Theo Parrish dancing to his own beat at Barbican

House is synonymous with dance. The natural successor to disco and the co-conspirator of techno, the genre is intended to obey a time-honoured impulse in African-American culture – ‘you gotta get up to get down’ – instead of observing the more detached stance of the ‘head nod’, or indeed ‘the profile’ that is largely prevalent in hip-hop.

Interviewed by Josey Rebelle for Time Out prior to this gig, Theo Parrish, a Detroit artist whose Sound Signature catalogue has made him a seminal name in house, made this important point. “People don't know how to dance anymore.” If that was a blunt denunciation of a certain self-consciousness if not confected uber-cool that effectively restricts people from really feeling house music then Parrish addressed the malaise within moments of leading a stellar ensemble – Amp Fiddler [keys], Duminie De Porres [guitar], Akwasi Mensah [bass], Myele Manzanza [drums] – on stage for this sold-out performance. He told assembled fans that his ultimate goal was unity. To that end they had to see their seats as springboards rather than cushions.

A few songs later the crowd duly complied, but it was more than just the beauty of the music that prompted the response to Parrish’s call. His master stroke was to include in his ensemble four brilliant dancers who essentially acted as additional band members, capturing the kinesis of the beat and throwing it back to the audience by way of choreography that blended a sharp pop ‘n’ lock thrust with the looser, more fluid upswing of jazz dance. Just a week before this gig bassist Mensah had performed The Dynamics Of Perception, a brilliant live soundtrack at the Purcell room that also built a bridge between music and dance on film, and this gig seemed to be an uncanny and logical extension of that premise. It was fascinating to see how much the dancers completely led the audience, raising its energy levels time and again with a virtuosic step just as the climax of a piano improvisation can draw a sharp intake of breath from any truly attentive listener.  

Dancer as soloist may have implied jazz, but Parish’s arrangements and musical sensibilities made an entirely explicit application thereof. Any number of songs, particularly ‘Top Of The World’, ‘Chemistry’ and ‘Solitary Flight’, had the kind of harmonic framework of the hallowed 1970s fusion lexicon a la Herbie-Lonnie-Ubiquity, perhaps more pared down to up the rhythmic charge, all the while leaving ample pace for the likes of Fiddler, De Porres and Manzanza to fully extemporize. Particularly impressive was the way that the latter wove fine patchworks of syncopation around the primal 4/4 kick drum pulse, displaying a lightness of touch on the sticks and tympani mallets that brought additional layers to the percussive base of the music. Parrish himself played slinky keys and a sexily squelched-out moog bass, making the point that many progressive producers – think 4-Hero, I.G Culture, Stacey Pullen to name a few – are musicians as well as soundscapers, and that their formative references place Quincy Jones alongside Larry Heard.        

To a great extent, the major clue to the grand cultural sweep of Parrish’s world was the understated quote of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Too High’ that acted as a bed for his opening address to the audience. When one thinks of Wonder’s history – his development of Ray Charles’ soul; his immersion in the worlds of Ellington, Gershwin, the Beatles and John Coltrane; his creation of an advanced electronica and proto-Techno in the ‘70s that is still enormously relevant today – it is clear that the piece could not have been a mo’ better scene-setter.  

Then again the appearance of Parrish’s two vocalists, Ideeyah and Chalin Barton, sealed the Stevie deal insofar as they brought to the table the gospel energy at the epicenter of Parrish’s musical universe, underling the presence of the black church and the essence of congregation that underscore his appearances both as a club DJ and a concert hall bandleader.

If country preachers played no small part in the Civil Rights struggle then guitarist De Porres kept that political gospel connection alive when he recited a list of fallen freedom fighters, from Nat Turner to Fred Hampton, before launching into his most searing wah wah eruption of the night. That said, those with an open mind would have also seen that there was an immense historical dimension to this event. By bringing together jazz musicians, dancers, singers and great songs, Parrish was actually presenting an imaginative update of the heritage of Detroit: a Motown Revue for the millennium. The icing on the cake was the appearance of a British horn section, trumpeter Jay Phelps and tenor saxophonist Ray Carless. Their sweet, soaring brass had an unseated audience walking through the sky. Landmark gig from a monumental artist.     

