Brilliant Corners: The East London venue making jazz sound better

Thomas Rees swings by Dalston’s Brilliant Corners for the second event in their innovative Played Twice series, a new live music night where atmosphere and sound quality are everything and jazz cliché is left at the door

Last week during the EFG London Jazz Festival – as Tomasz Stańko took the stage at the Barbican, Chucho Valdés played to a sell out crowd at Kings Place and John McLaughlin rocked the Royal Festival Hall – a bar on Kingsland High Road held a gig that was every bit as momentous.

It’s a little place called Brilliant Corners, and if you haven’t heard of it that’s because it’s only just started hosting live music. Back in September, the venue put on the first in a series of events called Played Twice, a novel idea for a night that starts off as a record party and ends up as a gig. First there’s a playthrough of a landmark album on Brilliant Corners’ state of the art analogue sound system and then a band made up of top British jazzers reinterpret that recording live in the venue.

“We used to do a thing we called ‘Jazz Night’,” explains Amit Patel (pictured below), owner of Brilliant Corners along with brother Aneesh. “We’d take our speakers and all of the equipment that we had and invite people round to listen to a classic jazz album from start to finish. That was way before this venue, but after the success of doing it we realised that it just works. When we got this place, a friend of a friend knew [trumpeter] Quentin Collins and he was like ‘well you should take it one step further and play live music afterwards’. So we said ‘alright then, fine, we’ll do that’. I think it’s necessary in jazz,” he adds. “There are so many ideas, if you don’t give the audience a chance to hear it again I think a little bit of it is lost.”

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With that in mind, the series opened by giving Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz To Come the Played Twice treatment. Collins assembled an all-star quartet featuring trumpeter Byron Wallen, saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, Polar Bear drummer Seb Rochford and bassist Neil Charles and, by all accounts the venue was rammed. It was just as busy last week as I arrived for the second outing, a double play of Wayne Shorter classic Speak No Evil with Collins joining tenorist Tony Kofi, pianist Andrew McCormack, bassist Mark Lewandowski and drummer Enzo Zirilli for the second set.

After a delayed start and a charmingly amateurish introduction from the owners, the lights were dimmed, the kitchen was closed and the metal shutters at the front of the venue came down. “My brother and I think that if you create some kind of ceremony about listening to music it reveals itself better,” said Patel as he removed the record from its sleeve, and he was right.

I’m a child of the 90s, used to shutting out the world with a pair of headphones and listening to albums in fragments, confining them to the background or consuming them on the go. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve sat in the company of friends and listened to a album from start to finish. But for the next 40 minutes I found myself wondering why. As we sat together in the darkness and listened to the opening phrase of ‘Witch Hunt’ blossom out of the speakers, there was something intoxicating about the atmosphere, about the purr of the sleek silver turntable and the crackle and pop of the record.

It was only then that I understood why people are so fanatical about vinyl. It has a warmth and a softness that you don’t get with CD. It wraps the music up in cotton wool and it was perfectly suited to an album like Speak No Evil, emphasising the colour of Hancock’s harmonies, rounding out the harshness of Hubbard’s upper register and adding mellow undertones to the sound of Shorter’s sax. Brilliant Corners’ enviable sound system helps (you can find the full specs here if that's your thing), and I’m sure the team could talk your ear off about modified tone arms and copper wiring if you wanted them to.

But, refreshingly, there was nothing edgy or try hard about the event and when I asked if they were consciously tapping into the recent vinyl renaissance Patel cut me short. “We’re not consciously tapping into anything,” he said. “We just recognise that sonically it’s much better if you get a really good [vinyl] pressing, a really good needle, a really good amplifier and a really good set of speakers. We don’t do it to be trendy or fashionable.”

They take the same pretension-free approach to the music, and Patel was keen to tell me that he doesn’t “know shit about jazz”, pointing to my notebook and insisting I write it down. He and his brother are just amateur enthusiasts, he maintains, “the most forward thinking” of their friends.

It’s this relaxed approach, along with the deliberate omission of a certain four letter word from most the marketing material, which Patel attributes to the night’s success. “We pushed [the first event] hard because we believe in jazz and we think it’s sad the way it’s not really celebrated, but we did it in a way that’s not ‘jazzy’, so write that in your book,” he says with a smile. “We didn’t adhere to all those jazz clichés which put off so many people. Even the word jazz, it’s like ‘argh, God, jazz’.

