Courtney Pine ‘Transition In Tradition’ Band – 20/11/08 Barbican, LJF

After signing my ticket, Courtney Pine politely reminds me it’s “Time to go to work.” Determined to explore what jazz is, he does not seek to give us an answer, but rather present it to us in its various guises throughout the ages. The result is a whirlwind majestic tour of jazz, characterised by the career of Sidney Bechet, the New Orleanian who bought his first Saxophone in Baker Street.

Milton Nascimento & The Jobim Trio - 20/11/08 RFH, LJF

Milton Nascimento is a true great of modern Brazilian music. An iconic singer, his unique voice is matched by exultant songs that betray the influence of the Beatles as much as samba or MPB. Playing alongside Brazilian musical royalty in the form of the Jobim Trio, including the son and grandson of Antonio Carlos Jobim, the concert proved to be one of the highlights of the festival.

The Bays & The Heritage Orchestra - 22/11/08 RFH, LJF

The concept for tonight’s concert was incredibly innovative. The Heritage Orchestra teamed up with The Bays for an hour and a half of improvisation spanning the jazz, classical and dance genres.

Kenny Werner and Martin Speake Quartet - 23/11/08 Wigmore Hall, LJF

‘Even the handclaps sound good in this room’ remarks Martin Speake in reference to the fine acoustics of Wigmore Hall, and it was indeed a fitting venue in which to listen to the closing refrains of this year’s London Jazz Festival, played by a line-up of truly accomplished musicians.

Get the Blessing - 19/11/08 The Vortex, LJF

Emerging as a major strand throughout this year’s London Jazz Festival is indie influenced jazz. Identified by simple and infectious rhythms, blaring horns and thrashing drums Get the Blessing certainly match the criteria. Half of the band, drummer Clive Deamer and electric bassist Jim Barr earned their song writing credentials in 90s trip-hop chart success Portishead, they are joined by trumpeter Pete Judge and saxophonist Jake McMurchie to create a pianoless quartet, what is fast becoming a standard line-up for this newly branded jazz.

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