– Kevin Le Gendre

– Photo by Egle Trezzi

 

Akwasi Mensah kicking it like Bruce Lee at Purcell Room

This superlative live soundtrack was a highlight of the PRSF/South Bank Centre initiative ‘New Music Biennial’, which presented 20 brand new compositions across a wide range of genres. Bunny Bread’s short film The Dynamics Of Perception, an imaginative burst of neo-noir that referenced the ballet-like finesse of Bruce Lee movies, unfurled a set of startling images for which Mensah provided a richly layered score. Known primarily as a bassist who straddles the borders of jazz, broken beat and electronica, Mensah proved himself a composer-arranger of considerable creative depth in this context.

Furthermore, his ensemble had an impressive pedigree: original Jazz Warriors, tenor saxophonist Ray Carless and pianist Adrian Reid as well as the somewhat underrated trumpeter Kevin Davy were joined by guitar, balaphone, percussion, drums and bass guitar to create an array of glowing timbral colours that contrasted potently with the shadowy, edgy monochrome on screen. Though the core sound was a form of driving Afro-funk that produced an intensely physical sound in precise sync with the bracing rhythmic content of the choreography on celluloid, Mensah also elicited much light and shade from his players, directing them towards passages of understatement and restraint that were a strong counterpoint to the visual stimulus. Ultimately, the music managed to imply the psychological and emotional states of the characters as well as reinforce their eye-catching kinetic energy.

For a project of this nature to work the split second precision of the edited images has to be matched by the cohesion and responsiveness of the stage performers. With that in mind it was hugely impressive to see Mensah conduct without a score and instead lock his eyes on the screen, absorb the stream of information and convey that to his musicians so effectively that Bread’s sharp cuts acted almost as on and offbeats in the various movements of the score. Commissioned by Jazz Re:Freshed, a west London scene where improvised music and other genres speak a common language, this was a vital demonstration of how engrossing can be a focused dialogue between sound and image.    


– Kevin Le Gendre      

 

Kit Packham’s One Jump Ahead jiving at the Hideaway


The ultra-stylish Kit Packham’s One Jump Ahead band is now 30 years old. For this Sunday afternoon gig at the award-winning Hideaway, they performed a rollicking set of songs ranging from 1940s and 1950s jump/jive, R&B and classic rock ‘n’ roll, to jazz standards and originals, featuring the band’s core seven-piece line-up: Bandleader and composer, Kit Packham on saxophones and lead vocal, Steve Knight on guitar, Perry White on piano, Alex Keen on double bass, Kenrick Rowe on drums, Tracey Mendham on saxophones and vocals, and Simon Da Silva on trumpet and flugelhorn. Striking in a blue pinstripe suit and fedora, Packham resembled Frank Sinatra, and he introduced numbers in a clear and informative way. They opened with one of the band’s original tunes, ‘Swing It’, which immediately propelled people to the dance floor.

Endearingly, many of Packham’s songs are inspired by people close to him, such as jump-jive number, ‘When I Was In France With Frances’ with its infectious energy heightened by White’s standout twirly fills on piano. The gemstone stood at the centre of the band was the very entertaining sole female, Mendham. Her tenor saxophone solo during swinging jazz standard, ‘Alright, Okay, You Win’, had a stirring, unshowy ease about it, supported by the ramped-up attack of Keen’s walking bass. Knight’s electric guitar sounded unusual played on a jazz standard, but it worked. In their seriously cool dance shoes and fascinating ties, the band demonstrated their neat dance moves throughout Fats Domino rock ‘n’ roll number, ‘My Girl Josephine’, with its brass riffs and White’s bluesy piano singing over the top.

They slowed things down with popular song, ‘Manhattan’ by Rodgers and Hart, for which Packham had written some alternative lyrics and based it closer to home, in South London. The audience belly laughed at comic lines such as, “At Crystal Palace, we’ll spray a phallus on the wall,” offset by the sophistication of Da Silva’s flugelhorn solo, and were startled by a realistically simulated gunshot by otherwise quietly professional Rowe on drums. The happiness emanating from the whole room was palpable during Louis Jordan song, ‘Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby’, to which ardent fans danced in ballroom formation.