“My brother works at a music law firm, but they’re like ‘hey, Aneesh. How’s your jazz bar going’,” he says, putting on a corny American accent. They make fun of him a little bit because jazz isn’t considered to be cool and it is cool. It’s the highest form of art. It’s just a matter of presentation. People think ‘I’m not clever enough for jazz’, but if you let yourself be disarmed and be primal and let it go straight in, then it all just makes sense.”

He may well be on to something. The crowd at the Wayne Shorter event certainly didn’t look like your typical jazz audience. Most of them were fresh faced East Londoners who were intrigued by the concept of Played Twice but knew little about the music itself. Yet after the playthrough they were hooked, and when Patel led an impromptu, jargon-free discussion about the importance of Speak No Evil and the challenges of recreating it, they seemed more than happy chiming in.

We talked about the album’s historical context (it was recorded in December 1964, the same month as Coltrane’s A Love Supreme) and about Shorter’s use of harmony, which was cutting edge for the time. Collins highlighted the strength of the ensemble playing (Shorter appeared alongside Freddie Hubbard in the horn section of the Jazz Messengers and had just joined the Miles Davis Quintet with Herbie Hancock and Ron Carter) and then, with the musicians doing their best not to look daunted, it was time to find out if they could do the album justice.

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From the flaring lines of ‘Witch Hunt’ to the easy swing of the title track and the tranquility of ‘Infant Eyes’, everything was as it should be – faithful to the original but full of personality. Weaving in bluesy phrases and touches of modern harmony, Kofi used his solos to riff on Shorter’s melodies, while Collins (above) whipped up the crowd with his stinging high register. McCormack (whose solo on ‘Dance Cadaverous’ was one of the highlights of the set) put his stamp on the performance with stacked harmonies and twisting lines which he embellished with gracenotes and a touch of Hancock-style tremolo. Phrasing with the soloists and loosening things up with gutsy cymbal work, Zirilli played a storm, while Lewandowski had Carter’s sauntering style down to a tee.

As ‘Wild Flower’ came to an energetic close, I’m sure I wasn’t the only person in the room wishing there were more nights like this. Cheers and whistles broke into rapturous applause and the players seemed touched by the reception. Kofi thanked the audience for being so attentive and Collins took a moment to praise the venue. “I’m sure we all got more out of that one playthrough than we did from 50 listens on our headphones or in our cars,” he said. “Keep supporting the night. It’s about remembering how to listen to music.”

– Thomas Rees @ThomasNRees

Played Twice returns on 19 December with Keith Jarrett’s My Song feat. Andrew McCormack (piano), Julian Siegel (saxophone), Sam Lasserson (bass) and James Maddren (drums). Nathaniel Facey will lead a performance of Coltrane’s Sound in February, with performances of Monk’s Brilliant Corners and Alice Coltrane’s Journey in Satchidananda also planned for early 2015.

For more info go to brilliantcornerslondon.co.uk – photos by Miguel Echeverria

Black Top burn up with Jamaaladeen Tacuma at EFG London Jazz Festival

I would have been lying if I’d said I was in the mood for this. It had been a long day of coffee-fuelled laptop drudgery and, as much as I love free jazz, the last thing I wanted was to sit through a night of challenging improvised music in deepest darkest Dalston. But, come 11 o’clock I was willing it not to end.

An opening set from tenor saxophonist Seymour Wright and drummer Paul Abbott, collectively known as Xomaltesc Tbobhni, made for a mesmerising start. Facing one another across a darkened stage, they unleashed a relentless barrage of sound. A subtly-shifting acoustic loop of saxophone honks, screeches and whirring, machine-like noises that meshed with thrashing cymbal work and loose tom-tom rolls, it could have been a sonic sketch of some harrowing, mechanised dystopia.

Black Top, appearing with special guests Philip Achille on harmonica and Jamaaladeen Tacuma (a former member of Ornette Coleman's Prime Time) on bass guitar, took a little longer to find their stride. Five minutes in and I could feel my scepticism beginning to return, but their improvisation quickly gathered pace. Switching between iPad, synthesizer and piano, Pat Thomas stirred up a bubbling broth of electronic noise, adding scampering lines and subversive, hamfisted cluster chords. Orphy Robinson responded with chirpy laptop beats, distorted vocal samples and furious bursts of Xylosynth, while Achille offered wistful melodies, impassioned wails and snaking, chromatic lines.

Dressed in a patterned silk jacket and an orange scarf, Tacuma was at the heart of it all, busting out Jaco-esque bass licks and linking up with Achille on improvised melodies and broken funk grooves. He was instrumental in the sweeping builds and sudden drops in intensity that provided many of the highlights of the set and it was he who led the adrenaline-fuelled handshakes after a final Xylosynth flurry from Robinson brought things to a close.

