Southampton's Turner Sims concert hall has a bumper crop of top UK and international names lining up for its 2017 autumn/ winter schedule. Chief among these will be a concert by revered British composer/trombonist Mike Gibbs (top left) as he celebrates his 80th birthday year, where he will conduct an all-star 18-piece band made up of the cream of British jazz talent on 29 September.

The strong bookings continue with Brel, Ferre and Piaf songs from chanteuse Ute Lemper (16 Sept); fast emerging Luxembourg piano/bass/drum threesome Reis/ Demuth/Wiltgen Trio (6 Oct); jazz-edged electronica group Portico Quartet (13 Oct); swinging Texas trio Hot Club of Cowtown on their 20th anniversary tour (28 Oct); and a riot of freeform music making from renowned Dutch improvisers ICP Orchestra (above right, 31 Oct).

The excellent bookings continue into the autumn and early part of 2018 with numerous highlights including resurgent tenor titan Deny Baptise (top) and his powerful The Late Trane project (3 Nov); new music from the Andy Sheppard Quartet as they play material from his forthcoming ECM album, Beyond The Dancing Sun (10 Nov); the fiery beat-laden sounds from trumpet star Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah and his top-notch band (16 Nov); emerging US piano sensation Aaron Diehl Trio (24 Nov); the suave post-bop and swing of Darius Brubeck (21 Dec); sax'n'drum demons Binker & Moses (12 Jan 2018); the 10th anniversary tour of Brit-jazz powerhouse Beats & Pieces Big Band (20 Jan 2018) and the finely poised classical/ electronica influenced music of Trish Clowes' My Iris band (27 Jan). Jazzwise is media partner for this concert series.

– Mike Flynn

For more info and full listings visit www.turnersims.co.uk

This year's edition of the Steve Reid Innovation showcase will take place on 12 September at Omeara, London SE1, and includes rising star saxophonist Nubya Garcia (above) who is gaining recognition for her work with her own 5tet, all-female septet Nérija, spiritual jazz ensemble Maisha and her high-energy hook up with tuba titan Theon Cross.

Other artists appearing at the showcase are flautist/singer/producer Ola Szmidt, singer songwriter John Elliott aka The Little Unsaid and emergent jazz drummer Femi Koleoso. The Steve Reid Foundation was set up by DJ/broadcaster Gilles Peterson after he witnessed late great drummer, Reid, suffering in terrible poverty after he was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2009.

The Steve Reid Innovation Fund is run by PRS Foundation and the Steve Reid Foundation, and offers "vital support to unsigned artists pushing musical boundaries", with each artist appearing at the showcase receiving development bursaries and mentoring from the Foundation.

– Mike Flynn

For more info visit www.prsformusicfoundation.com

Watch Nubya Garcia perform a unique duo jam with keyboardist Joe Armon-Jones

Pianist and composer Tom Millar starts his autumn tour this month in support of his debut album, Unnatural Events, which is released on 15 September on emergent imprint Spark Records. Inspired by places and people that are important to Millar, the pianist is joined by the talents of bassist Misha Mullov-Abbado, guitarist Alex Munk and drummer Dave Storey, with acclaimed singer Alice Zawadzki featured on two tracks on the album.

Millar and his quartet play the following dates: Matt and Phreds, Manchester (7 Sept); Cafe Lento, Leeds (8 Sept); Lighthouse, Deal (10 Sept); Sproggit's, Leeds (18 Sept); Basement Jazz Bar, York (19 Sept); Pizza Express Jazz Club, London (20 Sept); Jazz at Future Inns, Bristol (21 Sept); Hot Number Cafe, Cambridge (22 Sept); Herts Jazz, Welwyn Garden City (24 Sept); Bull's Head, Barnes, London (27 Sept); Players' Theatre, Davenham (28 Sept); Kenilworth Jazz Club @ Kenilworth Rugby Club (2 Oct); Cafe Jazz, Cardiff (5 Oct); Burdall's Yard, Bath (6 Oct); Keble College, Oxford (19 Oct); Chichester Jazz (Oct 20 Oct); Jazz at the Spotted Dog, Birmingham (24 Oct); Swing Unlimited, Bournemouth (25 Oct); Ram Jam Club, Kingston (26 Oct) and Green Note, Camden (15 Nov, as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival).

