Trish Clowes and Vula Viel Among Those Scoring Scarborough Fest Successes

 

Amid the Victorian splendour of the Spa and sweeping views of the South Bay, the 2016 Scarborough Jazz Festival was jam-packed with talent, encompassing a wide variety of styles and genres, and frequented by an audience with refreshingly open ears.

The festival opened with pianist Gareth Williams and saxophonist Trish Clowes (pictured top). The pair instantly sparked off each other on Gordon Jenkins' ballad 'This is All I Ask', with Clowes' warm tenor sound filling the Spa's Grand Hall. Between the slow funky groove of Wayne Shorter's 'Aung San Suu Kyi' and standards such as 'Don't Ever Leave Me' and 'Everything I Love', came a new commission by Williams called 'Traffic Noise', with influences of minimalism and a catchy opening left-hand hook. There was also original material from Clowes in 'Pfeiffer and the Whales', taken from her Pocket Compass album. Inspired by whale watching and a visit to Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, Clowes evoked whale song with multiphonics blown over resonating piano strings, before gradually introducing a beautiful main melody.

Billed under the 'Something Different' section of the festival programme, the trio of Mark Lockheart (sax), Liam Noble (piano) and Jasper Høiby (bass), whose first name letters combine to form their band name Malija, provided one of the standout performances of the weekend. Drawing on tunes from their first album together, The Day I Had Everything, Malija opened with 'Wheels' and 'Almost a Tango', both of which had moments of uncompromising dissonance, with Noble never afraid to venture into bi-tonal waters. Appropriately enough, the highlight of the set was a tune simply called 'Malija'. Noble layered shimmering countermelodies over the delicate central theme, and there was a palpable sense that all three players were contributing and listening as equals, creating their own unique chamber music. Høiby's bass-playing was intelligent and imaginative throughout, often providing the glue that kept Lockheart and Noble together, but by no means taking a back seat and shining in particular on his solo epilogue to 'Squared'.

Judith-OHiggins-scarborough

The Abstract Truth Big Band – a special ensemble created by saxophone power duo – Dave and Judith O'Higgins (pictured above)to celebrate the music of Oliver Nelson's iconic 1961 album – performed arrangements by Jörg Achim Keller, in which Nelson's original seven-piece scores are expanded to fit full big band forces. Original Freddie Hubbard and Eric Dolphy solos from the recording are transcribed and transformed into virtuosic tutti passages, and the themes from classics such as 'Stolen Moments' felt as if remastered in high definition 3D. The band itself had an all-star cast: Mike Lovatt's lead trumpet threatened regularly to take the roof off the Spa, Sam Mayne wowed with his alto on 'Butch and Butch', and 'Yearning' featured great solo work from Mark Nightingale on trombone and Martin Shaw on trumpet. Dave O'Higgins came to the fore on 'Hoe Down' with a full-bodied tenor sound, and drummer Sebastiaan de Krom delivered power and panache in the engine room.

Pianist Alex Webb explored Charlie Parker's mid-1940s recordings for the Dial label with a live sextet featuring Nathaniel Facey on alto and his Empirical stablemate Shaney Forbes on drums. The band played tunes made famous by Bird's iconic Dial sessions, such as 'A Night in Tunisia', 'Moose the Mooche' and 'Scrapple for the Apple', and in between numbers Webb highlighted the context of Parker's struggles with addiction and his six-month stint in the psychiatric ward of Camarillo State Hospital in 1946. Facey fared well in the unenviable task of representing Parker on stage; delivering inventive, intricately ornamented lines at blistering pace, and dispatching a beautiful cadenza at the end of 'The Gypsy'. Vimala Rowe joined on 'Dark Shadows' and 'This is Always', providing rich vocals.

Vula Viel brought cascades of polyrhythms and compound time signatures to the party. Featuring Bex Burch on the gyil (a type of Ghanaian marimba), unassuming pentatonic melodies gave way to rhythmic and metric mischief as the band's two kit players joined the fray and Dan Nicholls cultivated cavernous bass sounds and shifting 1980s synth textures. Drawing upon traditional Dagaare music, Burch and her band transformed these melodies and harmonies to produce rhythmically supercharged tunes, packed with energy and seasoned with electronica.

Barnes-Waterman-Nightingale

Elsewhere, Alan Barnes and Dave O'Higgins showcased a series of arrangements and compositions for five saxes and rhythm section. Barnes' 'Orejas de Cerdos' (Pigs Ears) had a terrific latin groove, and an arrangement of Count Basie's 'Topsy' had all five saxes roasting through a transcribed and harmonised Sonny Stitt solo.

