at Imber Court in Surrey, me included, and tends to pick a star player for her monthly events and put him or her in front of a good rhythm section and see what develops. This time it was trumpeter Martin Shaw in pole position, his band of brothers comprising pianist John Pearce, bassist Dave Green and drummer Matt Home. So no passengers there.

Shaw seems either to be submerged in the ranks of the BBC Big Band or to appear in the line-ups of other leaders. In other words, he's a jazz all-rounder and has the aptitude to step into any kind of musical situation and excel. Yet his solo outings are rare and, on this evidence, to be cherished. Broadly of the Clifford Brown persuasion, one might say, he's not a grandstand player, more a linear improviser who enjoys seeing where the creative impulse takes him.

A nicely balanced programme emerged, its variety sufficient to place Shaw among our very best practitioners, either on trumpet or flugelhorn. Pianist Pearce was in commanding form, alert to every signal, his adroit touch making me think of Hank Jones, no notes wasted, each response or solo a quiet gem. Still with the tireless Dave Green alongside and Matt Home, another who is quick to follow and enhance a soloist's direction, there was the ideal bedrock for Shaw to prosper and he did.

Opening with a nifty 'Bernie's Tune', the trumpet tone nicely centred, Shaw followed with 'My Romance' as a flugel ballad, wringing out every embellishment possible, Green's solo similarly affecting. Then it was 'Secret Love' and 'Lover Man', before Shaw fell back from all this love-making and gave Pearce a trio run at 'Just in Time'. Tightly muted for 'What Is This Thing', Shaw then tackled 'All Blues' on flugel, the familiar bass motif presaging a distinctive move away from the Davis model. That said, he shoved the Harmon back in and gave 'Bye Bye Blackbird' his close attention, the highlight a duo joust with Green.

A personable communicator, Shaw clearly relished the occasion and so did we. Get him back soon, Carole!

Peter Vacher

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Michael Wollny Trio breeches the wall at Montpellier

Michael Wollny Trio breeches the wall at…

How lucky to be in Montpellier at the same time...

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Wooten wows Komedia despite brotherly detour

Wooten wows Komedia despite brotherly de…

A queue stretching down the street outside Brighton’s Komedia showed...

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Mathisen and Espen Berg Trio triumph at Trondheim

Mathisen and Espen Berg Trio triumph at …

  There are empty rows in the riverside Dokkhuset during native...

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Swiss Big Easy comes alive at Ascona Fest

Swiss Big Easy comes alive at Ascona Fes…

  Revisiting old haunts can be a let-down. Not so for...

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Transatlantic triumphs light up Ljublijana fest

Transatlantic triumphs light up Ljublija…

If the much maligned technocrats of the Brexit-bashed EU wanted...

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Ernest Ranglin and friends celebrate outstanding musical career at the Barbican

Ernest Ranglin and friends celebrate out…

Generations of musicians and music lovers from across the globe...

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Riepler rips at The Vortex

Riepler rips at The Vortex

“Thinking what I will use/to get the cool tone”, sang...

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Brecht's The Threepenny Opera swings to New Orleans at the National Theatre, London

Brecht's The Threepenny Opera swings to …

Show tune is a vague term. First and foremost, it...

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Randy Weston and Christian Scott get Morocco’s Gnawa Festival grooving

Randy Weston and Christian Scott get Mor…

Randy Weston (above) was there, folding his lanky 90-year-old frame...

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Krupa and Waglewski hit the Bluesroads to Krakow fest

Krupa and Waglewski hit the Bluesroads t…

So widespread is the phenomenon of the jazz festival throughout...

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Kenny Clayton’s swinging 80th birthday gig at Ronnie Scott’s

Kenny Clayton’s swinging 80th birthday g…

There are certain people who have fallen under the radar...

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Johnathan Kreisberg Quartet on a roll at The Spin

Johnathan Kreisberg Quartet on a roll at…

The synergy between ex-prog rock guitarist Johnathan Kreisberg’s quartet and...

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Jazz Rep Co splendidly concentrated at Cadogan Hall

Jazz Rep Co splendidly concentrated at C…

The Jazz Repertory Company presents ‘100 Years of Jazz…...