The band’s perky theme tune, ‘One Jump Ahead’, contained one of Packham’s signature, impactful abrupt endings and deadpan Knight added even more colour to the act by performing a nose flute solo on The Blues Brothers classic, ‘Minnie the Moocher’. White nailed a stunning boogie-woogie piano solo punctuated by thrillingly deep bass notes from Mendham on baritone saxophone on ‘Choo Choo Ch’Boogie’, and they even managed to squeeze in a world premiere featuring Vera Lynn’s World War II song, ‘We’ll Meet Again’: Loosely named ‘The Last Song Of The Set’, it cleverly welded an old song onto a new one. Eventually the two tunes overlapped, bringing the gig to an impressive end. The time flew; a sure sign that Kit Packham’s One Jump Ahead with its thoroughly well-written arrangements and heartfelt blend of comedy and music, had done a fine job of bringing this classy joint to life.

– Gemma Boyd (story and photo)

 

Dennis Rollins and Courtney Pine crown glorious Glasgow Jazz Fest

Last year’s Glasgow Jazz Festival finished with a desolately sad Bobby Wellins filling the Sunday slot he was meant to headline with Stan Tracey, who had cancelled that morning, the cancer which would kill him, we now know, just beginning to bite. This year by contrast felt like a celebration of jazz’s bright variety, from Courtney Pine to Evan Parker.

The Neil Cowley Trio showcased their Touch and Flee album months in advance of their UK tour to a large crowd, amidst the Victorian ironwork of City Halls’ atmospheric Old Fruitmarket. Though Touch and Flee tunes allowed moments of reflection, the Trio remain a mighty rhythm section, with complexities left simmering on the edges of regular, nimbly thunderous riffs. Berserker-bearded bassist Rex Horan wrung his hands more than once, as Cowley drove his ring-rusty men to their limit. ‘She Flies’ Indian-style drumming began an especially slow build, settling into faint splashes of sound, before Cowley’s jarringly unbalanced solo, like someone limping awkwardly on one gammy leg, levitated him from his seat with its blistering energy, Evan Jenkins responding with a silvery blur of drums.

A frustratingly packed Thursday bill required running from Cowley to catch Sons of Kemet’s finish in the underground, pop-up Rio club, where Shabaka Hutchings’ clarinet and Theon Cross’ tuba conducted a softly intimate dialogue. The night’s late-night Rio jam saw straight hard bop of increasing quality from pianist Steve Hamilton, trumpeter Tom MacNiven and trombonists Phil O’Malley and Kevin Garrity, which Kemet drummer Seb Rochford sat in on with surprising pleasure. Never breaking the straight-ahead mould, he added whiplash force and facility. The wry smile, which often seems about to cross his sombrely introspective face, did so broadly, on this busman’s holiday from the cutting edge.

Thursday also saw Christine Tobin’s take on Leonard Cohen songbook, catching ‘Take This Waltz’’s Old European sadness and rapture, though the mood was handicapped by the Scottish sun surprisingly blazing through the windows. Friday also saw Glaswegian Leo Condie’s thrilling embodiment of the songs of (mostly) Brel and Brecht, his voice vaulting from a body clenched in hapless fury at extravagant injustice. Jacqui Dankworth and Todd Gordon were meanwhile singing Sinatra and Fitzgerald tunes in The Frank and Ella Show, in City Halls’ Grand Hall. Scotland’s National Swing Orchestra were equally adept at a small-group Sinatra medley as at ‘New York, New York’, while Dankworth nailed Ella’s famous scat on ‘How High the Moon’. The pensionable crowd’s deep satisfaction and the songs’ timeless verity justified the nostalgic concept.