Late on Saturday night, Steve Waterman, Mark Nightingale and Alan Barnes (above) surveyed the music of Henry Mancini, as part of a specially formed sextet. Nightingale's arrangement of 'A Shot in the Dark' was given plenty of groove by young bassist Adam King. The festival also gave a platform for the next generation with a performance in the Spa's Sun Court by the E.A.S.Y. (Eastern Area Schools Youth) Jazz Orchestra, with special guest leaders Alan Barnes and Gareth Williams – highlighting the vital role the Scarborough Area Music Centre plays for developing young musicians in North Yorkshire.

Scarborough Jazz Festival is flourishing through bold programming and a refusal to be just one thing. Bebop is as welcome here as the avant-garde, duos sit alongside big bands, and ballads from the Great American Songbook coexist with thumping new beats.

– Jon Carvell

– Photos by Mike Jackson

The E.A.S.Y Jazz Orchestra is raising funds to support young musicians in North Yorkshire www.scarboroughareamusiccentre.co.uk

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Breaking News

Campaign builds to rename Williamsburg Bridge in Sonny Rollins’ honour

Campaign builds to rename Williamsburg B…

It's been four years since Sonny Rollins, 86, last took...

Read More.....
Boogie at the Bandstand – the Love Supreme low-down

Boogie at the Bandstand – the Love Supre…

Ahead of the start next week of the fifth edition...

Read More.....
Tin Men and the Telephone and Tord Gustavsen for Ronnie’s Piano Trio Fest

Tin Men and the Telephone and Tord Gusta…

The fourth edition of the Ronnie Scott's International Piano Trio...

Read More.....
Marcus Miller, Chick Corea and Charles Lloyd top Blue Note at Sea cruise 2018

Marcus Miller, Chick Corea and Charles L…

Following the success of the inaugural Blue Note at Sea...

Read More.....
Alice and John Coltrane Celebration, Nik Bärtsch and Eliane Elias added to EFG London Jazz Festival

Alice and John Coltrane Celebration, Nik…

A raft of new concert hall additions have been announced...

Read More.....
Laila Biali and Idang Rasjidi Syndicate shine at Borneo Jazz Festival

Laila Biali and Idang Rasjidi Syndicate …

Set against the lush tropical gardens that stretch down from...

Read More.....
Doom Crooners Dale Cooper Quartet & The Dictaphones: Torch Song Cult

Doom Crooners Dale Cooper Quartet & …

Britanny-based brigands Dale Cooper Quartet & The Dictaphones have forged...

Read More.....
Ollie Howell ‘Knew’ video exclusive ahead of UK tour dates

Ollie Howell ‘Knew’ video exclusive ahea…

Fast rising drummer Ollie Howell recently released his second album...

Read More.....
Theo Crocker, Neil Cowley Trio and Martin Taylor step up for Glasgow

Theo Crocker, Neil Cowley Trio and Marti…

The 31st edition of the Glasgow Jazz Festival, running from...

Read More.....
Geoff Simkins, Nikki Iles and Dave Green out to lunch at Cadogan Hall

Geoff Simkins, Nikki Iles and Dave Green…

Although billed as individuals, this effectively was the Geoff Simkins...

Read More.....
Marco Colonna and Filippo Vignato Among Homegrown Heroes At Novara Jazz, Italy

Marco Colonna and Filippo Vignato Among …

  A ritual accompanies the end of every concert at this...

Read More.....
Jazz In The Round, Arena and Bandstand names complete Love Supreme Line-Up

Jazz In The Round, Arena and Bandstand n…

A final flurry of additional performances have been confirmed for...

Read More.....
Folk-Jazz on the Fjords and Elephant9 get gnarly at Nutshell Jazz

Folk-Jazz on the Fjords and Elephant9 ge…

Suddenly, a burly Viking saxophonist is softly blowing a ballad...

Read More.....
Loueke and LRK light up Brussels Jazz Weekend

Loueke and LRK light up Brussels Jazz We…

Real Brussels is nothing like the Brussels of politicised fiction...

Read More.....
Maisha celebrate the Alice Coltrane Songbook at Church Of Sound

Maisha celebrate the Alice Coltrane Song…

The spiritual jazz legacy of Alice Coltrane is set for...

Read More.....
Soft Machine fire-up Elgar Room

Soft Machine fire-up Elgar Room

British jazz-rock legends Soft Machine will be firing up the...

Read More.....
Brad Mehldau Trio, Georgie Fame and Camilla Beeput shine at Bath Festival

Brad Mehldau Trio, Georgie Fame and Cami…

Brad Mehldau, Georgie Fame with Guy Barker's Big Band and...

