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Album & Event/Show Review Page – Sponsored By Jazz Views

 

JAZZ SUNDAY’S  – THE TROUBADOUR (WINE BAR)
Old Brompton Rd, Earls Court
15/10/17
I must confess as a Jazz fan, until recently I did not know about the Jazz Sunday sessions at the iconic Earls Court, Troubadour venue. For my first visit, I was very pleasantly surprised to see three of the UKs finest Jazzers in residence.

Led by gig Booker on DRUMS SEBASTIAN DE KROM, on DOUBLE BASS ARNIE SOMOGYI and on SAXOPHONE DAVE O’HIGGINS,  this unusual trio would not be out of place in Soho’s finest Jazz Clubs. The formation was originally formed by Sunny Rollins no less!

The line up is down to the gig being completely acoustic without any amplification what so ever, but when you have these three, you don’t really need it!.

They played a great mix of Standards & others, including Their Will Never Be Another You, with Seb doing a particularly wonderful Drum Solo on the penultimate number of the set. The night’s been going since the spring this year, starting out monthly but in August it went weekly, which is great news for Jazz.

The sessions are FREE entry, and as Seb said, he now feels like “i’m playing in my living room”, as it’s a very intimate but warm space in the ground floor wine bar at THE TRUOBADOUR. It was standing room only!!

The line up varies each week depending who is available, others to have played include Chris Hill & TimThornton, so you know it’s always going to be a good night at THE TROUB on a Sunday.  Although this was my first visit to Jazz Sunday At The Troubadour it most definitely will not be my last!!. Hope to see you there sometime?

www.thetroubadourlondon.com

Reviewed by Anthony L Steinberg Entertainment Consultant, fANTastic Entertainment  @antthestein64

LAURENCE JUBER RESIDENCY
PIZZA EXPRESS JAZZ CLUB
DEAN ST, SOHO, LONDON
OCTOBER 11TH -12TH 2017

This is now about my third time seeing this British born American based Guitar virtuoso & both previous occasions were at this venue.
This double header was just as good as my previous encounters. As a solo performer their are not that many Guitarists who can hold a Dean St crowd for a full two sets on their own, i’m thinking of the likes of Jim Mullen, Antonio Forceoni, John Etheridge & John Williams to name a small bunch who can, but Laurence prooved over these two nights that he is definitely a force who should be up in that company.

First night kicked off with Juber performing his homage to The Beatles, having already released three such albums, he was part of Paul McCartney’s Wings, where he was the recipient of a Grammy no less for his troubles.

The evening was what he called Beatles Adjacent, where he performed Beatles & songs with Beatles connections, a couple of which you never thought had a connection to the FAB FOUR such as THE PINK PANTHER & LIVE & LET DIE!.
What I particularly liked with Juber’s playing, was the fact that he played the tunes rather than trying to show off how clever he is with 20 minutes solo’s. His music is definitely accessible, proof being that he sold a stack load of his 7 different CDs!. The Maistro also got the audience singing along to one of his favourites, JOHNNY BE GOOD. We also had a sneak peek of the second night with ALL OF ME,
Host with the most John Billett had a quick chat with Laurence at the start of the second set when he told the house that he started playing Guitar at the age of 11, 54 years ago next month!!.

Night two I felt was a slightly better night for the Maistro, as he was a bit more open with the set list, as it wasn’t just Beatles related, it was more of a Standards show with numbers such as GEORGIA ON MY MIND alongside a few of his originals!. The audience once again greatly appreciated the performance calling for an encore. Another very fine Guitarist Mitch Dalton was in the house!.

The two nights flew by & as Laurence said to me after the second night, “I could have played for two hours straight”. I wish he had. Oh well, ’till the next time!

Reviewed by Anthony L Steinberg Entertainment Consultant, fANTastic Entertainment  @antthestein64

GEORGIA MANCIO’S HANG FESTIVAL
Pizza Express Jazz Club Soho
Thursday 5th October – Sunday 8th October 2017:

This is the first festival Georgia Mancio has curated since her iconic ‘Revoice!’ Festival ended 3 years ago. This time Georgia presented 4 nights with 6 different shows showcasing a diverse range of not only British Jazz but also her ability as a programmer, lyricist & Singer as well. Each night brought a different flavour to the Dean St stage.