Saturday night’s theme was Jamaica’s influence on jazz. The Dennis Rollins Velocity Trio, perhaps taken for granted on the London circuit, connected hard with a Mod-minded crowd at the Rio. ‘Symbiosis’, from their next album, was blaring soul-jazz, building excitement from an exploration of the band’s working parts, while a cover of ‘Money’ introduced Pink Floyd to the notion of the groove. Rollins’ personable style was multiplied by Courtney Pine, who noted that he’d “never been asked to represent the country of my parents’ birth before.” He played a cricketer’s forward-defensive stroke with his soprano sax, but there was no blocking here. His regular ‘Smile/Take Five’ solo exploded into steaming reggae-jazz fusion, and if shape and detail were sometimes lost in his band’s speeding streams of notes, Pine’s equally ceaseless energy and massive heart conquered the crowd. Zara McFarlane was meanwhile triumphing back at the Rio, her voice’s charismatic high cresting and low purr riding a great band. Sweaty, shaven-headed tenor sax Binker Golding’s impetuously intense, bulleting modal bursts ramped up the energy. As McFarlane was roared back for an encore, Golding had already switched gigs to Jazz Jamaica, who got a disappointingly small post-Pine, late-night crowd dancing hard.

The Tom MacNiven/Phil O’Malley Quintet, a new hard bop line-up partly glimpsed jamming earlier, were a warmly comforting way to ease into Sunday at the Tron Theatre’s dark-wooded back bar. The packed tables told of Glasgow’s taste for familiar jazz pleasures, which the festival fully caters for. But in a city poised for profound change in September, Evan Parker’s enduring radicalism also drew a crowd. In an interview preceding a solo gig and one with the Glasgow Improvisers’ Orchestra in his 70th year, he suggested Scotland had been independent since the Poll Tax riots. “People are more politically aware,” he said of Glaswegians in comparison to England, “and have resisted the stupidities of the current regime.” Free jazz’s values stood in stark contrast: “Mutual respect. Egalitarianism. A desire to be a social being.” There would, he wryly noted, “be an opportunity to vote for me later”.

The solo set included moments of slowed suspense, developing into car-horn attack. Sitting on the floor, something shifted in my ears as the sound-waves hit harder, while the folk feeling behind much classical music was hinted at by these rapidly improvised, sometimes indistinct solo symphonies. Parker was still going when I ran for the train. The sun was still out, and I was sated.    

– Nick Hasted

 

Matthew Halsall Gondwana Orchestra raise spirits at The House of St. Barnabas

GondwanaOrchestra11
The House of St. Barnabas
is one of Soho’s secret corners: a Georgian townhouse with a Victorian chapel whose turrets look far older, and more suited to the neighbourhood’s French heritage, it has been devoted to the poor since Victorian times. Ex-Straight No Chaser editor Paul Bradshaw, introducing the first of three summer jazz gigs in the chapel, remembers it as a halfway house for the homeless. It says something for changing times that the homeless are helped more indirectly now, with St. Barnabas no longer a literal house for them in increasingly exclusive Soho, but a non-profit members’ club, which funds education for the homeless. The chapel’s partly candlelit, marble-walled, beautiful intimacy is still an ideal home for Matthew Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra’s spiritual jazz.

Tonight’s set is almost wholly drawn from Halsall’s just-released fourth album, When The World Was One. The exception is opener ‘Music For A Dancing Mind’, led off by keyboardist Taz Modi’s rippling gospel-blues riffs, which settle into a hushed, swaying, two-note rhythm alongside Gavin Barras’ bass, as drummer Matt Davies (standing in for the album’s Luke Flowers) rattles the sides of his kit, echoing in the church. Halsall, in T-shirt and military-style cap, is too bashful to truly take centre-stage, but his Miles-recalling mournfulness on trumpet does end with a clarion cry.

The general Gondwana sound is, though, restfully contemplative, meant for the slowing, not racing, pulse. Just as Halsall’s previous album, Fletcher Moss Park, was inspired by the titular place of meditative sanctuary in his native Manchester, so When The World Was One began with his travels in Japan. Keiko Kitamura’s presence on koto (a high-strung, long wooden instrument) adds an element of authenticity to ‘Kiyozimu-Dera’, named after one of Japan’s oldest Buddhist temples. More importantly, the dry, almost clacking, entwined vibrations of the koto’s strings are a sound of surprise as they hang in the air. Kitamura’s solo to end the first set transfixes the crowd.

