The Jazz UK

Reviews

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

 

SARAH McKENZIE PIZZA EXPRESS JAZZ CLUB 07/12/’17 & 08/12/’17:

This two night residency marked a return to London for this Australian born Singer/Pianist/ Songwriter.

Usually SARAH performs in big theatres, so it was a rare chance for her fans to see her up close & personal.

The line up was SARAH McKENZIE herself on Piano & Vocals then the two English gentleman TOM FARMER on Double Bass along with fellow Brit JOE CALEB on Guitar, I’ll come back to JOE in a moment, plus from New York City on Drums fine Drummer DONALD EDWARDS, who is a new name for me.

JOE is pretty unique in the fact he uses a 7 string Guitar, all of the other Guitarists I know play with a 6 string, but this gives JOE a chance to add a different layer of colour to his playing, which he did to perfection.

SARAH MCKENZIE is definitely a fabulous Pianist, she brought with a mix of a programme featuring songs from her Universal released album RAINY DAY IN PARIS plus well known standards, such as when she dueted with CALEB on EMBRACABLE YOU or BYE BYE BLACKBIRD, DONALD in the second set did a very fine solo, even doing a bit of showboating, when he flipped his left stick & catching it again!.

McKENZIE certainly has a style about her, easy on the eye, presents songs she’s comfortable with and shows why the PIZZA EXPRESS audience warmed to her over her two night run

www.sarahmckenzie.com

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

 

JOHN ALTMAN BIRTHDAY GIG EAST SIDE JAZZ CLUB  EX SERVICE MENS  CLUB LEYTONSTONE 05/12/17:

This marked Marked Arranger/Composer/Bandleader, John Altman’s birthday gig. I have been to this East London venue on a couple of previous occasions, usually to see John’s gigs, I should go more often as I always get treated vary well Indeed by club founder CLIVE FENNER (more about him in a moment) along with the other organisers of this not for profit weekly Jazz club, that has been going for well over 20 years now!. I know they have some big names coming up, please go and check them out!.

Anyway, I digress, back tonight’s gig with multi award winning Saxophonist, JOHN ALTMAN (alto for those of you who were wondering). Joining JOHN on the stage was aforementioned CLIVE FENNER on Drums, DAVE GREEN on Double Bass and the studio session king himself on Guitar MITCH DALTON. DALTON is JOHN ALTMAN’s partner in crime on a monthly residency they have at THE PIZZA EXPRESS LIVE IN HOLBORN, where they interview big stars!.

The evening was neatly devided into two distinct sets, first set was a great line up of various covers while the second featured tunes from an old ALTMAN album.

Each of the members of the band got to do some very nice solo’s, plus JOHN told a little story or fact about each song as well that made the choices even more interesting!.

I look forward as well to seeing DAVE GREEN during the first week of January down at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho when he’ll be with SCOTT HAMILTON.

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

 

ANTONIO FORCIONE GROUP PIZZA EXPRESS JAZZ CLUB 03/12/17:

Tonight’s gig was the first of a 3 night run at the Dean St institution for this Italian born GIANT of the Guitar ANTONIO FORCIONE. What FORCIONE can only do with his instrument most people can only dream off!, he has a very natural & easy relationship with the Guitar, which jumps right out at you from the stage!

One thing that surprised me about ANTONIO ‘The Hat’ FORCIONE was that he wasn’t wearing his now customery Hat!!. With that out of the way, the music ANTONIO & band went onto play was just wonderful!. The band consisted of EMILIANO CONASELLI on Drums:, JENNY AALEJAYAM on Chello: MATTEUS NOVA on Bass Guitar:, are well Customed  to ANTONIO’S way, & this tight band certainly kept up with the Maistro,

I particularly liked the fact that FORCIONE kept changchang round the line up so it had a fresh sound and feel during the two sets.

ANTONIO is brilliant with a audience & even took the micky out of himself on a comedy number which was based on HENRI MANCINI Pink PANTHER theme.

I know a lot of the audience singer up to ANTONIO email list, which is always good sign that they are enjoying the show.