Georgia performed in all 6 of the shows, with a different line up joining her in each, which was a difference from Revoice!, another change saw Mancio concentrate on UK based talent, presenting a series of collaborations with artists Mancio could ‘Hang’ out with, Mancio though was definitely the star of HANG.
First night was a nice twist on the trio format, where she had two bands one in each set. Opening the whole festival was Frank Harrison on Piano & Andy Cleyndert on Double Bass, second set saw Guitarist Nigel Price & Bassist Julie Walkington Join Georgia. The encore was rather fun when Frank & Andy rejoined, we then had not one but two Double Basses on stage, which could have been tricky had it been in any lesser hands, but these two played a
fine bat, to Andy’s special arrangement of Bye Bye Blackbird.

Following night Georgia was joined in the early show by Pianist Kate Williams & her Four Plus Three show string quartet, with a few specially arranged tunes for this festival alongside some tunes Mancio wrote with another Pianist Alan Broadbent from there Songbook project. Late show Ian Shaw joined Georgia for a voice & piano set.

Third night was a Latin special with Mark Crooks leading the show SALUD – TOM JOBIM, while Argentinian Singer/Guitarist Guillermo Rozenthual led the late show.

The last night was the MR & MRS show where Georgia & her partner Dave Ohm where joined by Liane Carroll and her better half Roger Carey!. In a full house were a couple of The Nolan Sisters, the format was I thought very clever, as it wasn’t just about the two ladies, but the guys had moments in the spotlight as well!.

I have always admired Georgia Mancio, her Revoice!, series firmly establishing this Croydon born artist in the mind set of the UK Jazz scene, this new HANG festival should cement Mancio’s reputation even further.

www.georgiamancio.com

Reviewed by Anthony L Steinberg Entertainment Consultant, fANTastic Entertainment  @antthestein64

De BerenGieren ‘dug out skyscrapers’  

Album released 29th September via Sdban Ultra

Formed in 2009, the band were in-house residents at the prestigious Vooruit Arts’ Centre in Ghent for four years and have received three awards at the distinguished International Jazz Hoeilaart competition which promotes young jazz musicians across Europe and the rest of the world.

‘A Raveling’ (2013), the band’s second album, was widely praised and resulted in de beren gieren’s international breakthrough. The follow-up a year later, ‘The Detour Fish’, captured the band’s live sound at the Ljubljana Jazz Festival in Slovenia and featured burgeoning Portuguese trumpeter and improviser, Susana Santos Silva. 2015’s ‘One Mirrors Many’ received widespread recognition with influential jazz magazine Jazzism describing the release as the “most influential album of 2015-16”.

de beren gieren have performed across numerous jazz stages throughout Europe and have collaborated with numerous musicians including Marc Ribot, Louis Sclavis, Joachim Badenhorst, Jan Klare and trumpeter Susana Santos Silva.

de beren gieren are Fulco Ottervanger (piano), Lieven Van Pée (bass) and Simon Segers (drums).

Sdban Records is an independent record label, obsessed with sixties and seventies grooves. It is the youngest member of the N.E.W.S. Records family, based in Ghent, Belgium. The label has recently expanded, focusing on contemporary talent. SDBAN Ultra is the sister label focusing on today’s lively jazz and funk scene, which is simply too exciting

www.deberengieren.be

 

James Saxsmo Gates “Together We Can Make It” (Featuring Freddie Fox)

“Together We Can Make It”, is the blazing hot new single and the title of the soon to be released album by jazz man extraordinaire, James Saxsmo Gates. Known as a dynamic entertainer, with exciting and high energy live performances. Saxsmo’s new single is grooving, upbeat, dynamic and showcases his skill as an arranger, composer and featured performer. Co-written and produced by young smooth jazz producer and bass phenom, Brandon Lane (Walter Beasley, Bill McGee), “Together We Can Make” hits hard from the very first note and grooves hard until the final fade.

Joining James Saxsmo Gates as a featured performer on “Together We Can Make It”, is his Berklee College of Music Colleague and fantastic smooth jazz guitarist, Freddie Fox. Together they make this song an undeniable hit single that has all of the elements, and the right groove to move all the way to the top of the charts. Saxsmo is not a newcomer to smooth jazz. His last single “Detailed” with Walter Beasley soared up the smooth jazz charts and solidified Saxsmo as a world class performer. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music, with a Masters in Jazz Studies from North Carolina Central University, Saxsmo is well known as one of the young lions of jazz, having performed with Art Blakey, Billy Childs, Larry Carlton, Dizzy Gillispie, Walter Bishop, Jr., Walter Davis, Jr., Alan Dawson, Cyrus Chestnut, Alex Bugnon, Patrice Rushen, Chris Botti and Billy Kilson, Fred Wesley and many others. Holding down the rhythm groove on “Together We Can Make It” is Grammy Winning drummer, Virginia Native and close friend Nate Smith (Dave Holland).