GondwanaOrchestra02Before that, a touch of funk bass from the early ‘70s – the Gondwana Orchestra’s touchstone era – begins ‘Falling Water’. Then Jordan Smart’s sinuously circular soprano sax phrases and a comforting Halsall solo characteristically fall away in favour the slow ripple and rustle of brushed drums, bass and Rachael Gladwin’s harp (pictured).

The harp’s presence is one nod to a major Halsall heroine, name-checked on ‘A Tribute to Alice Coltrane’, in which the band’s pacific waves lap at a languid spiritual jazz centre. They occasionally remember to kick things up, too. Smart abandons his hypnotic sax sway to blaze through a blur of notes on ‘Sagano Bamboo Forest’, where Halsall’s mute gives a dirty, wah-wah rasp, and Kitamura plucks a torrent of bent notes one-handed. ‘Patterns’ is another tune where Halsall finds fire to contrast with the liquid flow, before sinking and shrinking into a hunch-shouldered finish. His fingers flicker over the valves on ‘Jura’. Then he finds a lonesome, soulful tone for the hip, almost Brubeckian urban bustle of ‘When The World Was One’, where Smart briefly blows at his hottest.

Humility, beauty and melodic clarity are the goals of all this virtuosity, letting the mind float free while the head gently nods. With a crucified Christ suspended directly above the band as they play these Buddhist-inflected, black American-indebted sounds, we’ve been taken to a very broad church.

– Nick Hasted

– Tom Oldham (photos)

The Journey to the One Summer Jazz series continues at The House of St. Barnabas with Sun Ra 100 With the London Art Collective on 7 July

 

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Ant Law Trio executes dazzling Oxford edict

Ant Law Trio executes dazzling Oxford ed…

Guitarist Ant Law has made two very well received albums...

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Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom shakes some tail at the NT

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom shakes some tai…

With Motown The Musical at the Shaftesbury and Soul: The...

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Georgina Jackson, Claire Martin and Pete Long line up for Best of the Big Bands Part II

Georgina Jackson, Claire Martin and Pete…

The concert’s title conceals its inner purpose – put quite...

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Christian McBride and Edgar Meyer bring the bass to Brighton

Christian McBride and Edgar Meyer bring …

The double bass made a comparatively late arrival to solo...

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The Buck Clayton Legacy Band serve up superior swing at Phyllis Court Club, Henley

The Buck Clayton Legacy Band serve up su…

Buck Clayton’s legacy was a box. Packed, it turns out...

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Tim Garland Quartet dive in to folk and fusion at the Dome Pavilion, Brighton

Tim Garland Quartet dive in to folk and …

The relationship between celebrity and credibility is not always straightforward...

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Stirring strings meet stern jazz with Hans Koller Quartet with BCMG at CBSO Centre, Birmingham

Stirring strings meet stern jazz with Ha…

Pianist Hans Koller chooses his fellow musicians with care. Percy...

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Dakhla Brass go ape at Servant Jazz Quarters

Dakhla Brass go ape at Servant Jazz Quar…

“Upstate Dorset!”, volleying from an audience member towards the stage...

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Mike Hobart Quintet evidently soulful at The Vortex

Mike Hobart Quintet evidently soulful at…

Got a definition for soul? No, me neither. But if...

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Skelton-Skinner All-Stars Shine Across The Thames

Skelton-Skinner All-Stars Shine Across T…

  The imposing members-only Phyllis Court Club overlooks the Thames and...

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Tubby tributes top Southend’s NJA opening

Tubby tributes top Southend’s NJA openin…

Brainchild of trumpeter and bandleader Digby Fairweather, the new National...

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 Steve Fishwick Sextet reach righteous outcome at The Verdict

Steve Fishwick Sextet reach righteous o…

There’s a palpable buzz as Steve Fishwick’s Anglo-American crew take...

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Blicher Hemmer Gadd bring the Hammond boogie to Pizza Express Jazz Club

Blicher Hemmer Gadd bring the Hammond bo…

On the band's website, beside big ups from Gilles Peterson...

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Asaf Sirkis Trio and Tori Freestone take flight at The Verdict

Asaf Sirkis Trio and Tori Freestone take…

Music may be the healing force of the universe but...