The club was completely SOLD OUT, which it usually is for any appearance by ANTONIO, even on a Friday when he was doing a SOLO show, that too was SOLD OUT.  If ANTONIO FORCIONE comes your way, go check him out!.

www.antonioforcione.com

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

 

ZEETEAH MASSIAH AND BAND THE PHEASANTRY AT THE PIZZA EXPRESS  23/11/17

ZEETEAH MASSIAH is one of those well crafted artists who you just know is going to deliver a top quality show and tonight, she sure did just that!

Like my earlier review of Giuliano Pereira, MASSIAH spent considerable time in Germany, but this Barbados born Londoner is well and truly a risinģ talent who belongs to us in the UK.

This evening gig was apparently only the ZEETEAH second gig with this project and band. ZEETEAH took all sorts of songs from FEVER through to a Michael Jackson number making them her own with a Jazz/Reagge twist, even dropping in a Ska tune along the way!. This headline artist, should be way up there headling big venues, as she can certainly give all the big boys & girls in music a run for their money!.

ZEETEAH was joined on stage by TOMASZ BURA on Piano, PAUL CARMICHAEL on Bass Guitar, PAUL JONES on Drums MO NAZAM on Guitar and ROB HUGHES on various Wind instruments.

The house was jumping, with the band being called to do not one but two encores!. The second set even had dancing in the aisles!!.

An intimate setting like THE PHEASANTRY needs to have good sound/lighting which was brilliantly handled by Alex Merola, it’s so important to get the sound right, as it makes such a difference!!.

I look forward to my next visit to THE PHEASANTRY and ZEETEAH MASSIAH upcoming shows.

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

 

GIULIANO PEREIRA, PIZZA EXPRESS JAZZ CLUB  22/11/17:

GULIANO PEREIRA is a born & bread Brazilian, but you could say he is a citizen of the world!. Before settling in London in 2009, he enjoyed spells in both New York & Madrid, as well as performing in countless other countries such as Canada, Argentina  and Bulgaria to name a few.

GIULIANO PEREIRA QUINTET which was his band that took to the PIZZA EXPRESS stage tonight, truly showcased this wanderlust with a programme of variety wrapped around a Latin feel!.

The music came from his latest project INNER SPACE.

My two favourites numbers of the night came back to back in the second set when first was SONG FOR MY BROTHER followed by LONDON FOR SOPHIA (I never got find out who SOPHIA was).

This particular reviewer couldn’t help but boogie on a couple of the tunes!.

GIULIANO himself led from the front on the Saxophone, although any of the other four could have led with IVO NEAME on Piano, EMILUANO CAROSELI on Drums (nice to see MRS CAROUSELI in the house to, aka singer MARTA CAPPONI)

Electric Bass GILLARD LOPES last but definitely not least GUILLERMO HILL on Guitar.

It was a interesting slot for the band to take at the Pizza Express, just after the hectic & frenetic preceding 10 days which were the LONDON JAZZ FESTIVAL, as Jazz fans can be JAZZED OUT by now, but Promoter NORA JORBA should be very proud of herself getting a very good crowd indeed!.

It was a really enjoyable night all round.

PARISH NEWS:

The Pizza Express Jazz Club had another one of its fundraising nights and due to the generosity of the audience they collected around £120 for MACMILLAN CANCER SUPPORT.

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

EARL OKIN , THE PHEASANTRY AT THE PIZZA EXPRESS 

EFG LONDON JAZZ FESTIVAL 2017, 19/11/17

This was the last night of this year’s EFG London Jazz Festival & it was a total pleasure to be at the closing event of the The Pheasantry At The Pizza Express contribution to the festival.

I was not able to make it to earlier gigs at the Kings Road venue, but what I saw tonight was one of my highlights of the whole festival!!.

In my previous review I spoke about a future true Jazz treasure well in this gig we definitely had a not just a true Jazz treasure but a real living legend in the form of EARL OKIN. This unique London character, is a real artist totally at ease with himself on & off the stage, delivering two sets of pure magic!. You could literally hear a pin drop throughout the gig, with EARL having the audience spellbound!. I know there was a young singer in the audience who was so captivated by OKIN stage presence.

