Fast rising British trumpeter Freddie Gavita is set to launch his debut album, Transient, at a special gig Upstairs at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club on 19 April. Known for his regular appearances on the main stage of Ronnie Scott's with the Ronnie Scott's All Stars, drummer Mark Fletcher's fusion four-piece Fletch's Brew and for his wide range of sideman and session work Peter Erskine, Joe Locke, Kenny Wheeler, Tim Garland, Gregory Porter and many others, this is Gavita's first solo album, which was funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised £5,429. Joined by long-time musical associates, pianist Tom Cawley, bassist Calum Gourlay and drummer James Maddren, the album features 10 original compositions that showcase his strong writing and the group's collective empathy. Jazzwise is proud to present an exclusive video about the album here:

For more info on the album launch visit www.ronniescotts.co.uk

the-bad-plus

Minneapolis piano trio pioneers The Bad Plus have announced, after a seemingly unshakeable alliance for the last 17 years together, that pianist Ethan Iverson is to leave the group at the end of 2017. Breaking the shock news via their Facebook page, the group stated: "As of January 1, 2018, The Bad Plus will consist of founding members Reid Anderson (bass) and Dave King (drums) and new member Orrin Evans (piano). Original pianist Ethan Iverson will finish out the 2017 touring schedule in support of the album It's Hard, culminating in a New Year's Eve gig at the Village Vanguard in New York City."

While the trio has remained intact over a gruelling 150-gigs-a-year schedule, the band has embraced collaboration as part of their consistent run of albums – most recently recording and touring extensively with star saxophonist Joshua Redman. They've also previously worked with vocalist Wendy Lewis, and guitarists Bill Frisell and Kurt Rosenwinkel. It's the latter guitarist that links new recruit Evans and The Bad Plus, the pianist collaborating with Rosenwinkel and Kevin Eubanks on his latest solo album Knowing Is Half The Battle.

Evans is an increasingly prominent and highly imaginative post-bop player, distinguishing himself as a prolific solo artist and bandleader, with his large ensemble, Captain Black Big Band, edgy trio Tarbaby (with bassist Eric Revis and drummer Nasheet Waits) while his own albums have featured such luminaries as Christian McBride, Karriem Riggins and JD Allen among many others. Reporting on the split for WBGO.org, Nate Chinen cites various personal differences between Iverson, Reid and King – with the drummer stating that Iverson's increasingly prominent role of jazz critic on his high-profile Do The Math website, was affecting the group as well as a disconnection with the band's bassist, which had led to the decision for Iverson to leave.

Iverson is already getting busy with new projects including a duo album with saxophonist Mark Turner, plus a live recording with trumpeter Tom Harrell set for a possible release, while his work with the Mark Morris Dance Company, and their piece Pepperland, will be featured as part of the celebrations around the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ iconic album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The work will be premiered at the Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool on 25-27 May.

Commenting on the first time he played with Evans at a rehearsal session in Brooklyn, King stated: "The second he started playing one of Reid's tunes, the sound just exploded out of the instrument. And we needed that: to say, 'You know what? This music is alive.' When it's inhabited by someone who is excited to be there. It just crushed." The band plan to record later this summer with the new line-up, while Iverson will continue to play with them live, the symbolic final date set to take place on New Year's Eve at the Village Vanguard. The new line-up will start playing live in early 2018 with a new album to follow.

– Mike Flynn

– Photo credit of band with Evans: Tim Berne

mancio-broadbent1

Introduced by the great Ian Shaw, a sold out Ronnie Scott's heard what was, unequivocally, one of the gigs of the year. It would be difficult to imagine a collection of original songs in which music and lyrics combine so appositely as Songbook, the new album by Grammy-winning pianist, composer and arranger Alan Broadbent and acclaimed vocalist and lyricist Georgia Mancio.

From the touching album opener 'The Journey Home' to the exquisite melancholy of 'The Last Goodbye', the first song the duo worked on together, the collection proved itself to be a quite stunning achievement, one which succeeds entirely in being both of its time and yet timeless. With other highlights including 'Close to the Moon' and the deliciously circuitous melodic line of 'Cherry Tree', with Broadbent conjuring up torrents of notes, the first set presented a masterclass in how best to frame a song. Bassist Oli Hayhurst and drummer Dave Ohm provided superb, simpatico accompaniment throughout, as understated as it was artful – small wonder that Broadbent was so effusive in his praise of their playing when I interviewed him for Jazzwise.