As he did so, the house erupted into whistles and cheers and I was cheering along with them. This is the sort of improvised music that sucks you in and disarms your scepticism. Go in the foulest of moods and at your most difficult to impress and you’ll come out a delirious evangelist.

– Thomas Rees

@ThomasNRees

Bill Frisell takes Guitar In The Space Age to D’Jazz Nevers Festival

Nevers, in the very heart of France on the banks of the wide, fast flowing Loire, has a long history (28 years to be precise) as the location of one of the country’s most respected jazz organisations. Always an autumn highlight, the D’Jazz Nevers Festival is eight days of high quality, predominantly European jazz – including, this year, such names as Raoul Bjorkenheim’s eCsTaSy , Paul Rogers’ superbly inventive new Whahay trio and the (what’s the French for ‘bonkers’?) trumpet demon Mederic Collignon.

The final three days (13-15 November) packed in eleven well-attended concerts, by groups from duos to the eleven piece Orchestre National de Jazz (ONJ). Led by guitarist/composer Olivier Benoit and artistic adviser and first division bassist Bruno Chevillon, this iteration of the ONJ featured a fast, hard driving mix of influences redolent of rock and contemporary ‘new’ music. As much as the densely scored compositions, soloists such as the fiery virtuoso violinist Theo Ceccaldi and saxophonist Alexandra Grimal certainly made the audience sit up and take notice. And for an audience whose average age suggested that Les Originales de Werther were the bonbons of choice, this was no mean feat.

In keeping with the demographic, a pronounced element of Memory Lane Syndrome (no bad thing in itself as bus pass holders will attest) which pervaded this final weekend of the programme brought both pleasures and occasional disappointments.

Violinist Ceccaldi led his own trio (with guitar and cello) in a very post-modern deconstruction of everything from gypsy swing to the blues, in a set that was notable for its virtuosity and in which, ironically, the new music/improv sections sounded the most old fashioned. In a less edifying version of improv (and did we ever think we’d ever be so grumpy as to really now call it ‘plinky-plonk’?) in his East/West trio cellist Didier Petit spent too much time hitting the back of his instrument with the bow and wasted the opportunity to capitalise on the potentially fertile opportunity of bringing clarinettist Sylvan Kassap together with the Chinese guzheng (table harp) of Xu Fengxia.

Bill Frisell’s Guitar In The Space Age quartet drove straight to the Memory Six-Lane Freeway , making pop classics of the 1960s a joyful playground for musicians who had nothing left to prove and could revel in revisiting the Byrds, the Shadows, the Beach Boys, Duane Eddy and similar favourites. Although they couldn’t do much with the four in the bar rhythms and easy chord sequences, Frisell and his playmates clearly delighted in making every tremolo twang sound totally authentic as well as fondly affectionate.

The evening before, Steve Swallow’s quintet with Carla Bley (on Hammond organ) was preceded by a French nine-piece project which re-played pieces from Bley’s 1972 classic Escalator Over The Hill. In the audience, those who knew the music were content to remember the tunes and enjoy the reprise. Others, disappointed by the realisation that there was nothing new going on in this revival production – which was given the somewhat unfortunate English title ‘Over The Hills’ - were far more saddened by a dull, colourless set from heroes Swallow and Bley and their unremarkable sidemen.

This and other big concerts took place, perhaps appropriately, in the 1960s-built concrete Maison de Culture. Earlier, in the intimate ancient stone cavern of Pac des Ouches, the trio Un Poco Loco made happier and more creative use of older material – this time from the bebop era. With lightly-worn musicality and skill, saxophone/clarinet, string bass and the splendidly fluent trombone of the ONJ’s Fidel Fourneyron made engaging acoustic music that made them sound like a much bigger group whilst giving warm and friendly contemporary twists (with a fair bit of sympathetic deconstruction) to tunes from two generations back.

The big finish on Saturday night was more Exotic Routes than Memory Lane, headlining Cuban pianist Omar Sosa’s Quartetto AfroCubano and opening with saxophonist Jacques Schwarz-Bart and his mixed Haitian/French septet.

The latter’s project – Jazz Racine Haiti – delivered far less than promised, in that Schwarz-Bart spent endless time soloing himself or talking at great length between tunes about how he was fusing his jazz and Haitian influences and, in doing so, severely limited the scope for his young colleagues including startlingly energetic pianist Gregory Privat and the gloriously named (and vocally impressive) singer Marie Moonlight to shine.

