Sarah Tandy Album Launch, Ronnie Scotts, Monday 4 Mar 2019

The rising generation of British jazz talent, of which there’s been such press and media interest in the last few years, is really coming of age. Here we have a leading light of this new wave, pianist Sarah Tandy and her young band of starlets launching her album . The album, entitled “Infection in the Sentence”, is an accomplished affair, having sworn myself to a streaming-only life recently I’ve done a typical volte face and have been buying LPs over the last few weeks. Sarah’s album got a good run out this morning and I’m liking it very much. Any band with Femi Koleoso is worth seeing - what an amazing drummer he, the power he exudes into the drumkit is scary. I remember thinking that about a young Billy Cobham: well-honed tight power leads to some fantastic soloing. Anyhow the gig was a stonker.

From top left, Sarah Tandy, piano, Sheila Maurice-Grey, trumpet, Mutale Chashi, double bass, Femi Koleoso, drums, Binker Golding, tenor sax

From top left, Sarah Tandy, piano, Sheila Maurice-Grey, trumpet, Mutale Chashi, double bass, Femi Koleoso, drums, Binker Golding, tenor sax

From top left, Femi Koleoso, drums, Sheila Maurice-Grey, trumpet, Binker Golding, tenor sax, Sarah Tandy, piano, Mutale Chashi, double bass,

From top left, Femi Koleoso, drums, Sheila Maurice-Grey, trumpet, Binker Golding, tenor sax, Sarah Tandy, piano, Mutale Chashi, double bass,

Jazz In The Round, The Cockpit Theatre, Monday 25 Feb 2019

Another strong JITR, with great musicians in all three parts.

First up was Tomasz Bura & The Scientists. We’d seen Tomasz before as part of Beat Replacement at the Emergence Festival last September. With his own band here, but still the focus of attention with his great stage presence. He had stiff competition though from his own partner, Rouhangeze Baichoo on vocals, a very photogenic singer & dancer. Supported ably by Saleem Rahman (drums) and Kevin Glasgow (bass), this band, with its dynamic leader, is one to watch develop over the coming years.

Tomasz Bura, Rouhangeze Baichoo, Kevin Glasgow, Saleem Rahman

Tomasz Bura, Rouhangeze Baichoo, Kevin Glasgow, Saleem Rahman

From top left Saleem Rahman, Rouhangeze Baichoo, Tomasz Bura and Kevin Glasgow

From top left Saleem Rahman, Rouhangeze Baichoo, Tomasz Bura and Kevin Glasgow

Rouhnageze Baichoo

Rouhnageze Baichoo

In the solo slot was Maurizio Ravalico, an extraordinary percussionist, who conjured a mesmerizing set.

Maurizio Ravalico

Maurizio Ravalico

Leading the line, the mighty Roller Trio, and it may have been the first time I’ve seen them, although apparently they played JITR in the first year, but it may have been the one gig that I missed that year. Anyhow, better than late than never for me. Also, unexpected instrument selection for James Mainwaring (alto sax) and Chris Sharkey (electric bass) with Luke Reddin-Williams on drums, no change there methinks. They have a new album out, which I’m just getting into and loving it, New Devices.

From top left, Chris Sharkey (bass), James Mainwaring (alto sax) and Luke Reddin-Williams (drums)

From top left, Chris Sharkey (bass), James Mainwaring (alto sax) and Luke Reddin-Williams (drums)

Roller Trio

Roller Trio

Blowin’ The Blues Away - 1959: The Year That Shaped Jazz, Ronnie Scotts, Monday 11 Feb 2019

In the year the club turns 60, great luminaries of the class of ‘59 are being celebrated in a series of gigs over the year. This was the first up presented by the club’s All-Star Quintet featuring music from Horace Silver’s LP “Blowin’ The Blues Away”.

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The Ronnies All-Star Quintet: from top, James Pearson, Sam Burgess, Alex Garnett, Chris Higginbottom, Freddie Gavita

The Ronnies All-Star Quintet: from top, James Pearson, Sam Burgess, Alex Garnett, Chris Higginbottom, Freddie Gavita

Macy Gray, Ronnie Scotts, Saturday 10 Nov 2018

Her first album in 1999 was a massive favourite and got played to death, but since then, I must confess, I haven’t kept up with her back catalogue - must try harder. But live, she didn’t disappoint, supported by a fine band and two stellar backing singers, Kayla Starr and Tamika Peoples, although I couldn’t really understand why the band had chosen such low-key stage lighting; such a luminous talent needs to be seen as well as heard. Anyhow, the room rocked and I went home a happy man.

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Opening up on the night, was the bright young musician Braxton Cook, with a fine band. Keep an eye and and an ear out for his music.

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Aziza, Ronnie Scotts, Wednesday 7 Nov 2018

An outstanding gig, one of the best of the year at Ronnies that I’ve been lucky enough to catch. This band is full of seasoned professionals at the very top of their game: as Dave Holland commented, the first time he attended Ronnies it was before the move to Frith Street and he was just 17; that night it was Wes Montgomery. Over 50 years later, he was leading this fine band with Chris Potter, Eric Harland and Kevin Eubanks - Kevin, whom I’d never seen play before was a revelation. Top band. Don’t miss them if you get the chance.

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Also a big shout for the Sara Dowling Quartet, whom I’ll be making sure I check out again in the future.

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Jazz In The Round, The Cockpit, 29 Oct 2018

The penultimate Monday Jazz In The Round of 2018 - how come the years fly by with increasing alacrity? Anyhow, what a gig it was, strong in all three sets. Headlining were a band I’d been unlucky enough never to have seen before, the Jessica Lauren 4.

From top left, we have Cosimo Keita Cadore (drums), Suman Joshi (double bass), Jessica Lauren (keys, vocals) and David “Booie” Gallagher (percussion). Great band playing foot-tapping tunes and radiating positivity and goodwill. Nice.

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In the solo slot, was former headliner Jean Toussaint improvising his way through his set and slowly turning around mindful he had his audience circling him. The Cockpit offers this very unusual in-the-round experience on a monthly basis.

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First up were Brother’s Testatment, a fine new and young band that I cannot wait to see again playing their own gig.

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