Zoe Rahman, 24th March 2017

One of the delights of seeing Zoe Rahman perform with her band is to witness her alertness and responsiveness to fellow band members: clearly, she is in her element by surprising (or perhaps, being surprised by) fellow musicians—and much of the fun is seeing and hearing this added element to collective jazz improvisation. So, it…

Talinka Quartet, 17th March 2017

For anyone with a concern to keep music in neat categories, jazz in all its splendid variety is the irrepressible resistance. Improvising musicians can start anywhere, with any material and with any combination of instruments and create sounds that are at once familiar and recast afresh. While it’s true that the viola da gamba is…

Derek Nash Acoustic Quartet, 3 February 2016

It was a full house and then some—so the anticipation was keen; and it was electric from the off. Derek Nash began with playing of a passionate intensity that many an able player would hold back for the end of the set—and that was just the start. This was a Master Class in the saxophonist’s…

Trish Clowes’ My Iris, 20th January 2017

For sheer variety and adventurousness, this band can’t have many competitors. It is important that improvising musicians should continue to write and perform fresh material: it hardly displaces affection for the Great American Songbook—and what musician worthy of the name would accept boundaries around that most creative of endeavours, improvisation? Nearly all of the material…

Remi Harris Trio, 13th January 2017

In his brief introduction to the evening’s music, Remi Harris explained that ‘gypsy jazz’ was American jazz with a French accent. But if Django Reinhardt created an enduring musical hybrid, succeeding generations have incorporated it into their own listening and playing; and because the guitar is now truly a global instrument, it has hybridized again,…

The Lilli Unwin Band, 11th November 2016

It’s a privileged moment to witness a young band transition from ‘promising’ to ‘established’—and that’s what Lilli Unwin and her trio delivered. The promise alone was considerable: Unwin is a rising star, with a fine voice, capable of the expressive requirements of a very wide range of material; and in these parts, pianist Matt Robinson…

John Etheridge and Christian Garrick, 4th November 2016

There is scarcely a musical culture anywhere that has not adopted and adapted the violin: folk, dance and sacred musics of every kind have extended its geographic range and its musical expressiveness. At close quarters and when not embedded in orchestral settings, it is even possible to hear more than one of its many voices…

Jeff Williams Quartet, 14th October 2016

The absence of a piano in a drummer-led quartet is certain to shape the music, but for able and compatible musicians the format opens up an inexhaustible range of expressive possibilities. The Jeff Williams quartet was certainly up to the challenge. Their two sets were fiery, passionate displays, and a study of the way in…

Ingrid Jensen Band, 3 June 2016 at Wakefield Jazz

One of the great delights of jazz is the way well-turned improvisations, even on the most familiar melodies, have a way of surprising us. But a live performance can also confound our expectations. What might we have anticipated from a professor of jazz trumpet at the Bruckner Conservatory of Music in Austria? Masterful control, of…

The Weave, 20 May 2016 at Wakefield Jazz

There can’t be many two-trumpet sextets in existence, but on this showing, it’s difficult to understand why. What could offer a brighter prospect than the brilliant, piercing qualities that only the trumpet can deliver–doubled–and configured in ways that are a treat for everyone with musical imagination, composers and listeners alike? Add a top-flight and musically…

The Lindsay Hannon Plus, 13 May 2016

This was wonderfully vibrant and robust music-making from start to finish—a real delight, in part because it was abundantly clear how much fun the band was having, even while they delivered a musically intense and highly varied programme. Lindsay Hannon’s voice is strong and clear, and she is remarkable for her tonal modulation and stylistic…