– Mike Flynn

For more info visit www.tommillar.com

 Stetson2

Colin Stetson has enough draw to fill this arthouse cinema on a Sunday night; his collaborative discography reads like the tracklist for a Starbucks compilation full of bands who make the sort of poignantly uplifting, evocatively progressive music often associated with hipster-indie movies, from Bon Iver to Arcade Fire to Feist to The National, so it's a fitting choice of venue.

A lone figure in jeans and white t-shirt, bearded and neatly coiffed like an urban lumberjack, he covers himself with contact mics in the mode of an undercover agent on a sting, then selects an alto-sax from the array of gleaming pipework before him, raises it to his lips and launches into 'Spindrift' from his most recent album, All This I Do For Glory. A glittering torrent of arpeggiated triads burst forth, delivered in a hard, skirling tone, amid a wash of cavernous reverb. His mastery of circular breathing is soon apparent as the streams of notes gush forth in an unyielding fortissimo, the enormous reverb causing the overtones to build into shifting, overlapping patterns, like a one-man Steve Reich ensemble, while the amplified clicking of the pads provides a rhythmic counterpoint. The ferocity of his electronically-augmented onslaught occasionally threatens to overwhelm the PA's capabilities; a pulsing major third in the low register sets up a driving bassline, and then Stetson simultaneously begins to hum a wordless melody from back in his throat, which floats spectrally over the hypnotic waves of sound.

Stetson3

After this first salvo, it's time to bring out the big gun - his trademark bass saxophone. The thunderous impact of its low-end draws whoops from the crowd, entirely filling the cavernous space. During 'Judges', from his 2011 release, Stetson sets up a harmonically simple bassline that cycles round a minor key chord progression, adding roars and yelps in the upper harmonics like a didgeridoo player, while the clicking of the pads add a driving percussion. The ability to play multiple parts at once, without recourse to loop pedals or other sampling technology, is Stetson's great discovery – all his compositions are cut according to the same template, with repeating bass figures marching under ghostly high-frequency melodies, and despite the occasional controlled outbreaks of skronking free-jazz chaos there's a simple, wistfully big-sky melodic sense going on that explains his fit with his indie collaborators, and which contrasts intriguingly with the undeniably macho demonstration of physical strength.

If the bass sax was low, the contrabass clarinet is even lower – 'Between Water And Wind' commences with a dense fog of low frequency enveloping the auditorium and continues with the unrelenting buzzsaw drone and hum of industrial machinery. It's fascinating and a little unnerving to see a man push himself to the limits of physical endurance in the name of art – "We usually get some fainters in the audience," says Stetson, and those susceptible to panic attacks should perhaps approach with caution. For the most part, the music arising from this unique performance style, utterly devoid of dynamic variation or any interspersion of silence, has an otherworldly, hypnotic power, but on occasion Stetson's yelping and hooting over the endless grind shades over into the cartoonish, like listening to the Clangers lost and adrift in a bottomless chasm. The Duke of York's was originally opened as a turn-of-the-century music hall and variety theatre, and one could imagine the watching spirits of it's vanished prestidigitators, quick-change artists and escapologists would have felt a kinship with this remarkable performer.

– Eddie Myer
– Photos by Agata Urbaniak 

 

UPDATE: Since this story was first published (here and in the October issue of Jazzwise) this event has been cancelled due to a deterioration Giovanni's health.  

Some of the UK's leading percussionists will be gathering at Camden's Jazz Cafe on 4 October for a special fundraising concert in aid of raising money for legendary conguero Giovanni Hidalgo, whose ongoing battle with diabetes has prevented him from performing live for the last two years. The evening will be hosted by Jamiroquai percussionist Sola Akingbolaas and feature top UK percussionists Sidiki Dembele and Will Fry in a night of explosive Afro-latin jazz-funk that will include Hidalgo's first UK performance since 2009.

There's also an additional online crowd-funder fund-raising auction sponsored Latin Percussion and GEWA Music, with prizes including LP Giovanni Signature Series instruments including Giovanni Hidalgo Galaxy Bongo, Giovanni Hidalgo Wood Djembe and other LP percussion instruments and accessories. Proceeds from the concert and auction will benefit his medical fund and help provide needed support.

– Mike Flynn

For full details visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/show-of-hands

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