Sosa, as might be expected these days, upped the ante, funking, jazzing, grooving and salsa-ing the audience into a frenzy of participation and enthusiasm which culminated in not just one but two ecstatic encores.

– Robert La Barbe

– Photo by Roger Thomas

Randy Weston and Billy Harper – Deeper than blue at QEH, EFG London Jazz Festival

Just a few days prior to this concert, the Branford Marsalis Quartet set the same stage alight with as incendiary an opening salvo for the EFG London Jazz Festival as could have been hoped for. Although pianist Randy Weston and tenor saxophonist Billy Harper (above) draw a significantly smaller crowd, the duo nonetheless maintains the same degree of excellence, and perhaps more importantly, shows how the diverse historical foundations of jazz remain launching pads for new musical adventures.

Marsalis was firmly rooted in bebop soil. Weston and Harper are planted deep in the earth of the blues. Their artistic triumph is that they are able to show how fertile is the land and how much it shifts into new territory by dint of the strength of character of the performers. 88 year-old Weston’s Monkish modernism, a furrow he has ploughed since the 1950s, is personalised by a fabulously strong touch, which lends to his low register lines the kind of granite-like density that does not leave the audience wanting for the sound of a double bass or kick drum, while the quicksilver runs of his right hand are both percussively fluid and teasingly fragmented, introducing ample breathing space into anthems such as ‘The Healers’ and the evocative solo piano piece ‘Night In Medina.’

Weston demonstrates the underlying African rhythm of ‘Hi-Fly’; his signature tune dating from 1959, by tapping the wooden frame of the piano as if it were a conga and so highlights the other major musical as well as cultural and political component of his life’s work. Yet the giant New Yorker gleefully recalls the moment he heard Coleman Hawkins’ ‘Body And Soul’ and fell in love with the tenor saxophone, which provides a cue for Harper’s solo feature, ‘If One Could Only See.’ It proves a heart-stopping moment.

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In the opening set of the evening J.D Allen (above), leading a well-drilled piano-less trio, had given a fine display of virtuosity on the same instrument, but Harper marks a sharp contrast to the younger player. His tone has a steely, often shrill, piercing quality that imbues his upper register with intense drama – a hark; a cry; a plea – and brings an absolute hush of reverence to the auditorium after his opening statement of the theme.

Long term admirers of the 71 year-old Texan, and they would include anybody from the generation of ‘80s players on whom he has had a clear influence [above all Gary Thomas and Steve Williamson], would have felt at home, as this sound has been in evidence since his classic 1975 album Black Saint. But Harper is imperious tonight, dispensing often terse, condensed, fraught lines that are night to the lengthy, florid flights of Allen’s day. Harper’s bass notes have a bulk and heft that need little amplification and gain more power for the way he plays them off against silence, but the central draw of the performance is his consistent reprise and re-harmonisation of the melody.

Like a Baptist preacher, he uses it as a solid bedrock, and makes the song sing effortlessly, reminding the audience that the church still has an immense part to play in the ongoing development of black music. When Weston again joins Harper on another of the pianist’s own enduring compositions, ‘Blue Moses’, which segues into Kofi Ghanaba’s ‘Love, The Mystery Of’, the two musicians reach the kind of advanced conversational intimacy only master players achieve. The notes, tones, thoughts and emotions feel as much of yesterday as of today.

– Kevin Le Gendre

– Photos by Roger Thomas

Nigel Price Organ Quartet live and loud at Lauderdale House

Three-quarters of the way through a 40-date UK tour that has already taken on legendary status, the Nigel Price Trio augmented by tenor-saxophonist Vasilis Xenopoulos made their way to Lauderdale House in Highgate for gig No.31. Not world-weary as might be expected after their zigzag travels across the nation but battle-hardened, they turned in a towering performance that pleased everyone, young and old, packed into the house’s elegant interior.

It’s no secret that guitarist Price is a Wes Montgomery aficionado or that the tenor-organ-guitar-drums concept is a well-worked strand in the jazz tapestry. Are there still rewards to be gained from its reiteration in this day and age? On this evidence, and that of earlier hearings, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’. Price brings an intensity to his own improvisations that can make each solo seem like a personal challenge to be overcome and it’s his energy and drive that rubs off on the reminder of the quartet. With new recruit Ross Stanley at the imposing Hammond B-3 organ, this group can move from a rewarding, bluesy groove on to a lashing, hard bop driver and then subside to a limpid ballad, all without turning the proverbial hair. As one observer put it, commenting on Stanley’s command of the Hammond’s potential for bombast, “he goes beyond cheesy into brilliance”.

