Kate Williams Quartet, 8th Dec. 2017

However a jazz quartet is configured, it is not a simple matter to predict how they will programme their music and divide the work. And so it was with the Kate Williams Quartet: piano-led with flute embellishments? A piano trio with the flute as the front-line instrument? Or a tight, well-integrated quartet in which the…

Jasper Høiby’s Fellow Creatures, 1st Dec. 2017

The band had experienced several changes since the personnel posted in our programme. The latest in the week of the gig when Josh Arcoleo (already replacing Mark Lockheart) suffered a hernia. However George Crowley’s addition was no handicap, he sinuously interweaved his playing with that of Laura as though they did nothing else. His feature in…

Phil Meadows Project, 24th November 2017

Contemporary in feel but with obvious relationships to the jazz they have inherited this band showed the skills of the technician and the creativity of the new generation. Phil Meadows sax playing could be as fluent as anyone’s yet he restrained himself by playing sensitive ballads for much of the night. A gradual climax or tempo change …

Arun Ghosh Band, 17th November 2017

In the decades since jazz ceased to be popular dance music, many of its hybrids invite a certain attentive seriousness in live performances as well as in recordings. Even with relaxed performers and in informal settings, it sometimes seems that ‘entertainment’ isn’t thought to be entirely compatible with serious musicianship or audience appreciation. The Arun…

Dave O’Higgins Quartet, 9 November 2017

Across Dave O’Higgins’ many appearances at Wakefield Jazz over the years, the distinguishing feature of his tenor playing is how well constructed his playing is, whatever the material or tempo. While his playing also delivers plenty of fire, his deep and expressive musicianship is most clear in the inventiveness and clarity of his lines. This…

Jamie Brownfield Quartet, 3rd Nov.

Chamber jazz this wasn’t—and all the better for it: robust, rollicking and hugely entertaining, this is a band that really knows how to put on a show. Jamie Brownfield is a fine trumpeter, with a technique that was able to give expression to that instrument’s many incarnations, from New Orleans to be-bop; and although there…

Christine Tobin Trio, 27th Oct 2017

However compelling the material and accomplished the performers, a jazz trio comprising only voice, guitar and bass needs to have everything—programming, instrumental/vocal balance, pace and mood—well thought-out and in good order. The options are as numerous as for a larger ensemble, but the stakes are higher; and all three needed to be on top form….

New Focus Quartet, 20 October 2017

New Focus wasn’t far into the first set before it became obvious why their latest album is entitled On Song: their emphasis on the melodic, lyrical qualities of the music they play, whether their own or others’ compositions. In one sense, there’s nothing novel about this—the Great American Song Book, Broadway tunes and decades of…

Alan Barnes Octet + 1: ‘A Fish Tale’

The combination of jazz and poetry has a long history and it’s not difficult to appreciate why: the open-ended rhythmic possibilities which lie at the heart art of both. In addition to verses being put to music, there is also a tradition of ‘jazz suites,’ in which jazz and poetry are complementary, the resonances of…

Denys Baptiste Quartet – The Late Trane, 2 June 2017

Denys Baptiste – tenor saxophone Nikki Yeoh – piano Gary Crosby – bass Rod Youngs – drums Even fifty years after his death, the John Coltrane legacy looms over jazz—and although his influence has become more diffuse over time, the original recordings have retained their utterly remarkable, startling impact. So any tenor-led quartet with a…

Dominic Galea Quintet, 26th May 2017

Once a protégé of Stan Tracey and now a musician of considerable standing, it was a delight to be able to hear Dominic Galea in one of his rare UK appearances. Star billing should also be accorded to his compositions, which stood at the intersections of lyrical and romantic—a truly inviting and spacious arena for…

Jonathan Gee Quartet ft. Tim Whitehead, 19th May 2017

Wakefield Jazz was delighted to welcome back the Jonathan Gee Trio for this, its 30th Anniversary gig. Jonathan has made appearances at the club over nearly 20 years, always to sustained acclaim, but his return on this date was particularly apt and keenly anticipated because five years previously, on the Club’s 25th Anniversary, he had…