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Gwilym Simcock Trio pay joyful tribute to Jaco at Pizza Express Jazz Club

Gwilym Simcock Trio pay joyful tribute t…

Captivating, insightful, lyrical, Gwilym Simcock's 'Jaco Pastorius Project’, featuring the...

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John Etheridge, Si Hayden & Interplay salute International Jazz Day

John Etheridge, Si Hayden & Interpla…

It’s a well known fact that guitarists go to hear...

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Jazzkaar Festival reveals the richness of Estonian jazz

Jazzkaar Festival reveals the richness o…

With a population of 1.3 million Estonia is one of...

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Ant Law Trio executes dazzling Oxford edict

Ant Law Trio executes dazzling Oxford ed…

Guitarist Ant Law has made two very well received albums...

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Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom shakes some tail at the NT

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom shakes some tai…

With Motown The Musical at the Shaftesbury and Soul: The...

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Georgina Jackson, Claire Martin and Pete Long line up for Best of the Big Bands Part II

Georgina Jackson, Claire Martin and Pete…

The concert’s title conceals its inner purpose – put quite...

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Christian McBride and Edgar Meyer bring the bass to Brighton

Christian McBride and Edgar Meyer bring …

The double bass made a comparatively late arrival to solo...

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The Buck Clayton Legacy Band serve up superior swing at Phyllis Court Club, Henley

The Buck Clayton Legacy Band serve up su…

Buck Clayton’s legacy was a box. Packed, it turns out...

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Tim Garland Quartet dive in to folk and fusion at the Dome Pavilion, Brighton

Tim Garland Quartet dive in to folk and …

The relationship between celebrity and credibility is not always straightforward...

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Stirring strings meet stern jazz with Hans Koller Quartet with BCMG at CBSO Centre, Birmingham

Stirring strings meet stern jazz with Ha…

Pianist Hans Koller chooses his fellow musicians with care. Percy...

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Dakhla Brass go ape at Servant Jazz Quarters

Dakhla Brass go ape at Servant Jazz Quar…

“Upstate Dorset!”, volleying from an audience member towards the stage...

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Mike Hobart Quintet evidently soulful at The Vortex

Mike Hobart Quintet evidently soulful at…

Got a definition for soul? No, me neither. But if...

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Skelton-Skinner All-Stars Shine Across The Thames

Skelton-Skinner All-Stars Shine Across T…

  The imposing members-only Phyllis Court Club overlooks the Thames and...

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Tubby tributes top Southend’s NJA opening

Tubby tributes top Southend’s NJA openin…

Brainchild of trumpeter and bandleader Digby Fairweather, the new National...

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 Steve Fishwick Sextet reach righteous outcome at The Verdict

Steve Fishwick Sextet reach righteous o…

There’s a palpable buzz as Steve Fishwick’s Anglo-American crew take...

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Blicher Hemmer Gadd bring the Hammond boogie to Pizza Express Jazz Club

Blicher Hemmer Gadd bring the Hammond bo…

On the band's website, beside big ups from Gilles Peterson...

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Asaf Sirkis Trio and Tori Freestone take flight at The Verdict

Asaf Sirkis Trio and Tori Freestone take…

Music may be the healing force of the universe but...

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Riley Stone Lonergan/Dave Drake Band free-bopping in Brighton

Riley Stone Lonergan/Dave Drake Band fre…

For such a bijou venue, the Verdict has attracted it’s...

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To Be or Not to Bebop – Derek Nash & Alan Barnes keep the flame alight in Shakespeare land

To Be or Not to Bebop – Derek Nash &…

Alan Barnes appeared at Stratford Jazz Club (at No.1 Shakespeare...

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Jasper Høiby unveils Qualia at The Vortex

Jasper Høiby unveils Qualia at The Vorte…

  Bassist and bandleader Jasper Høiby wears a well-earned smile. It’s...

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Young jazz talents shine at Jazztopad Festival

Young jazz talents shine at Jazztopad Fe…

What defines the festive in festival is not hard to...

