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Friday 7 November 2008

Alec Dankworth Trio £14/£12

Alec Dankworth Bass Mark Lockheart Saxes Phil Robson Guitar

Alec Dankworth

Alec Dankworth by Jordi Avellà

Alec's trio is a highly promising meeting of musical minds, uniting three virtuosic players and composers. Linked, of course to one of the most venerable jazz families, Alec has in his own right become a highly respected bassist, performing with many notable players.

Having studied at Berklee in the US, he followed this up with several years residence in New York, joining American jazz royalty as a member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra and the Dave Brubeck Quartet, with whom he toured for several years. This trio is one of Alec's main projects, producing the CD If You're Passing By; it has since become the nucleus for his group Spanish Accents, featuring Cataluñan drummer Marc Miralta and violinist Chris Garrick.

Mark and Phil both lead highly imaginative units of their own; Phil co-leads Partisans; his trio includes fabled US drums and bass duo Billy Hart and James Genus, while his octet is similarly star-studded. Mark is a founding Perfect Houseplant, with his own projects the Scratch Band and Big Idea each producing fine CDs.

For more information see www.alecdankworth.com.

Friday 14 November 2008

Blue Concept Quintet £12/£10

Allison Neale Alto sax & flute Gary Kavanagh Trumpet & flugelhorn
Dave Cliff Guitar Dave Whitford Bass Matt Home Drums

Blue Concept Quintet

Blue Concept Quintet

These five highly-skilled and devoted musicians have got together to produce jazz from perhaps the most classic era; their eponymous CD gives a flavour, with tracks from Strayhorn, Benny Golson, Gigi Gryce, Warne Marsh and Horace Silver.

The band are perfect for the purpose, with Gary one of the most lucid bop trumpeters around; his quartet has released a CD intriguingly titled Anything But Bebop, while The Gary Kavanagh-Bobby Wellins Quintet Play The Music of Clifford Brown is soon to appear.

Allison nudges the band towards being a US/UK collaboration under "the Rusedski Rules", being born in Seattle, Washington, though she was actually raised in England; she has a particular affinity with the style of alto masters Art Pepper and Paul Desmond, and has performed with Bud Shank and Bobby Shew.

Her own quartet has released the CD Melody Express, which also features Dave on guitar; in the field of bop and beyond, he is an unquestioned master. Often linked with the Tristano school of playing, he studied with Tristano's bassist Peter Ind and toured with the Lee Konitz-Warne Marsh Quintet; remarkably, he recently played again with Ind and Konitz on several dates.

He has several recordings available, with Scott Hamilton, Geoff Simkins, Bruce Adams, Allan Ganley and others. A crack rhythm duo completes the team; Dave has provided the bass for many excellent gigs, including the memorable performance by the Christine Tobin Group earlier this year; he's also a member of Chris Biscoe's five-piece band. Matt returns from October's fine appearance by the Roberts-Fishwick Quintet.

For more information see www.garykavanagh.com.

Friday 21 November 2008

Chris Biscoe/Tony Kofi play Dolphy £12/£10

Chris Biscoe Saxes, alto clarinet and alto flute Tony Kofi Saxophones
Larry Bartley Bass Stu Butterfield Drums

Chris Biscoe/Tony Kofi play Dolphy

Tony Kofi and Chris Biscoe play Dolphy

Two of our favourite reed specialists will here take on one of the jazz world's truly unique instrumentalists and composers, a presence to sit alongside Monk and Mingus; the project is well-established, with the CD Gone In The Air released in June 2008, commemorating the 80th anniversary of Eric Dolphy's birth. On the CD and tonight, we can expect to hear remarkable recreations of music written by Dolphy, plus pieces by Oliver Nelson, Fats Waller and Monk which he recorded.

Chris is one of the busiest players on the UK scene; he links up with Jason Yarde, Dave Whitford and Eddie Prevost for one improvising group, and John Edwards and Tony Marsh for another, to name two of many. He's recorded many albums, with George Russell, Mike Westbrook, Andy Sheppard and The Brotherhood of Breath, and toured with the Hermeto Pascoal Big Band and The New York Composers' Orchestra.

His partner in a dream front line is one of the most remarkable soloists to emerge in recent years; after a scholarship at Berklee, Tony has been with a wide range of UK bands including the Jazz Warriors and Nu Troop. International collaborations include tours with the big bands of Andrew Hill, Sam Rivers and David Murray, and he has played several times with the World Saxophone Quartet, with whom he is due to appear in Europe in 2009. The recent performance with Byron Wallen was a testament to his abilities; also on that gig was Larry, rising star of the bass and composition. His Octet has performed his music at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival as part of the Jerwood Jazz Generation scheme.

In-demand drummer Stu appears with a range of meaty line-ups including Mingus Moves, the Henry Lowther Quartet and a trio with pianist Hans Koller; he's also produced his own CD, The Strayhorn Project with Phil Lee.

For more information see www.chrisbiscoe.co.uk and Tony's MySpace page.

Friday 28 November 2008

Frank Giasullo/Art Themen Quartet £12/£10

Frank Giasullo Piano Art Themen Saxophones
Dave Green Bass Pat Tamminen Drums

Frank Giasullo/Art Themen Quartet

Frank Giasullo/Art Themen Quartet

The latest of our regular, highly fruitful US/UK crossovers links two great personalities and venerable performers on the UK scene with kindred spirits from across the pond. Art was always an exquisite presence as a soloist with Stan Tracey, his unique and measured phrasing complementing Stan's perfectly.

Art's retirement from his "other job" – orthopaedic surgery – has led to increased and welcome appearances from his own bands, including his quartet and ad hoc gigs with the likes of Tony Coe and the other Three Tenors, alongside Don Weller and Mornington Lockett.

Frank's earlier tours of the UK have resulted in a lively and increasingly prolific partnership, with the band's CD Until The Next Time already available, and another on the way. Many of the recordings are Frank's own compositions, with blues, bop, soul and modal jazz alongside crisp arrangements of standards.

Dave has long been the UK candidate for "world's greatest bass player" and still producing the goods with many excellent groups, including his own trio; Pat has worked and recorded around the New York and New Jersey area for several years, including working with Frank in the trio Interweave, who recorded for legendary producer Rudy Van Gelder.

For more information see www.fgjazz.com.