Professor James Saxsmo Gates, is currently the Director of the Dr. Billy Taylor Jazz Studies program at Virginia State University and is a sought after performer, clinician and adjudicator for Jazz programs all over the country and abroad. Having recently traveled to Japan as a clinician and performer with world class drummer, Billy Kilson (Chris Botti), James Saxsmo Gates will be hitting the road in 2017 in support of his project “Together We Can Make It” on 804 Jazz

26th Sept 2017 Show Review : VIVIANA ZARBO, PHEASANTRY AT THE PIZZA EXPRESS

Viviana Zarbo presented more than just a great set of 20th century classic songs. The show marked a new direction for this fast establishing Italian London based singer.
‘A GIRLS BEST FRIEND’ is a reflection of Marilyn Monroe’s life as seen through the eyes of Zarbo personal memories & stories.
This particular gig started with not one but two special treats for a packed out crowd at The Pheasantry. Treat one, was the debut of the venues fantastic new Baby Grand Steinway Piano & the second treat was a very special guest who flew into London specially for this night, from Scilly, young Singer Celeste. Celeste & her co writer Guliana got proceedings under way with a short but perfectly formed set who then handed over the baton to Viviana & her band the two Marco’s on the new Steinway (lucky man) Marco Marconi & on Saxophone Marco Moratta. The stories Zarbo told about her idol Marilyn Munroe were very personal as well as educational!,  presenting the songs in a Jazz way gave it even more a special feel. Celeste then joined Viviana for a wonderful duet.

This I know is just the beginning for this rising talent, keep your eyes peeled for future dates for this great show, if it comes your way, you shouldn’t miss it!.

www.vivianazarboartist.com

www.celestemusic.it

Reviewed by Anthony L Steinberg Entertainment Consultant, fANTastic Entertainment  @antthestein64

 

Gaby Hernandez: ‘Spirit Reflection’ : Album of Week Monday 12th June 2017  RedTrain Express

On 9th June Mr Bongo present Spirit Reflection – the third album from Los Angeles singer and musician Gaby Hernandez.Latin, folk, electronica and jazz blend seamlessly on this sparkling, dreamy, wonder-filled masterpiece. Blissful layers of instrumentation, vocal harmonies and folkloric percussion intertwine with west coast feel to create a unique, beautiful and multi-layered album.

Spirit Reflection features a stellar line-up of LA talent; jazz star Kamasi Washington, Stuart Howard (AKA Lapalux), Kelis and Gaslamp killer collaborator Dexter Story, plus Ninja Tune, Plug Research and Soul Jazz artist Carlos Niño, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Gabriel Reyes-Whittaker all accompany Gaby, with stunning results.Even before Spirit Reflection had been finished, the demo mixes caught the ear and gained the support of Gilles Peterson, Lefto, Toshio Matsuura (U.F.O.) and J-Rocc (Beat Junkies).

Born, raised and based in Los Angeles and of Chilean descent, Gaby Hernandez has been writing and recording since 2001. She was a founding member of the ‘creative music ensemble’ Build An Ark alongside others including Carlos Niño, Dexter Story and Dwight Trible.Gaby was the only vocalist on Teebs’ debut Brainfeeder release Ardour. She made major contributions to AmmonContact’s Ninja Tune releases New Birth and With Voices, plus The Life Force Trio’s Plug Research album Living Room.  She was also the vocalist on Dimlite’s Outernational Duet – released as part of his highly acclaimed Sonar Kollektiv longplayer This Is Embracing.

Hernandez was invited by Mia Doi Todd to sing on the Jonathan Wilson produced song Canto de Iemanja, which was included on Todd’s City Zen record Cosmic Ocean Ship and the Red Hot + Rio 2 compilation, which also featured Beck, Seu Jorge, Aloe Blacc, David Byrne and Madlib.

Among her main musical comrades is the prolific multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Dexter Story, for whom Hernandez sang on the track Water Bearer from his LP Seasons, on Kindred Spirits

David and Graham from Mr Bongo met Gaby and Carlos Nino at the end of their hugely successful Arthur Verocai album launch and rare record sale at the Rappcats venue in LA. “Gaby and Carlos passed us a copy of Spirit Reflection. It immediately grabbed us and we couldn’t stop listening to it. When we got back to the UK we got in contact straight away and signed the album. We’re very proud to be releasing it”, says Graham Luckhurst.