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Riley Stone Lonergan/Dave Drake Band free-bopping in Brighton

Riley Stone Lonergan/Dave Drake Band fre…

For such a bijou venue, the Verdict has attracted it’s...

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To Be or Not to Bebop – Derek Nash & Alan Barnes keep the flame alight in Shakespeare land

To Be or Not to Bebop – Derek Nash &…

Alan Barnes appeared at Stratford Jazz Club (at No.1 Shakespeare...

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Jasper Høiby unveils Qualia at The Vortex

Jasper Høiby unveils Qualia at The Vorte…

  Bassist and bandleader Jasper Høiby wears a well-earned smile. It’s...

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Young jazz talents shine at Jazztopad Festival

Young jazz talents shine at Jazztopad Fe…

What defines the festive in festival is not hard to...

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Daymé Arocena showcases soulful talents at The Forge

Daymé Arocena showcases soulful talents …

At just 22 years of age, Cuban singer Daymé Arocena...

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Chris Mapp’s Gonimoblast and Arve Henriksen burst out of the sonic darkness at The Crossing

Chris Mapp’s Gonimoblast and Arve Henrik…

Chris Mapp was one of three ‘Fellows’ (the other two...

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Rising sax star Melissa Aldana gets cooking at Pizza Express Jazz Club

Rising sax star Melissa Aldana gets cook…

It isn’t unusual at events such as the London Jazz...

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Filomena Campus’ spellbinding Monk homage at Theatralia Jazz Fest

Filomena Campus’ spellbinding Monk homag…

Curated by the award winning jazz vocalist, lyricist, lecturer and...

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Richard Pite’s Jazz Repertory Company and Alex Garnett’s Bunch of Five & NYSQ swing London Jazz Fest out in style

Richard Pite’s Jazz Repertory Company an…

The EFG London Jazz Festival’s final day allowed the fleet...

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Kurt Elling, Get the Blessing and Ralph Towner ensure Pančevo punches above its weight

Kurt Elling, Get the Blessing and Ralph …

Hosted in the city’s Cultural Centre and featuring a line-up...

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 Cuban Mela fires up at Camden Forge

Cuban Mela fires up at Camden Forge

The Cuban Mela was inarguably the LJF’s most vibrant closing...

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Terri Lyne Carrington and Charenee Wade hit celebratory soulful groove down at Ronnie Scott’s

Terri Lyne Carrington and Charenee Wade …

If there is such a thing as the short straw...

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Liane Carroll Trio wraps up LJF in fine style at 606

Liane Carroll Trio wraps up LJF in fine …

  Consummate performer and every singer’s vocal idol, Liane Carroll, sidles...

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James Pearson and WordTheatre presents ‘And All That Jazz’

James Pearson and WordTheatre presents ‘…

WordTheatre, a company specialising in live readings of stories by...

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Sam Braysher, Nick Costley-White, The Dixie Ticklers with Johnny Mars set sail at Jazz Nursery

Sam Braysher, Nick Costley-White, The Di…

The Jazz Nursery, set aboard a magnificent replica of Sir...

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Simon Spillett plays up a storm for Foyles launch of Tubby Hayes – A Man in a Hurry

Simon Spillett plays up a storm for Foyl…

Last Thursday saw the launch of the Tubby Hayes documentary...

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Legends gather in somber tribute to Kenny Wheeler at Cadogan Hall

Legends gather in somber tribute to Kenn…

We were promised a smorgasbord of jazz royalty at this...

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Cécile McLorin Salvant draws on the past to captivate at Cadogan Hall

Cécile McLorin Salvant draws on the past…

After a lovely low-key opening set from Femi Temowo, featuring...

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Alto Sax Reigns Supreme At Belgrade Jazz Fest

Alto Sax Reigns Supreme At Belgrade Jazz…

The theme at this year’s Belgrade Jazz Festival was ‘The...

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Hiatus Kaiyote bring cutting edge future-soul to The Concorde

Hiatus Kaiyote bring cutting edge future…

There’s a crush of boho twentysomethings up against Brighton’s Concorde...

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Steve Smith grooves hard with Vital Information NYC at Ronnie Scott’s

Steve Smith grooves hard with Vital Info…

It was the early 1990s when this writer first discovered...

