Having been a fan of Polly Gibbons' vocal and songwriting artistry ever since a review copy of her debut What's The Real Reason popped through my letterbox back in 2006, this UK launch of her latest album on Resonance Records, Is It Me...?, served to confirm her compelling gift as a storyteller, one of the multifarious reasons why she was a Jazz FM Award nominee for Vocalist of the Year.

Gibbons possesses incredible technical facility, as evidenced from the get-go both in the virtuosic run right to the top of her range in 'Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams' and the way in which every note is absolutely centred, but it's her emotional sincerity and the way she makes her material resonate in an entirely personal way which makes her such a persuasive performer.

Featuring pianist James Pearson, an outstanding presence throughout, guitarist Al Cherry, bassist Chris Dodd and drummer Saleem Raman, the band limbered up with a jaunty account of 'I've Never Been in Love Before', penned by Frank Loesser and excerpted from the brilliant Guys and Dolls. Other first set highlights included an adroitly layered 'Comes Love', a sumptuous 'Wild is the Wind' (one of the new album's stand-outs) and an adrenalised 'Love For Sale'.

Set two unfolded with even greater force and conviction, beginning with the joyously swinging title track co-written by Gibbons and Pearson, and taking in an impassioned 'Dr. Feelgood', a heart-warming 'Sack Full of Dreams', plus the self-penned title track from Gibbons' 2014 album My Own Company, "about getting used to one's own head", she noted.

Written by Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog Jr., and performed here as an intimate piano/vocal duet, 'Don't Explain' saw the singer mining untold depths of melancholy, squeezing the bitter-sweetness out of every note against the backdrop of Pearson's increasingly rhapsodic accompaniment. Delivered with a seismic power and dramatic sweep, a brace of classic blues, 'I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl' and 'Trouble In Mind', brought the evening to a rambunctious close.

– Peter Quinn

 STETSON

Sax powerhouse Colin Stetson plays a one-off solo show in support of his latest long-player All This I Do For Glory at Brighton's historic Duke Of York's Picture House. The virtuoso horn behemoth brings his jaw-dropping technique and muscular post-jazz moves to arguably 'Britain's oldest cinema' on Sunday 3 September.

– Spencer Grady

For more details and ticket information visit www.dictionarypudding.co.uk

Some exciting international jazz names are among the latest additions to this year's 25th anniversary edition of the EFG London Jazz Festival, which takes over the capital's major concert halls, jazz clubs and free-stage spaces from 10 to 19 November. These include what's sure to be a pugilistic piano encounter between veteran Brit-jazzer Keith Tippett and keyboard whirlwind Matthew Bourne, who will then be joined by Tippett's Octet to play music from their latest album The Nine Dreams of Patrick Gonogon (Kings Place, 10 Nov). Genre-hopping fusions connect many of the other additions. These include a fiery Whirlwind Recordings triple bill topped by the Michael Janisch Quartet with Pakistani-American guitarist Rez Abbasi (top right), alongside trumpeter Henry Spencer's Juncture and Zhenya Strigalev Trio (Rich Mix, 10 Nov); Indo-jazz deity and tabla master Zakir Hussain (top left) leads his Crosscurrents ensemble that includes bass great Dave Holland and sax supremo Chris Potter (Barbican, 11 Nov); German piano star Michael Wollny heads up a gravity defying four-piece of dazzling beatboxer/vocalist Andreas Schaerer, ace accordionist Vincent Peirani and scorching saxophonist Émile Parisien, with support from Polish violin virtuoso Adam Baldych with the Helge Lien Trio (Cadogan Hall, 11 Nov); while African and Indo-jazz sounds combine in a danceable triple bill of Soothsayers, Arun Ghosh Sextet and Lokki Terra (Rich Mix, 11 Nov).

The global grooves continue with composer/pianist Roland Perrin's new Brazilian-meets-Baroque choral symphony, which will receive its premiere as performed by the Hertfordshire Chorus, Blue Planet Orchestra, Bishop's Hatfield Girls School Choir and Perrin's Trio (Barbican, matinee performance, 12 Nov). The latter is part of the 25 for 25 commissioning programme that also presents a new work from Beats & Pieces Big Band (Rich Mix, 18 Nov), and Phronesis' daring new collaboration 'Decade Zero' with the Engines Orchestra and composer Dave Maric (Milton Court, 12 Nov). There's also a head-banging Match&Fuse special with Led Bib, Schnellertollermeier and WorldService Project (Rich Mix, 12 Nov); and cult LA fusion-funk-pop band Knower, aka drummer-producer Louis Cole and vocalist Genevieve Artadi, make a rare UK appearance (Scala, 13 Nov); while ascendant trumpeter Christian Scott returns with new music from his Centennial Trilogy (Electric Ballroom, 15 Nov). Two rising female UK stars also appear – singer Zara McFarlane (above centre) performs music from her eagerly awaited third album on Brownswood (Rich Mix, 15 Nov), and trumpeter Yazz Ahmed explores electronica-tinged jazz from her acclaimed album La Saboteuse (Kings Place, 17 Nov).