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Daymé Arocena showcases soulful talents at The Forge

Daymé Arocena showcases soulful talents …

At just 22 years of age, Cuban singer Daymé Arocena...

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Chris Mapp’s Gonimoblast and Arve Henriksen burst out of the sonic darkness at The Crossing

Chris Mapp’s Gonimoblast and Arve Henrik…

Chris Mapp was one of three ‘Fellows’ (the other two...

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Rising sax star Melissa Aldana gets cooking at Pizza Express Jazz Club

Rising sax star Melissa Aldana gets cook…

It isn’t unusual at events such as the London Jazz...

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Filomena Campus’ spellbinding Monk homage at Theatralia Jazz Fest

Filomena Campus’ spellbinding Monk homag…

Curated by the award winning jazz vocalist, lyricist, lecturer and...

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Richard Pite’s Jazz Repertory Company and Alex Garnett’s Bunch of Five & NYSQ swing London Jazz Fest out in style

Richard Pite’s Jazz Repertory Company an…

The EFG London Jazz Festival’s final day allowed the fleet...

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Kurt Elling, Get the Blessing and Ralph Towner ensure Pančevo punches above its weight

Kurt Elling, Get the Blessing and Ralph …

Hosted in the city’s Cultural Centre and featuring a line-up...

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 Cuban Mela fires up at Camden Forge

Cuban Mela fires up at Camden Forge

The Cuban Mela was inarguably the LJF’s most vibrant closing...

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Terri Lyne Carrington and Charenee Wade hit celebratory soulful groove down at Ronnie Scott’s

Terri Lyne Carrington and Charenee Wade …

If there is such a thing as the short straw...

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Liane Carroll Trio wraps up LJF in fine style at 606

Liane Carroll Trio wraps up LJF in fine …

  Consummate performer and every singer’s vocal idol, Liane Carroll, sidles...

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James Pearson and WordTheatre presents ‘And All That Jazz’

James Pearson and WordTheatre presents ‘…

WordTheatre, a company specialising in live readings of stories by...

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Sam Braysher, Nick Costley-White, The Dixie Ticklers with Johnny Mars set sail at Jazz Nursery

Sam Braysher, Nick Costley-White, The Di…

The Jazz Nursery, set aboard a magnificent replica of Sir...

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Simon Spillett plays up a storm for Foyles launch of Tubby Hayes – A Man in a Hurry

Simon Spillett plays up a storm for Foyl…

Last Thursday saw the launch of the Tubby Hayes documentary...

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Legends gather in somber tribute to Kenny Wheeler at Cadogan Hall

Legends gather in somber tribute to Kenn…

We were promised a smorgasbord of jazz royalty at this...

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Cécile McLorin Salvant draws on the past to captivate at Cadogan Hall

Cécile McLorin Salvant draws on the past…

After a lovely low-key opening set from Femi Temowo, featuring...

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Alto Sax Reigns Supreme At Belgrade Jazz Fest

Alto Sax Reigns Supreme At Belgrade Jazz…

The theme at this year’s Belgrade Jazz Festival was ‘The...

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Hiatus Kaiyote bring cutting edge future-soul to The Concorde

Hiatus Kaiyote bring cutting edge future…

There’s a crush of boho twentysomethings up against Brighton’s Concorde...

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Steve Smith grooves hard with Vital Information NYC at Ronnie Scott’s

Steve Smith grooves hard with Vital Info…

It was the early 1990s when this writer first discovered...

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Knoel Scott takes on tradition at the 100 Club

Knoel Scott takes on tradition at the 10…

If walls could talk then the 100 Club, squeezed between...

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Hypnotised by Hindi Zahra at London's Elgar Room

Hypnotised by Hindi Zahra at London's El…

Given the limitless ocean of music in which the world...

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Turning up the heat at the Tampere Jazz Happening

Turning up the heat at the Tampere Jazz …

Festival directors often have to unhitch hitches right in the...

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Elephant9 turn up the voltage at Electric Brixton

Elephant9 turn up the voltage at Electri…

While Elephant9’s recent studio sets might’ve inaugurated amassing embroideries of...