Olli Hirvonen : New Helsinki

Olli Hirvonen​ is a dynamic and virtuosic Finnish-born, New York based guitarist. ​Winner of the Socar Montreux Jazz Electric Guitar competition​ in 2016 (the jury was presided over by ​John McLaughlin​), Olli releases his second album, ​New Helsinki ​ on Edition Records. ​New Helsinki ​ is an album that promises to ignite the attention of the international media and fans worldwide with its deft infectious melodies, irresistibly bold grooves and intense inventive soloing. A musician with a larger vision and a commanding spirit, Olli Hirvonen, is a supremely gifted guitarist and composer. With ​New Helsinki ​ Hirvonen has thrown down his calling card and demonstrated the promise that will inevitably thrust his career and profile in an upward trajectory towards international acclaim.

Presenting Wendy Kirkland : Piano Divas

The album features the talents of Wendy Kirkland, well known in the Midlands, North and beyond as a brilliant talent on piano and additionally an excellent singer, composer and arranger.

The idea of a show featuring the work of pianist singers such as Nina Simone, Eliane Elias, Diana Krall, Blossom Dearie came from the meeting of minds of the band members; but who could produce such a performance? There are few pianists in jazz today that can step up to the mark of singing whilst playing and rather than simply accompanying themselves, can exhibit superb technical and harmonic ability at the piano. Wendy Kirkland is that pianist singer.

Joined by the superb guitar talents of Pat Sprakes who was asked by Darius Brubeck to join his band on tour in Nottingham; Paul Jefferies who is a founder member of Gypsy Fire and Ben Holder Quartet; Stevie Smith who is a consummate professional drummer who has drummed with Blur on their iconic 90s tours. Between them they have performed with jazz luminaries including Jim Mullen, Bobby Shew, Dave O’ Higgins, Jean Toussaint, Bruce Adams, Alan Barnes, The Matthew Herbert Big Band, Tony Kofi, Nigel Price, Phil Robson.

The album was recorded over 2 days, the 13th and 14th of February, 2017 at Steinwayrecording.co.uk in Fulbeck, Notts which is owned by Spencer Cozens, keyboard player, arranger and MC for Joan Armatrading and John Martyn. Situated in an idyllic village, the studio boasts a fabulous Steinway piano which is kept at peak temperature and humidity by natural air circulation rather than air conditioning.

“Mellow and stylish” – Clive Davis, The Times
“This first recording could just mark the beginning of much deserved recognition.” – Alan Barnes
“Wendy is proof that great musicians are alive and kicking all around the UK and that they don’t have to be products of our music colleges to create high quality, entertaining music.” – Jim Mullen
“Relaxed attitude & superb musicianship – I always look forward to the next time!” – Roger Beaujolais

The album is out on Blue Quaver Records 24th March and is for sale on Bandcamp and CDB aby for download https://wendykirkland.bandcamp.com/album/piano-divas https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/wendykirklandquartet

 

Lets Get Swinging: Modern Jazz In Belgium (Released April 2017)

When thinking of jazz music, few would mention Belgium’s association with the genre. However, it was one of the first countries to embrace the form when it arrived in Europe a hundred years ago, and has yielded many internationally known jazz musicians and composers since.

A new, twenty-track compilation entitled ‘Let’s Get Swinging: Modern Jazz in Belgium 1950-1970’, released 7th April via Sdban/N.E.W.S. focuses on a twenty-year period of modern jazz in the little kingdom, and features the leading players from that era including guitarist Philip Catherine, saxophonist Jack Sels, multi-instrumentalist Jacques Pelzer and vibraphone player, percussionist and vocalist ‘Fats’ Sadi Lallemand.

Pre-1950s, Belgian jazz lovers had been starved of jazz music when it was banned from public life, going underground during the German occupation of WWII. However, jazz would soon go through a radical change when US jazz musicians such as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk developed a new style called bebop or modern jazz. The big bands disappeared in favour of the small groups, the rhythms became more complex and improvisation was the new keyword. In Belgium, the epicentre of jazz shifted from Brussels to the industrial city of Liège in the east of the country. Inspired by the new sounds of Bird and Diz, a group of youngsters including Bobby Jaspar, René Thomas, Jacques Pelzer, ‘Fats’ Sadi Lallemand, Jack Sels and Francy Boland, joined each other in jam sessions and formed modern jazz combos.