The Wigmore Hall's intimate acoustics will be the setting for a spellbinding collaboration between classical Indian singer Ranjana Ghatak and Israeli Led Bib bassist Liran Donin for two interactive performances for children (11am on 16 and 18 Nov). And rounding off these additions is top US trumpeter Terrence Blanchard, who performs music from his fi lm scores – Herbie Hancock: By Himself and Robert de Niro's film The Comedians – with the BBC Concert Orchestra as well as a rare performance of Joe Zawinul's grand orchestral vision of one of the world's great rivers, 'Stories of the Danube', conducted by Järvi (Barbican, 19 Nov). Further shows already announced in Jazzwise (media partners of the festival) include Pat Metheny Quartet (Barbican, 10 Nov); Jazz Voice (RFH, 10 Nov); Tomasz Stanko's New York Quartet (Cadogan Hall, 10 Nov); Average White Band + LaSharVu (RFH, 11 Nov); Andy Sheppard Quartet (Kings Place, 11 Nov); Brad Mehldau/Chris Thile (Barbican, 12 Nov); Marcus Miller (RFH, 12 Nov); Richard Pite's 1957: A Jazz Jukebox (Cadogan Hall, 12 Nov); Paolo Conte (RFH, 13 Nov)and Abdullah Ibrahim/Hugh Masekela Jazz Epistles (RFH, 14 Nov) among many others.

– Mike Flynn

Full listings and tickets at www.efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk

 LUME-Festival-2017-graphic-ACE-logo

Those genre-bending bastions of the UK's new jazz wave LUME are back for a second iteration of their annual fest, which again takes place at London's IKLECTIK space, this time on the weekend of 24-25 June.

Among the expected highlights at this year's experimental music summit will be Dee Byrne's space-jazz voyagers Entropi, surface-to-air extemporisers Sloth Racket and an exclusive set from a crack ensemble marshalled by acclaimed vibraphonist/composer Corey Mwamba. Also making appearances across the two days will be arch electronic mage Alex Bonney, tricky granular tension-builders Ma/ti/om, garage-band swingers Archipelago, serial circuit-abuser Tullie Rennie, free radicals Birchall/Cheetham/Webster/Willberg, Laura Cole's folk-imbued Metamorphic septet and shapeshifting big band LUMEkestra. Look out too for the inevitable merchandise trails, special lucky-dip improv sessions and live artist Gina Southgate's flying flecks of paint.

– Spencer Grady

For more details and ticket info visit www.lumemusic.co.uk

 

The line-up has been announced for this year's Manchester Jazz Festival, which takes place over 10 days and nights from 28 July to 6 August at concert halls, clubs and public spaces around the city.

The 22nd edition of the festival is set to mark this year's celebration of a century of jazz, taking up the #Jazz100 campaign with 100 gigs and 100 hours of music to mark this musical milestone. With its distinct focus on nurturing new talent and commissioning new works, the MJF programme only includes one big US name in the form of sax star Joshua Redman and his Still Dreaming Quartet. They will play their only UK gig at the RNCM Theatre on 4 August. Consisting of trumpeter Ron Miles, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Brian Blade, they reinterpret Redman's father, Dewey's music from his 1970s and 1980s Old and New Dreams quartet.

The festival also features the second performance (after its premiere at Cheltenham Jazz Festival) of powerful Scandi-Brit trio Phronesis' dazzling jazz-into-classical collaboration with the Engines Orchestra on composer Dave Maric's 'Decade Zero'. Other UK stars appearing include Denys Baptiste's Late Trane Quintet and trumpeter Laura Jurd's post-Bitches Brew four-piece Dinosaur. Adventurous music making runs across the rest of the programme with appearances by Mancunian jazz-rock-ambient crew The Breath; cello and voice duo Leïla Martial and Valentin Ceccaldi; a rarefied vocal/piano collaboration between Lauren Kinsella and Kit Downes; a mass saxophone mash-up led by Andy Scott who fronts the talent-packed 14-piece sax colossus Group S that includes John Helliwell and Mike Hall among the massed horns, as well as stellar pianist Gwilym Simcock.

International interlopers include danceable punk-edged Belgian band BLOW Trio; Copenhagen-based septet Horse Orchestra's raw blend of free improve and anarchic theatricality; plus Latin-American sextet Toco Madera who whip up an Afro-Caribbean rhythm storm. The global grooves continue with superlative all-female septet Nérija; Indo-jazz fretless bassist/tabla maestro Shri's brass-driven Just A Vibration big band; plus a small army of horn-heavy groups bringing the Mardi Gras to Manchester, including Back Chat Brass, Heavy Beat Brass Band, Loud Noises Brass, The Big Brass Love-In, Locking Horns Brass Jam, Brass Gumbo, Northern Monkey Brass Band, New York Brass Band and the kicking Riot Jazz Brass Band.

The festival impressively spotlights new talent once again with names to watch out for including Skeltr; Perpetual Motion Machine; Dan Whieldon Quartet; Rebecca Nash's Atlas; Andre Canniere's Darkening Blue sextet; genre-splicing seven-piece Collocutor and chamber-jazz quartet Tiptoe. And capping things off is this year's Irwin Mitchell MJF Originals commission that has been awarded to pianist/composer Andy Stamatakis-Brown, a former Peter Whittingham award winner, whose 'Cottonopolis' will form a 'a jazz, video and dance-music experience' at a surprise location in the city.

– Mike Flynn

For full listings and tickets visit www.manchesterjazz.com

Page 5 of 189

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