It was also an evening of firsts: Mancio's debut as a headliner at Ronnie's and, amazingly, Broadbent's first ever appearance at the club. Set two opened with one of the evening's standouts, 'Hide Me from the Moonlight', in which the bittersweet, yearning sensuousness of Broadbent's pianism summoned up the ghosts of Bill Evans and Sergei Rachmaninov, while enveloping Mancio's alluringly sustained melodic line. With judiciously varied tempos, the set also featured the terpsichorean delights of the jazz waltz, 'Forever', the quickfire wordplay of 'One For Bud', and the bossa nova 'Where The Soft Winds Blow', originally penned by Broadbent at the tender age of 17.

Dedicated to the much-loved character actor Peter Vaughan, Ohm's father, who passed away in December last year, the evening came to a moving close with the hauntingly beautiful 'Lullaby for MM'. Heartfelt, intimate and engaging, this was one of those memorable nights where the music-making was completely transporting. Every lover of song will want to add Mancio and Broadbent's tour de force to their collection.

– Peter Quinn
– Photos by Carl Hyde

This year's Jazz FM Awards are now set to take place at Shoreditch Town Hall, London on Tuesday 25 April (moving from Under the Bridge in Chelsea) and are set to honour jazz-loving Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts. Aside from rocking stadiums with the Stones, Watts has a longstanding parallel career playing jazz, blues and boogie-woogie. His most recent album: Charlie Watts meets the Danish Radio Big Band, has just been released on legendary jazz label, Impulse! The Gold Award is set to recognise his lifelong commitment to the music, while he's also nominated in the Blues Artist of the Year and Album of The Year categories for The Rolling Stones' recent blues-soaked long-player, Blue and Lonesome.

Commenting on the special award, Watts said: "I am very grateful to be honoured by Jazz FM for my contribution to jazz and blues. I've always loved and been influenced by the music and its players. It was one of the reasons I wanted to be a musician myself. It's still important that we continue to support this music, to ensure it lives on for the next generations."

The awards night coincides with what would have been Ella Fitzgerald's 100th birthday, 25 April, with the ceremony hosted by one of Jazz FM's original presenters, Jez Nelson, who returned to the station last year. Performances on the night will feature several of the nominees, including acclaimed former David Bowie saxophonist Donny McCaslin, soul-jazz singer Laura Mvula and a special appearance by this year's recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Brit-jazz vocalist Georgie Fame, who will be backed by a band featuring Guy Barker, Alec Dankworth, Jim Watson and James Powell.

Other nominees this year include Gregory Porter, William Bell, Wayne Shorter, Madeleine Peyroux, Gilles Peterson, Anderson.Paak, Kurt Elling, Robert Glasper, Shabaka Hutchings, Yussef Kaamal, Soweto Kinch and Julian Argüelles, while La La Land and Whiplash director Damien Chazelle will be the recipient of this year's Impact Award.

– Mike Flynn

For the full list of nominees visit www.jazzfmawards.com

 SunRaArkestra

It's a long way from Chicago's East Side to the well mannered bohemia of Lewes Con Club via the outer spaceways, but here are the Arkestra, resplendent in shimmering robes, swaying to the beat as their blue-lipsticked singer intones, "We're all living in a space age". The Afro-Futuristic schtick might seem like an exercise in arch nostalgia in these scruffily hip environs were it not for the ferocious energy emanating from their nonagenarian director, Marshall Allen.

A diminutive figure, his splendid attire topped with a pointed hat, he looks like a sprightly hobgoblin. With one hand worrying at his horn as the other clutches convulsively at the air, he leads his cohort from a forest of hypnotic groove into a swamp of anarchic chaos and out again into a rollicking big band riff-fest. When the horns suddenly lock together into a driving unison, with Allen's trademark shrieks swirling above like a flight of demented fruit bats, it's as thrilling as anything on the contemporary scene. Plenty of Arkestra trademarks have survived the passage of more than 60 years intact; enthusiastically amateurish percussion, hoarse impassioned group chants, bravura solo statements, impromptu outbreaks of dancing and offstage invasions by the garishly clad horns. Allen's leadership has maintained both the avante-garde explorations that characterised Sun Ra's original impulse, and the good old-fashioned sense of popular swing-era entertainment that nurtured his roots.

It's like being taken on a journey through the byways of black music history, delivered with equal measures of passion and good humour. Allen's alto tone is capable of surprising sweetness, like a feral Johnny Hodges, and there's great display of the timeless jazz verities from the band before the final inclusive singalong. The Arkestra is like a peripheral planet, eternally orbiting the horizon, yet remaining at the heart of what jazz is all about.

– Eddie Myer
– Photo by Jon Southcoasting

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