But the complexities of modern jazz made larger audiences turn their backs on this new form of jazz and with very few working opportunities for the modern jazzmen in Belgium, most moved abroad to persue a career.

During the 50s, composer and pianist Francy Boland managed to distinguish himself in the United States, where he worked with the bands of Count Basie and Benny Goodman, and with jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams.

Bobby Jaspar remained a wonderful “cool” soloist on flute and tenor sax. In New York, he played, among others, with J.J. Johnson and Miles Davis. Shortly before his untimely death in 1963, he set up a last vigorous quintet with his friend and guitarist René Thomas from Liege.

Guitarist René Thomas also crossed the Atlantic and immersed himself in the Paris jazz scene of the early to mid-fifties, where he quickly became notable due to his distinct style, heavily influenced by Jimmy Raney, and ended up recording with Sonny Rollins in 1957. His most loyal partner and friend was alto saxophonist and flautist Jacques Pelzer who, after the adventure with the Bob Shots, imposed himself in this decade as an outstanding musician of European jazz.

Vibraphone player, percussionist and vocalist Sadi Lallemand, nicknamed ‘Fats’, was another Belgian who took up residency in Paris. He recorded with Django Reinhardt in 1953 and the same year he debuted as a leader with Fats Sadi’s Combo, an album that was even released by the legendary Blue Note label in the USA. Sadi was a much in demand sideman, playing with Lucky Thompson, Martial Solal, Jimmy Deuchar and many more. In the sixties, he was one of the core members of the Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band and often worked for Belgian radio and television.

At the end of the 1950s, guitarist Philip Catherine was one of the leading young musicians who came to prominence on the Belgian jazz scene. Even before his twentieth year, he jammed at la Rose Noir, played at the festivals of Comblain and Ostend and toured Europe with Lou Bennett. After 1965 he also started to compose.

Even though the most talented Belgian jazz musicians lived abroad during the golden era of modern jazz, Belgium was not a complete jazz wasteland. Clubs like La Rose Noire and the Blue Note were the go-to places for touring musicians seeking an after-work jam session.

In Antwerp, the jazz scene was dominated by saxophone player Jack Sels, who was also very productive working for Belgian Radio and Television. A highlight in this small discography is a recording with Lucky Thompson from 1959.

In 1959, the jazz festival of Comblain-La-Tour became the annual jazz center of Europe, and featured concerts by American jazz stars like Bill Evans, John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley. With tens of thousands of visitors at almost each edition, the little village of Comblain-La-Tour was dubbed ‘The Jazz Capital of Europe’. In 1961, Comblain outdid the Newport Jazz Festival with a crowd of 30,000 jazz enthusiasts, giving the most famous jazz festival in the world a run for its money. It would continue until 1966.

Jacques Pelzer went on to work in Italy and toured with Chet Baker while René Thomas set up a new quartet with Bobby Jaspar, and played with Pelzer and Lee Konitz at European festivals, before falling back into a lean period in 1966. Still, despite these tough times for jazz, new clubs opened: The Blue Note and Pol’s Jazz Club in Brussels, the Jazz Inn in Liege, and the Jazz Clu Hnita in Heist-Op-Den-Berg.

Due to the absence of its main players during the heydays of modern jazz, Belgium will not be remembered for a unique jazz sound or an extensive discography. However, the little country produced a number of highly talented musicians who played lead roles on the international jazz scene. ‘Let’s Get Swinging: Modern Jazz in Belgium 1950-1970’ retraces their steps and presents some of their finest works.

TRACKLIST

CD1
1. Jack Sels – African Dance
2. Jon Eardley – Subtroyan Influence
3. René Thomas-Bobby Jaspar Quintet – Bernie’s Taste
4. Jacques Pelzer And His Young Stars – Don’t Smile
5. Philip Catherine & Robert Pernet – Grelots
6. Francy Boland – Dark Eyes
7. Saxorama & Jack Sels – Minor 5
8. Herman Sandy Quartet – Digging Chick
9. Fats Sadi Quartet – Ensadinado
10. Bobby Jaspar Quintet – Clarinescapade
11. The Clouds – Cecilia

CD2
1. Lucky Thompson & Jack Sels Sextet – Minor Works
2. Francy Boland Trio – Night Lady
3. Bobby Jaspar – Coraline
4. Jacques Pelzer Sextet – There’ll Never be Another You
5. René Goldstein And His Group – Witch Of Salem
6. The Clouds – Hall’s Blues
7. René Thomas Et Son Modern Group – Get Happy
8. Jacques Pelzer Quartet – Work Song
9. The St. Tropez Jazz Octet – Let’s Get Swinging

Out on the 7th April 2017 through Sdban/N.E.W.S.
SDBANCD07: Deluxe Edition 2CD.
SDBANLP07: Gatefold 2LP on 180gr.

