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Friday 5 March 2010

Phronesis £12/£10

Jasper Høiby Bass Ivo Neame Piano Mark Guiliana Drums

Phronesis

Phronesis

Jasper Høiby and his band come to us at a particularly exciting time. Already highly praised musicians, they will have spent the two nights before this gig recording the trio's third album, live at The Forge in Camden, to be released on Edition Records.

Copenhagen-born Jasper studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and subsequently lent his talents to fellow F-ire Collective musicians such as Tom Arthurs and Julia Biel. Phronesis began its existence in Denmark, recording Organic Warfare and Green Delay.

The intensity and high energy of the band's performances and material have inevitably led to comparisons with EST; the Guardian's reviewer highlighted “lyrical compositions and compelling hooks” and noted Jasper's strong links to the music of US master bassist Avishai Cohen.

Leading Loop Collective member Ivo is known both as saxophonist and pianist, leading a trio and a quartet; he also performs and records with vibraphonist Jim Hart in Gemini. Ivo's own CD Caught In The Light Of Day features Jasper.

Another newsflash for the trio is the presence on this tour and the new recording of US drummer Mark, who is a regular performer with none other than Avishai Cohen as well as Jason Lindner and Bobby McFerrin. One of the brightest new talents in the US and beyond, his presence is a real coup for Jasper; Mark's playing has received particular praise from our own Bill Bruford, who knows a bit about drumming.

For more information see the Phronesis MySpace page.

Friday 12 March 2010

John Donaldson's 'Unity' £12/£10
play the music of Bheki Mseleku

John Donaldson Piano Ian Price Saxes
Simon Thorpe Bass Tristan Banks Drums

John Donaldson

John Donaldson by Bob Meyrick

John's new band brings together several of our favourite musicians for a special purpose. In recent years the unique talent of Bheki Mseleku re-emerged for a series of extraordinary performances, in a band organised by John.

South African multi-instrumentalist Bheki was prominent around Europe in the 1980s, bringing a breathtaking, spiritual awareness to his composing and playing of piano and saxophone. His years settled in London brought recognition and recordings with Joe Henderson, Abbey Lincoln, Elvin Jones and Courtney Pine on the Verve and Polygram labels.

John has long been recognised as a visionary performer; both he and Simon were here recently with Greg Abate and Steve Waterman. Simon also appeared in Bheki's band. Ian is one of our most gifted soloists, recording with groups such as Cubana Bop, and recently wowing crowds with Terry Seabrook's Kind Of Blue band. Tristan will need little introduction to local audiences, but has been building a massive reputation as a percussionist in jazz and latin music and as a producer; he's worked with Roy Ayers, Andy Sheppard, Byron Wallen, Dennis Rollins, Laurence Cottle and Pucho.

Tonight's band have already produced their own CD celebrating the music of Bheki, Nearer Awakening, which received enthusiastic reviews, and features compelling renditions of his extraordinary compositions.

For more information see John's MySpace page.

Friday 19 March 2010

Geoff Gascoyne's 'Pop Bop' £12/£10

Geoff Gascoyne Bass Jim Mullen Guitar
Graeme Blevins Saxes Sebastiaan de Krom Drums

Geoff Gascoyne

Geoff Gascoyne by Brian O'Connor

And now for something completely different. Geoff's talents as bassist and bandleader have been cemented over several years, producing his own CDs and working with the cream of British jazz. Inevitably his gifts have extended beyond straight jazz, with Van Morrison and Lisa Stansfield two notable beneficiaries; for much of the past decade he was MD during the stratospheric rise of crossover star Jamie Cullum.

We can now enjoy a witty and accomplished taste of pop re-imagined by a virtuosic team of improvisers; the band's CD cover even recreates the style of many cheesy 1970s compilations.

Cheese is firmly off the menu with this calibre of band; Jim's guitar-playing is one of the delights of modern jazz, already crossing genres in his soul and funk days with Morrissey Mullen. A favourite of US visitors such as Mose Allison and Jimmy Smith, Jim was with us recently leading his Organ Trio.

Sebastiaan appeared earlier this year with Dave Newton's trio, after touring for several years as a Cullum regular. Graeme's appearance here will be eagerly awaited; both a classical and jazz virtuoso with studies in London, his native Australia and in New York with Chris Potter and Seamus Blake, he is currently playing with Guy Barker's Jazz Orchestra and with Kyle Eastwood.

The material to be given such glossy treatment will come from a wide range, including Rufus Wainwright, the Supremes, the Stylistics, Cat Stevens, Gladys Knight, James Taylor and Peter Gabriel.

For more information see Geoff's MySpace page.

Friday 26 March 2010

Liam Noble Trio Play Brubeck £12/£10

Liam Noble Piano Dave Whitford Bass Dave Wickins Drums

Liam Noble Trio

Liam Noble by Helena Dornellas

Liam continues to be an inspirational pianist and composer, to the extent that this band and the accompanying Basho CD prompted Dave Brubeck himself to declare it “an inspiration and a challenge for me to carry on in the avenues that you have opened”.

Liam's talents spread far and wide, including his quintet with Chris Biscoe and Stan Sulzmann, and the special quartet teaming Liam and Phil Robson with US musicians Drew Gress and Tom Rainey.

He is currently gigging with familiar partners Mark Lockheart, Tim Whitehead and the Bobby Wellins Quartet, the latter being a familiar home for brilliant drummer Dave, who recently delighted us with the Kirk Lightsey Trio.

Bassist Dave is another key player on the UK scene; his gigs alongside Liam in the Christine Tobin Group being particularly memorable. He also appears live and on CD with the Gary Kavanagh-Bobby Wellins Quintet. This trio has been in existence for several years now, and the interplay of these fine musicians across the Brubeck œuvre is a delight.

For more information see the trio's MySpace page.