Read More.....
Tenth edition of Made in the UK rolls up to Rochester

Tenth edition of Made in the UK rolls up…

This year's 10th edition of the Made in the UK...

Read More.....
Django Bates Salutes Sgt. Pepper’s 50th anniversary with album and six nights at Ronnie Scott’s

Django Bates Salutes Sgt. Pepper’s 50th …

Jazzwise can exclusively announce that Django Bates, cover star of...

Read More.....
John Surman scoops Ivor Novello Jazz Award

John Surman scoops Ivor Novello Jazz Awa…

Brit-jazz sax great John Surman has won the Ivors Jazz...

Read More.....
Polly Gibbons gets passionate at Pizza Express Jazz Club

Polly Gibbons gets passionate at Pizza E…

Having been a fan of Polly Gibbons' vocal and songwriting...

Read More.....
Sax Star Stetson Plays Historic Brighton Picture House

Sax Star Stetson Plays Historic Brighton…

  Sax powerhouse Colin Stetson plays a one-off solo show in...

Read More.....
LUME Launch Follow-Up London Fest

LUME Launch Follow-Up London Fest

  Those genre-bending bastions of the UK's new jazz wave LUME...

Read More.....
Global Fusions and 25 for 25 Commissions Fire-Up EFG London Jazz Festival

Global Fusions and 25 for 25 Commissions…

Some exciting international jazz names are among the latest additions...

Read More.....
Joshua Redman, Phronesis/Engines Orchestra and Cottonopolis for Manchester Jazz Festival line-up

Joshua Redman, Phronesis/Engines Orchest…

The line-up has been announced for this year's Manchester Jazz...

Read More.....
Harpist Bzhezhinska strums up whole-hearted homage to the Coltrane legacy

Harpist Bzhezhinska strums up whole-hear…

  One of the capital's lesser known jazz venues, Toulouse Lautrec...

Read More.....
Norma Winstone and Interplay show how it’s done

Norma Winstone and Interplay show how it…

When a top vocalist is in such high demand and...

Read More.....
Andrew McCormack accelerates with Graviton album launch

Andrew McCormack accelerates with Gravit…

Award-winning pianist Andrew McCormack is set to make a dramatic...

Read More.....
Corea Crowns Host Of Cheltenham Charms

Corea Crowns Host Of Cheltenham Charms

A successful jazz festival is made in the mix: the...

Read More.....
The Rolling Stones give Jazz FM Awards the blues

The Rolling Stones give Jazz FM Awards t…

Rock'n'roll icons The Rolling Stones walked away from last week's...

Read More.....
Penguins Flip Filmic Treat At Bristol's Colston Hall

Penguins Flip Filmic Treat At Bristol's …

GoGo Penguin have always had one eye on the dancefloor...

Read More.....
Intakt Fest Goes International At The Vortex

Intakt Fest Goes International At The Vo…

  Given the fact that Swiss record company Intakt has been...

Read More.....
Shabaka Hutchings, Donny McCaslin and The Rolling Stones among Jazz FM Awards winners

Shabaka Hutchings, Donny McCaslin and Th…

The fourth edition of the Jazz FM Awards, presented by...

Read More.....
Special London Screening Of Ascenseur Pour L'échafaud

Special London Screening Of Ascenseur Po…

As part of the global celebrations for International Jazz Day...

Read More.....
Norma Winstone’s Interplay line-up for Leamington Spa

Norma Winstone’s Interplay line-up for L…

To coincide with International Jazz Day, Leamington Spa-based promoters In...

Read More.....
Alice Zawadzki and Gwyneth Herbert sing with Sam Lee’s Nightingales

Alice Zawadzki and Gwyneth Herbert sing …

Adventurous Mercury Prize-nominated folk singer Sam Lee's nature-bound concert series...

Read More.....


Qobuz-ad

 

Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

Nick Prol & The Proletarians: wondrous Loon Attic mind-flubbers, crisping brain circuits https://t.co/pWtbnP8yCo @CUNEOFFICIAL @RecCollMag
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@DaftLimmy You've kept this quiet...
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
Campaign builds to rename Williamsburg Bridge in Sonny Rollins’ honour https://t.co/s75PT9WVTT https://t.co/mpe7Ten72x
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@DiscoveryRecor1 @hawkinsmusic @LauraJurd @juliekjaersax @percypursglove Soon the world will be ours... they alread… https://t.co/3tnHoDEocj
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@DiscoveryRecor1 @hawkinsmusic @LauraJurd @juliekjaersax @percypursglove Hey Discovery, not Jon... a minion...
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

Sign up to the Jazzwise monthly E-Newsletter