EARL also invited in each set a very special guest PAUL RYAN who was joined at the Piano by KENNY CLAYTON.

The contrast between the EARL & PAUL was noticeable, as EARL presented a varied mix of numbers on both his Guitar & Piano, swapping between the two, while PAUL stuck to his tried & tested Crooner formula of the straight ahead standards. The audience demanded a encore & EARL invited up BOTH PAUL & KENNY to join him on the final number.

The packed out house was treated to two sets of a masterclass in how to deliver a show!. With over 1 million YOUTUBE views & countless tv appearances to his name EARL performed a gig that will live long in the memory.

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

 

FIONA ROSS – BLACK, WHITE AND A LITTLE BIT GREY

RELEASED 17/11/17

Elton John. Phil Collins. Freddie Mercury. Annie Lennox. Within just a few bars of a song/track you recognise artists like those mentioned here. Each one of the previously mentioned have a distinct style/sound/presence. I would add Fiona Ross to this list.

Within moments of hearing one of Fionas’ songs you know it’s her. She has a style and sound that should become a part of everyones’ soundtrack. With this latest album Fiona showcases the breadth of her talents.

Black, White & A Little Bit of Grey takes us on both a vocal and mental journey. The album contains a mix of Latin Jazz, soul crossover and elements of vintage jazz. The album tells the tale of lovers crossed; heartache; distrust – everything associated with an affair. When listening to the album you are taken on a mental journey , perhaps even an emotional rollercoaster – exploring the feelings of each party involved in the story.

The album is well crafted and by the time you listen to the last track “I Broke The Rules” – recorded in a stairwell – the emotion expressed in the execution of the vocals makes you wonder and reflect “what if that was me?”

The passion and belief in her work is so apparent. We have stated previously that Fiona aspires to perfection in her work. She is constantly looking for improvement and is an inspiration to all those who know her

No doubt even as this third album is released Fiona will be preparing the next.

We recommend you pour a glass of wine, light a candle and listen to this album. You might want to add a box of tissues to the list……..

 

OLI ROCKBERGER, PIZZA EXPRESS JAZZ CLUB SOHO, EFG LONDON JAZZ FESTIVAL , 14/11/17:

Tonight’s gig marked the half way point of this year’s L.J.F,  well what a suitable way to mark the occasion it was!

OIL ROCKBERGER had been living in the U.S for 16 years, (10 in Boston & 6 in New York), now however he’s permanently back in the UK & is really making a mark on the Jazz scene & tonight’s efforts did him no harm at all!.

Despite his keyboard playing “hard to get” at the beginning of the show, OLI  carried on as a true professional does, even when house sound man Luc came onto the stage to fix the problem OLI did not miss a beat!.

ROCKBERGER had a great band with him including ‘MR WHIRLWIND RECORDINGS’ himself MICHAEL JANISH on Double Bass MARIOUS ALEKSA on Drums, GEORGIO SCERCI on Guitar. Joining the men on stage was lovely Backing Vocalist RAEVENNAN HUSBANDES. I did notice one thing, normally in Jazz the Piano is on the left, Bass in the middle & drums is on right of the stage, however in this gig the Bass & Drums swapped, it did take me a little getting used to but after a while it was fine.

OLI had the venue ‘ROCKIN’, particularly as he had not 1 not 2 but 3 special guests joining him during the show. First set saw RYAN QUIGLEY take to the stage then the second set first up was lovely U.S Singer BECCA STEVENS, who I have had the pleasure of seeing a couple of times before as she & OLI did a duet of BECCA’s song ALWAYS & then in the encore, was “a real treat” as OLI called it, as he invited the one & only LAURA MVULA on stage who also did a duet with OLI covering a NINA SIMONE number “Be My Husband”, and oh boy!, I was blown away by LAURA, this one can really sing!. It was also nice seeing JO HARMON in the house to. The gig covered OLI’s two albums the latest being WHIRLWIND RECORDINGS release SOVEREIGN & also gave ROCKBERGER a chance to present his old tunes in a new light with some rearranging.