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Knoel Scott takes on tradition at the 100 Club

Knoel Scott takes on tradition at the 10…

If walls could talk then the 100 Club, squeezed between...

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Hypnotised by Hindi Zahra at London's Elgar Room

Hypnotised by Hindi Zahra at London's El…

Given the limitless ocean of music in which the world...

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Turning up the heat at the Tampere Jazz Happening

Turning up the heat at the Tampere Jazz …

Festival directors often have to unhitch hitches right in the...

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Elephant9 turn up the voltage at Electric Brixton

Elephant9 turn up the voltage at Electri…

While Elephant9’s recent studio sets might’ve inaugurated amassing embroideries of...

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Marcos Valle Makes Do At The Brooklyn Bowl

Marcos Valle Makes Do At The Brooklyn Bo…

When taking an evening to see a true legend of...

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Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express Reunite With Jim Mullen At The Jazz Cafe

Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express Reunite W…

It had been forty years since the legendary Jim Mullen...

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Sheryl Bailey gets playful and virtuosic at the Bull’s Head

Sheryl Bailey gets playful and virtuosic…

Sheryl Bailey, one of New York’s foremost guitarists and now...

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Salzburg swings to Jazz & The City

Salzburg swings to Jazz & The City

Austria’s place in the jazz firmament has been well established...

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Vula Viel Launch Good is Good to a rapturous Rich Mix

Vula Viel Launch Good is Good to a raptu…

Last time Jazzwise took an evening to see Bex Burch’s...

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Sheryl Bailey Quartet get Swinging at 606

Sheryl Bailey Quartet get Swinging at 60…

There is a significant coterie of jazz fans that come...

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Leroy Jones Quintet get Soho swinging in style

Leroy Jones Quintet get Soho swinging in…

Three nights in to his five-night stay at Pizza Express...

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Liane Carroll dazzles with vintage performance at Celebrate Voice Festival

Liane Carroll dazzles with vintage perfo…

Liane Carroll celebrated, life, jazz and the unrestrained joy of...

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Huw V Williams’ Hon storms The Vortex

Huw V Williams’ Hon storms The Vortex

On a rainy evening in Dalston, 21 October – ‘Back...

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Bill Frisell bewitches with Strings at Ronnie Scott’s

Bill Frisell bewitches with Strings at R…

It’s a great recipe: take a string quartet line-up, dispense...

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Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet digs deep at Ronnie Scott’s

Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet digs deep at …

For the first time in eleven years, leading US drummer...

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Joel Harrison Quartet get cooking at Pizza Express

Joel Harrison Quartet get cooking at Piz…

The advance billing might have suggested a Joel Harrison solo...

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Aaron Parks Trio goes Zen at Kings Place

Aaron Parks Trio goes Zen at Kings Place…

I’m writing this with one eye on an article about...

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Beat poetry meets backbeats with Barry Wallenstein and Mike Hobart’s Urban Jazz Collective at Vortex

Beat poetry meets backbeats with Barry W…

New York beat poet Barry Wallenstein joined Mike Hobart’s Urban...

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Brighton Alternative Jazz Festival blasts off with Birchall, Brand and more

Brighton Alternative Jazz Festival blast…

With its emphasis on adventurous programming and bids to redress...

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Dave Drake and Riley Stone-Lonergan offer an enthralling glimpse of the future

Dave Drake and Riley Stone-Lonergan offe…

 Anyone bold or foolhardy enough to essay a career in...

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Bobby Wellins brings bright-eyed energy to the Verdict

Bobby Wellins brings bright-eyed energy …

Bobby Wellins is unique; a near contemporary of Rollins, Shorter...

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Stan Sulzmann Quartet weaves wonders at The Vortex

Stan Sulzmann Quartet weaves wonders at …

Stan Sulzmann stepped in for an indisposed Bobby Wellins on Saturday...

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Phronesis, Tingvall and Marsalis power up at Palatia Jazz Festival

Phronesis, Tingvall and Marsalis power u…

The two evenings that we visited the Palatia Jazz Festival...