Xenopoulos is my nomination for tenor find of the year, always unflappable, his nicely centred mid-period sound moving from Turrentine-like placidity on to roaring Chicago-style shout-ups, with an occasional hint of Shorter’s asperity showing through, this evident on the group’s fevered version of ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’. Matt Home’s drum accents and his instinct for impactive snare explosions, never more evident than on Oscar Pettiford’s perky ‘Trichotism’, play a vital part too. Whether taking in a familiar standard like ‘Angel Eyes’ or Emily Remler’s ‘Blues for Herb’ and Price’s own ‘Blue Genes’, this quartet was as one, tight, hard-swinging, creative and exhilarating all the way. As Price put it, as if stumbling on a new truth about his band after 30+ dates on the road, “you suddenly realise it sounds amazing.” He’s right, you know.

– Peter Vacher

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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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Bennett and Gaga, Snarky Puppy and The Bad Plus/Joshua Redman top triumphant Umbria Jazz Festival

Bennett and Gaga, Snarky Puppy and The B…

Umbria Jazz is a brand and like all brands it’s...

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Avishai Cohen and Marcus Miller burn in the heat of Jazz á Vienne

Avishai Cohen and Marcus Miller burn in …

  One of the biggest French summer Festivals enjoyed the hottest...

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Brad Shepik’s Trio explore a Changing Climate

Brad Shepik’s Trio explore a Changing Cl…

Guitarist and educator Brad Shepik’s compositions have attracted sufficient attention...

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Zara McFarlane stretches out at Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho

Zara McFarlane stretches out at Pizza Ex…

Singer and composer Zara McFarlane played to sold-out crowds at...

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Nigel Price Organ Trio 25 July 2015, Kings Place

Nigel Price Organ Trio 25 July 2015, Kin…

  In Michael Chabon’s 2012 novel Telegraph Avenue, the fictitious jazz...

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A party atmosphere reigns supreme at Jazz à Vienne 2015

A party atmosphere reigns supreme at Jaz…

One of the biggest French summer Festivals enjoyed the hottest...

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Soweto Kinch and Kurt Elling hit the heights at the Malta Jazz Festival

Soweto Kinch and Kurt Elling hit the hei…

Soweto Kinch’s gig is nearing its climax when he finds...

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The cerebral meets the popular at the Rigas Ritmi Festival in Latvia

The cerebral meets the popular at the Ri…

As Ramon Valle explains, the Ritmi in the title of...

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Swanage Jazz Fest swings hard with Jean Tousaint’s Art Blakey Sextet

Swanage Jazz Fest swings hard with Jean …

Swanage’s format is well-established and well-understood. A marquee each for...

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Jason Moran, Justin Kauflin and D’Angelo shine at Montreux Jazz Festival

Jason Moran, Justin Kauflin and D’Angelo…

Thomas Rees is swept away by glamour, history and stand...

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Ant Law Quintet zero in at The Verdict, Brighton

Ant Law Quintet zero in at The Verdict, …

It’s been a scant 18 months since Ant Law played...

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Mammoth 36th Montreal jazz round-up with Lovano, Cullum, Mammal Hands, Abdullah Ibrahim among the highlights

Mammoth 36th Montreal jazz round-up with…

Each visit there are switcheroos at the goliath Montreal Jazz...

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Sly & Robbie with Nils Petter Molvaer create blissful ‘Nordub’ at Barbican

Sly & Robbie with Nils Petter Molvae…

A meeting of the world’s greatest rhythm section, two progressive...

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Average White Band Jarrod Lawson get the Rio funking at Glasgow Jazz Festival

Average White Band Jarrod Lawson get the…

Although the concert hall experience is a major part of...

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Manu Katché and Dado Moroni  get Bari in Jazz bopping

Manu Katché and Dado Moroni get Bari in…

This year’s edition of Bari in Jazz marked a transition...

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Black Top funk up Freedom: The Art Of Improvisation Festival

Black Top funk up Freedom: The Art Of Im…

“Yes… central heating.” These words from Cleveland Watkiss, closing Black...

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Joe Stilgoe goes Big Band at The Old Vic for album launch

Joe Stilgoe goes Big Band at The Old Vic…

A packed venue, atmospheric lighting, crystal clear sound and the...

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