It is great having this Singer/Pianist back in the UK where he will no doubt become a true Jazz treasure in years to come!.

Welcome home OLI!.

P.S, PIZZA EXPRESS LIVE had some news of its own as it was announced that it was the 2017 HALL OF FAME winner at THE LONDON LIFESTYLE AWARDS which means it’s the best of the best!. Congratulations to all of the music office team at THE PIZZA from THE JAZZ UK.

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

 

UKAI PUB- NOTTING HILL/ANGEL OF BOW PUB 12/11/17:
Currently we are in the thick of the London Jazz Festival, yet today I went to two Jazz gigs neither of which were apart of the festival programming, but in my humble opinion, both should have been!
Starting off, I visited the UKAI PUB in Notting Hill on London’s famous Portobello Rd, where a wonderful Brazilian born Singer/Songwriter ANGELITA JIMENEZ was a fronting a trio made up of band leader on Drums HELDER PACK and on Piano THOMAS BURA presenting an afternoon of classic Latin tunes which were extremely well received by the pubs customers. From Notting Hill I went over to Bromley By Bow to another pub, this one THE ANGEL OF BOW where I was again blown away by the talent on display.
My first review, for THE JAZZ UK covered a show called A GIRLS BEST FRIEND by VIVIANA ZARBO, this second gig, saw VIVIANA along with her MarIlyn musicians, Keyboardist MARCO MARCONI & Saxophonist MARCO MAROTTA, present a show this time of Jazz Standards, joined on stage by yet another Italian, Drummer ALFONSO VITALE. By the time i got to the gig, it was well under way, & another Italian special guest, CELELSTE was holding court captivating the audience with her magic!  VIVIANA ZARBO very much knows how to hold an audience imagination, is definitely THE REAL DEAL. I noticed several members of the audience could not keep their eyes off the stage. The boys each performed inspiring solo’s, MARCONI doing so on GOD BLESS THE CHILD was particularly  moving.
When you have incredible talent such as I saw today at both gigs which were not even included in the London Jazz Festival programming, yet were performing some amazing Jazz, all I can say is, who needs the London Jazz Festival!.

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

AKI RISSANEN – ANOTHER NORTH 10/11/17

Aki writes : The music on ‘Another North’ circulates around the ideas we have been developing during the last few years, framed within the Nordic tone as we hear it. With Amorandom, we briefly explored a more energetic world in our approach to our music with compositions such as ‘Bird Vision’. As we toured and developed that music over the last 18 months, our desire to delve deeper in this direction became stronger. As a trio we wanted to collectively discover a greater intensity and energy in rhythmic and harmonic textures, to stand out as a trio from the North. This music is the sum of that exploration!

There are few characteristic things I wanted to define the sound of the album with. Compared with the more pastoral and lyrical ‘Amorandom‘, the new album concentrates more on hypnotic loops and grooves.

To purchase : Aki Rissanen Bandcamp Site

 

PETER CINCOTTI’S NEW 2017 ALBUM : LONG WAY FROM HOME

Long Way Home was written, arranged, and produced by Cincotti over a two year period and is his most personal album to date.

“Never before have I used the piano in this way. A few years ago, I began having these visions of an album that brings active, rhythmic piano playing back into the landscape of modern music,” said Cincotti.

If you threw Billy Joel, Oscar Peterson, and One Republic into a blender, something close to this album would come out.  Cincotti moved to the Jersey Shore to put this project together, of the experience he explains, “At one point, whenever I fell asleep, a new song would introduce itself in whatever dream I was having. So I’d wake up and write it down. Several songs on this album were written that way. It got to a point where I felt like I wasn’t even composing, I was just writing down what was already there.”

Album available from Amazon and other UK outlets

 

GILAD ATZMON ORIENT HOUSE ENSAMBLE, PIZZA EXPRESS JAZZ CLUB, 27/10/’17 & 28/10/’17:

Firstly I would like to say what a lucky so & so I am getting to gig after AMAZING gig after AMAZING gig for free. Tonights offering was no expection!.