 

Pete Canter Sky Ensemble – Strange Bird

Pete Canter Strange Bird CD

Pete Canter Strange Bird CD

Described by listeners as “dreamy and joyful” Strange Bird is an album of Pete Canters highly original, folk-inflected jazz compostions for cello and jazz quartet. Melodic, lyrical and essentially groovy with open modal harmonies, strong rhythms and great tunes, the album features fine melodic playing from Pete on soprano saxophone, inventive and exciting piano solos by emerging talent Matt Johns, gorgeous cello lines played by Lucy Welsman and the twin powerhouse of Jim Rintoul on double bass and Garry Evans on drums.

Strange Bird builds on the success of Pete’s two previous well received albums of original jazz “Ununbium” and “Lightflight” – both of which were awarded 3-star reviews by Jazz Magazine.

The CD is available direct from Pete Canter – Purchase details here

 

 

 

Graham J – Wild Is

On his debut album Wild Is…Graham grahamjexplores elements of jazz, blues, classical and alternative contemporary. The avant-garde, almost vaudevillian, presentation underlies themes of evolution and transformation which define the work. The strictures of Grahams extensive operatic career as a rarely found tenore contraltino, though strongly acknowledged, are overthrown by his broader breadth of influences including Nino Simone, Shirley Bassey and Karen Carpenter.

Find out more at www.grahamj.eu and follow on Twitter @grahamjsings

 


Barry Guy – The Blue Shroud – Review Reprinted with Permission from Jazz Views

Given the imminent publication, in the UK,  of the report from the Chilcott Inquiry into the Iraq war, the release of this composition from Barry Guy is very timely indeed.  The composition was inspired by the events surrounding US Secretary of State Colin Powell addressing the UN Security Council to seek their support for military action against the Saddam regime.  Powell was originally due to speak in front of a tapestry of Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ but the cameramen felt that this was too busy a backdrop and requested that it was covered.  A blue UN cloth was hung over the tapestry to make filming easier.  However, the symbolism of covering an artwork depicting the horrors of war in order to make it easier to film a statesman seek support for a war is not lost on Guy.  The composition uses the words of Irish poet Kerry Hardie (written as a description of, and meditation on, the images in the painting) as its recitative, with Yannatou sometimes speaking and sometimes singing the words.  ‘Guernica’ was a small town in Spain that was bombed by Nazi’s at the invitation of General Franco, and Picasso’s painting presents a troubling image of the suffering that this produced.  The centre page of the liner notes has a great photograph of the orchestra playing in front of a projection of this painting.

Barry Guy is as well known on the improvised jazz scene as he is in Baroque music circles, with a long and successful career in both camps.  The composition bridges these two genres superbly to produce a deeply compelling piece.  Throughout the composition echoes of the ‘Agnes Dei’ from Bach’s ‘Mass in B Minor’ appear (with a full rendition of this at the close), together with extracts from Biber’s ‘Mystery Sonata’.  These extracts are played as straight classical, orchestral pieces with appropriate instrumentation and no attempt to ‘jazz up’ or interfere with them.  Elsewhere, Dwyer’s flamenco guitar playing perfectly mirrors the poem’s themes to create a stirring sense of the fear and unease in Guernica; a sense which is elaborated by the free playing of the orchestra members in other sections (inspired by the superb playing by Fernandez) of the orchestra as the piece develops.   The opening ‘Prelude’ showcases Pursglove’s impassioned trumpet voluntary, gradually developing through his drawn out playing (with what sounds like impressive circular breathing in a live recording) into the orchestra creating a stirring, rumbling introduction to the piece.  This dissolves into the first of Dwyer’s flamenco pieces, accompanied by Guy playing mournful plucked and bowed bass lines before Yannatou sings the opening lines of the poem.  As the piece develops, Yannatou deviates from the poem, either making strangled noises of impotent rage or quietly intoning words like ‘Resolution 1441’, ‘weapons of mass destruction’, ‘human sources’.

While Guy has built his reputation on a wide range of musical styles and his compositions for the London Jazz Composer’s Orchestra are well worth listening to, this piece is far and away his best work. A powerful message and an even more powerful example of integrating a range of musical styles into a seamless whole that gets better with each listen.

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