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Marcos Valle Makes Do At The Brooklyn Bowl

Marcos Valle Makes Do At The Brooklyn Bo…

When taking an evening to see a true legend of...

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Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express Reunite With Jim Mullen At The Jazz Cafe

Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express Reunite W…

It had been forty years since the legendary Jim Mullen...

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Sheryl Bailey gets playful and virtuosic at the Bull’s Head

Sheryl Bailey gets playful and virtuosic…

Sheryl Bailey, one of New York’s foremost guitarists and now...

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Salzburg swings to Jazz & The City

Salzburg swings to Jazz & The City

Austria’s place in the jazz firmament has been well established...

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Vula Viel Launch Good is Good to a rapturous Rich Mix

Vula Viel Launch Good is Good to a raptu…

Last time Jazzwise took an evening to see Bex Burch’s...

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Sheryl Bailey Quartet get Swinging at 606

Sheryl Bailey Quartet get Swinging at 60…

There is a significant coterie of jazz fans that come...

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Leroy Jones Quintet get Soho swinging in style

Leroy Jones Quintet get Soho swinging in…

Three nights in to his five-night stay at Pizza Express...

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Liane Carroll dazzles with vintage performance at Celebrate Voice Festival

Liane Carroll dazzles with vintage perfo…

Liane Carroll celebrated, life, jazz and the unrestrained joy of...

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Huw V Williams’ Hon storms The Vortex

Huw V Williams’ Hon storms The Vortex

On a rainy evening in Dalston, 21 October – ‘Back...

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Bill Frisell bewitches with Strings at Ronnie Scott’s

Bill Frisell bewitches with Strings at R…

It’s a great recipe: take a string quartet line-up, dispense...

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Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet digs deep at Ronnie Scott’s

Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet digs deep at …

For the first time in eleven years, leading US drummer...

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Joel Harrison Quartet get cooking at Pizza Express

Joel Harrison Quartet get cooking at Piz…

The advance billing might have suggested a Joel Harrison solo...

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Aaron Parks Trio goes Zen at Kings Place

Aaron Parks Trio goes Zen at Kings Place…

I’m writing this with one eye on an article about...

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Beat poetry meets backbeats with Barry Wallenstein and Mike Hobart’s Urban Jazz Collective at Vortex

Beat poetry meets backbeats with Barry W…

New York beat poet Barry Wallenstein joined Mike Hobart’s Urban...

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Brighton Alternative Jazz Festival blasts off with Birchall, Brand and more

Brighton Alternative Jazz Festival blast…

With its emphasis on adventurous programming and bids to redress...

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Dave Drake and Riley Stone-Lonergan offer an enthralling glimpse of the future

Dave Drake and Riley Stone-Lonergan offe…

 Anyone bold or foolhardy enough to essay a career in...

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Bobby Wellins brings bright-eyed energy to the Verdict

Bobby Wellins brings bright-eyed energy …

Bobby Wellins is unique; a near contemporary of Rollins, Shorter...

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Stan Sulzmann Quartet weaves wonders at The Vortex

Stan Sulzmann Quartet weaves wonders at …

Stan Sulzmann stepped in for an indisposed Bobby Wellins on Saturday...

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Phronesis, Tingvall and Marsalis power up at Palatia Jazz Festival

Phronesis, Tingvall and Marsalis power u…

The two evenings that we visited the Palatia Jazz Festival...

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Fletch’s Brew whip up an Electric Stew at the Vortex

Fletch’s Brew whip up an Electric Stew a…

As Fletch’s Brew steamed through two sets at the Vortex...

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Robert Glasper Trio digs deep at The Hub, Edinburgh

Robert Glasper Trio digs deep at The Hub…

As the audience waits for the Robert Glasper Trio to...

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Steve Fishwick Trio Out To Lunch at Cadogan Hall, London

Steve Fishwick Trio Out To Lunch at Cado…

I’m tempted to paraphrase the old musician’s joke about not...

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Mark Guiliana, Matt Brewer and John Escreet unlock jazz’s secrets in Siena

Mark Guiliana, Matt Brewer and John Escr…

Such is the quite breathtaking beauty of one of Italy’s...

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