GILAD ATZMON has a somewhat interesting reputation, but once you put all the non music stuff of this reedsman to one side & concentrate on his music ability, it is very hard to argue against him!.
Tonights two separate shows were made up from two of his albums with added strings!, THE SIGAMOS QUARTET, Arranger Ross Stephens did a super job of taking Gilad music & fitting it perfectly for a string setting, i was a very pleasantly surprised to see Marie-Anne Haynes in the Quartet who I have known for a while.

Gilad’s own Quartet The ORIENT HOUSE
ENSAMBLE had it’s A Top line up,
GILAD ATZMON -SAX/CLARINET
FRANK HARRISON – PIANO:
ENZO ZIRILLI –  DRUMS:
YARON STAVI – DOUBLE BASS:

These are some of the top Jazzers in the UK on their respective instruments.
ENZO’s Drum Solo in the second set on ATZMON original BURNING BUSH was just Jaw droppingly good!,
As i’vhee just said, the two sets were totally different, the first coming from GILAD’s JOHN COLTRANE album TRANE, the second set featured the music on CHARLIE PARKER influenced album IN LIVING MEMORY OF AMERICA.

The two sets flew by, both audiences thoroughly enjoyed the performance.

ATZMON does take a bit of time to fully understand, with his humour being somewhat GILAD, but once you get It, you come away from a GILAD ATZMON gig really entertained & wanting more!.

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

 

STAN TRACEY LEGACY OCTET, 606 CLUB CHELSEA, 25/10/’17

British LEGENDARY Pianist STAN TRACEY would have been 90 this year, so it’s a good opportunity for his son Drummer CLARK TRACEY to celebrate & remember & honour the legacy of his late father.

This gig at Chelsea’s 606 CLUB certainly did that to an excellent set list made up of STAN’S various compositions & recollections from his iconic 1965 album UNDER MILKWOOD.

Too many musicians to name here but along side TRACEY Junior were some of the UKs finest Jazzers, including Mark Edwards on the Piano, Mark Nightingale on Trombone & Andrew Cleyndert  (already mentioned elsewhere on this page).

Special mention must go to both ANDY & CLARK who did an AMAZING solo each during the performance.

It was touch & go that I was even going to get in to the 6, as it took a while to get the wrought iron gate open, even a few members of the band were waiting!. It took a phone call to club owner to finally let us in!!, but once the seats were taken, I was lucky to be at the bar window with a friend which is probably just about the best seats in the house, a great time was had by all, including a well called for encore!.

It’s great that CLARK feels he can do justice to his father’s work, not being bogged down by it. More power to his elbow!!.

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

 

DAVE KOZ, PIZZA EXPRESS JAZZ CLUB : 22/10/’17- 26/10’17
Well what can you say about DAVE KOZ,
This is a true master of the art of an entertainer, giving his audience exactly what they want, a good time! & they keep on coming back for more!.

Mind you it’s not just the Sax man himself, his band are all excellent well drilled musicians knowing how to handle the set list perfectly!. The A Team is made up off on Keys – Oli Silk: on Bass Guitar – Frank Felix: on Drums – Marc Parnell & Mark Jaimes on Electric Guitar: Having just arrived in by plane from Amsterdam this afternoon, the gang still delivered an AMAZING set of tunes, starting off with OVER THE RAINBOW.

Marking his Pizza Express debut was special guest, JAVIER COLEN  who won the first ever series of THE VOICE US. You could definitely see why this giant would win over tv viewers!!.

Dave has been performing at this SOHO institution for many years now, each of his runs sell out in a hartbeat, this one being no exception!.

Jimmi King, the Smooth Jazz promoter, said the appeal of Dave Koz is simply his accessibility, stage presence & showmanship.

The run continues until Thursday 26th Oct, if you want to go, contact the Pizza Express music office at Dean St. They may have an odd seat here or there at the bar, if you are lucky!.

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

 

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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