Calum Gourlay Quartet, 15 November 2019

Calum Gourlay – bass Helena Kay – tenor sax Kieran McLeod – trombone James Maddren – drums Before the quartet began their first set, Calum Gourlay praised the performance of the Wakefield Youth Jazz Orchestra, which had performed as support in the previous hour. He reminded everyone that even the most seasoned professionals had tender…

Alison Rayner Quintet, 8 November 2019

Alison Rayner – bass Steve Lodder – piano Deirdre Cartwright – guitar Diane McLoughlin – saxophones Buster Birch – drums Seafaring people (the fortunate ones, at least), speak of ‘a happy ship’—an apt way of describing the Alison Rayner Quintet, which from the start exuded a warmth and togetherness which can’t be reduced to ‘stage…

The Alan Barnes Octet and Josie Moon: A Requiem Nov. 1, 2019

Alan Barnes, saxes Dean Masser, saxes Gilad Atzmon, saxes Sebastiaan de Krom, drums Dave Green, bass Mark Nightingale, trombone Pat McCarthy, guitar Neil Yates, trumpet Josie Moon, voice For some the combination of jazz and poetry in performance immediately invokes the experiments in both forms, separately and together, throughout the 1950s and 60s, culminating perhaps…

Laura Cole and Alexander Hawkins, 18 October 2019

Laura Cole, piano Alexander Hawkins, piano There can’t be many of us whose musical appreciation is truly boundless. The musical universe is vast; and our ability to apprehend and enjoy unfamiliar musics is shaped by cognitive, cultural and aesthetic parameters which aren’t entirely self-determining. It’s not simply a matter of ‘liking what you know’: there…

Empirical, 4 October 2019

Nathaniel Facey – alto sax Tom Farmer – double bass Lewis Wright – vibraphone Shaney Forbes – drums Half-way through the first set, it came to seem that listening to this wonderful band was the musical equivalent of gazing at a Cubist painting: all angles, planes and perspectives that somehow, intriguingly, made a coherent and…

Ronnie Bottomley’s All-Star Jazz Orchestra, 14 June 2019

Director/Arranger – Ronnie Bottomley Trumpets: Dale Gibson, Gareth Smith, Trevor Vincent, Ian Chalk Trombones: Kevin Holbrough, Lee Hallam, Tom Ianson, Chris Hibbard (bass) Saxes: Jim Corry (as/ss), James Russell (as/cl/fl), Joel Purnell (ts), Simon Kaylor (ts/cl/fl), Rod Mason (bari) Piano – Graham Hearn Guitar – Derrick Harris Bass – Adrian Knowles Drums – Dave Walsh…

Chris Ingham Quartet, May 31, 2019: Getz: A Musical Portrait

Mark Crooks – tenor sax Chris Ingham – piano Arnie Somogyi – bass George Double – drums This was a splendid gig—bright, vibrant and wholly engaging, sustained from the first note, throughout both sets. Following the success of his earlier musical portrait of Dudley Moore, Chris has taken up Stan Getz—no less a challenge, for…

Flying Machines, 29 March 2019

Alex Munk – guitar Matt Robinson – piano/keyboards Conor Chaplin – electric bass Dave Hamblett – drums A glance at the line-up might have suggested two obvious possibilities about the kind of music in store: a guitar power trio + piano, or a conventional jazz piano trio + guitar. In the event, we heard something…

Steve Fishwick / Alex Garnett Quartet, 22 March 2019

Steve Fishwick—trumpet and flugelhorn Alex Garnett—alto sax Mike Karn—bass Matt Fishwick—drums Jazz aficionados can get very exercised about the place of the tradition in contemporary music making. Leaving aside the odd notion that there is only one tradition underpinning the rich and wide history of jazz, live improvisation of a high order leaves little room…

Pete Oxley-Nicolas Meier Quartet, 8 March 2019

Pete Oxley – guitars Nicolas Meier – guitars Raphael Mizraki – bass Paul Cavaciuti – drums   Even before the first note was struck, it was plain that we had in store as much tonal variety as a two-set gig can hold. Between them, Pete Oxley and Nicolas Meier had ten guitars—6- 7- and 12-string;…

Tommy Smith and Brian Kellock, 1 March 2019

Tommy Smith, tenor saxophone Brian Kellock, piano This was as fine a display of musical artistry as one could hope for: the precision and refinement of chamber music brought to bear on the heart and soul of jazz. Much abetted by the unamplified acoustic, the playing was at turns exuberant, tender, hard driving, wondrously inventive—and,…