Perpetual Motion Machine, 27 April 2018

Sam Dunn, guitar Jamie Taylor, guitar Ben Lowman, tenor saxophone Garry Jackson, electric bass Steve Hanley, drums Sometimes, the configuration of a band or the way the musicians interact in performance dissolves the usually obvious divide between the ‘front line’ and the rhythm section. And since that was the case with Perpetual Motion Machine, it…

Ubunye, 16th March 2018

Dave Evans – piano and songwriting Nik Rutherford – guitar Kenny Higgins – bass Jonah Evans – drums Thandanani Gumede – voice and songwriting Nokuthula Zondi-Kamudyariwa – voice Xolani Mbatha – baritone voice The full house seemed to sense that something special would be forthcoming, but no one who hadn’t heard them perform before could quite anticipate…

Chris Ingham Quartet, 9 February 2018

As Chris Ingham explained in his articulate and elegant interludes, it is a sad and surprising curiosity that the film celebrity of Dudley Moore has eclipsed his music to the degree that it has all but dropped from sight. What this splendid quartet has been able to achieve is not merely to bring the music…

Andrew McCormack’s Graviton, 2nd February 2018

  There was nothing unconventional about the line-up, but while the music was firmly rooted in the traditions of jazz, nearly everything about it was surprising and very often, thrilling. Wordless vocalise is not new to jazz, but Neomi Nuti didn’t merely thicken melodic lines or add embellishments: her voice was the front-line instrument, in…

Zoe Gilby Quartet, 26 January 2018

Zoe Gilby, voice Mark William, guitar Andy Champion, bass Richard Brown, bass It takes a certain stage presence and deft awareness as well as musical talent for an ensemble comprising only voice, guitar, bass and drums to hold an audience rapt for two hours. This was a jazz performance, but of the most intimate kind—and…

Ronnie Bottomley’s All-Star Jazz Orchestra, 19 January 2018

Over the last two decades or so, big bands have had quite a resurgence—not a 1930s and 40s revitalisation, but quite innovative explorations of the possibilities that jazz ensembles of a certain size can bring to modes of expression in jazz. These are no longer popular dance bands, of course—but they don’t produce chamber music,…

Matt Holborn Quartet and Gary Potter, 12 January 2018

Matt Holborn, violin Gary Potter, guitar Kourosh Kanani, guitar Dave O’Brien, bass The full span of contemporary jazz reflects our intensely globalized world: it seems that no combination of musical cultures, instruments and styles is beyond the reach of experimental improvisation. So there are many thrilling departures in the way of unusual time signatures, surprising…

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…