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Fletch’s Brew whip up an Electric Stew at the Vortex

Fletch’s Brew whip up an Electric Stew a…

As Fletch’s Brew steamed through two sets at the Vortex...

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Robert Glasper Trio digs deep at The Hub, Edinburgh

Robert Glasper Trio digs deep at The Hub…

As the audience waits for the Robert Glasper Trio to...

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Steve Fishwick Trio Out To Lunch at Cadogan Hall, London

Steve Fishwick Trio Out To Lunch at Cado…

I’m tempted to paraphrase the old musician’s joke about not...

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Mark Guiliana, Matt Brewer and John Escreet unlock jazz’s secrets in Siena

Mark Guiliana, Matt Brewer and John Escr…

Such is the quite breathtaking beauty of one of Italy’s...

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Bennett and Gaga, Snarky Puppy and The Bad Plus/Joshua Redman top triumphant Umbria Jazz Festival

Bennett and Gaga, Snarky Puppy and The B…

Umbria Jazz is a brand and like all brands it’s...

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Avishai Cohen and Marcus Miller burn in the heat of Jazz á Vienne

Avishai Cohen and Marcus Miller burn in …

  One of the biggest French summer Festivals enjoyed the hottest...

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Brad Shepik’s Trio explore a Changing Climate

Brad Shepik’s Trio explore a Changing Cl…

Guitarist and educator Brad Shepik’s compositions have attracted sufficient attention...

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Zara McFarlane stretches out at Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho

Zara McFarlane stretches out at Pizza Ex…

Singer and composer Zara McFarlane played to sold-out crowds at...

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Nigel Price Organ Trio 25 July 2015, Kings Place

Nigel Price Organ Trio 25 July 2015, Kin…

  In Michael Chabon’s 2012 novel Telegraph Avenue, the fictitious jazz...

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A party atmosphere reigns supreme at Jazz à Vienne 2015

A party atmosphere reigns supreme at Jaz…

One of the biggest French summer Festivals enjoyed the hottest...

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Soweto Kinch and Kurt Elling hit the heights at the Malta Jazz Festival

Soweto Kinch and Kurt Elling hit the hei…

Soweto Kinch’s gig is nearing its climax when he finds...

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The cerebral meets the popular at the Rigas Ritmi Festival in Latvia

The cerebral meets the popular at the Ri…

As Ramon Valle explains, the Ritmi in the title of...

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Swanage Jazz Fest swings hard with Jean Tousaint’s Art Blakey Sextet

Swanage Jazz Fest swings hard with Jean …

Swanage’s format is well-established and well-understood. A marquee each for...

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Jason Moran, Justin Kauflin and D’Angelo shine at Montreux Jazz Festival

Jason Moran, Justin Kauflin and D’Angelo…

Thomas Rees is swept away by glamour, history and stand...

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Ant Law Quintet zero in at The Verdict, Brighton

Ant Law Quintet zero in at The Verdict, …

It’s been a scant 18 months since Ant Law played...

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Mammoth 36th Montreal jazz round-up with Lovano, Cullum, Mammal Hands, Abdullah Ibrahim among the highlights

Mammoth 36th Montreal jazz round-up with…

Each visit there are switcheroos at the goliath Montreal Jazz...

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Sly & Robbie with Nils Petter Molvaer create blissful ‘Nordub’ at Barbican

Sly & Robbie with Nils Petter Molvae…

A meeting of the world’s greatest rhythm section, two progressive...

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Average White Band Jarrod Lawson get the Rio funking at Glasgow Jazz Festival

Average White Band Jarrod Lawson get the…

Although the concert hall experience is a major part of...

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Manu Katché and Dado Moroni  get Bari in Jazz bopping

Manu Katché and Dado Moroni get Bari in…

This year’s edition of Bari in Jazz marked a transition...

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Black Top funk up Freedom: The Art Of Improvisation Festival

Black Top funk up Freedom: The Art Of Im…

“Yes… central heating.” These words from Cleveland Watkiss, closing Black...

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Joe Stilgoe goes Big Band at The Old Vic for album launch

Joe Stilgoe goes Big Band at The Old Vic…

A packed venue, atmospheric lighting, crystal clear sound and the...

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