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Friday 1 October 2010

John Horler Quartet £12/£10

John Horler Piano Sam Mayne Alto sax
Chris Laurence Bass Spike Wells Drums

John Horler

John Horler by Claire Tamara Davies

This is a collection of the finest players jazz has to offer; John has for several decades performed with the cream of worldwide jazz talent, and his quartet line-up continues the trend.

From being a teenage prodigy at the RAM and then a session musician, he was a solid sideman on the 'sixties London scene, gigging with Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, Pepper Adams, Shorty Rogers and, most memorably for him, a week playing with Chet Baker. He was particularly busy with Pete King, Tommy Whittle, Tony Coe and Ronnie Ross for many years, and was for decades the first pianist with Cleo Laine and the late John Dankworth; he will be playing with Dame Cleo at the Barbican next month.

Amongst several of his line-ups are two great trios featuring saxes – with Tony Coe, and Acoustic Triangle with Tim Garland. There is also his own Modern Jazz Trio, which has recorded the CD The Key To It All.

He's also currently gigging with Alan Barnes in his Ellington-inspired group, and with the Mark Nightingale Big Band.

Matching this workrate might be a challenge, but never for Chris; he has long been established as a world class player across all genres, with an enviable tone. Classically he was principal double bass with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields until 1995, playing on many of their recordings, including the soundtrack for Amadeus.

Jazz-wise he's gigged with J.J. Johnson, Alan Skidmore, Gordon Beck, Tony Coe, Sarah Vaughan, Norma Winstone, John Surman, Andy Sheppard, John Taylor and Kenny Wheeler; un-jazzwise, he's recorded with pop stars Elton John, Sting and Dave Gilmour, film composer Michael Nyman and classical guitarist John Williams. Chris's own album New View on Basho Records features long time collaborators Frank Ricotti, John Parricelli, Martin France and Norma Winstone, with pieces by musicians Chris has worked with over the years, including Steve Swallow and Joni Mitchell. He also makes a significant contribution to Master of the Game, in pianist Geoff Eales's trio.

Spike's career has contained so many highlights, it's virtually a history of post-bop UK jazz, with some great international guest appearances. Even his student days featured gigs with players such as Jimmy Witherspoon, Joe Harriott, Tony Coe and Bobby Wellins. Via Ron Mathewson he became drummer in the Tubby Hayes Quartet, considered by many the finest of its time. He also was a regular performer at Ronnie Scott's, playing for Stan Getz, Roland Kirk, Art Farmer and Johnny Griffin. He has since the 'seventies been in several classic line-ups alongside Bobby Wellins, including the current quintet with Don Weller which recorded the acclaimed Nine Songs. There are other great recordings available with Bobby, and there is Spike's own trio CD with Gwilym Simcock and Malcolm Creese, Reverence.

Matching these titans of the music might be a challenge, but saxophonist Sam is already well-established, and a winner of the Perrier Young Jazz award. Like John, he studied at the RAM; at home in straight ahead and funkier territory, he's quickly become a valued member of Stan Tracey's quintet and octet, while gigging for Amy Winehouse, Katie Melua and many others. The impressive list of his recent appearances also includes work with Joe Lovano, Quincy Jones, Dave Brubeck, Billy Cobham, Django Bates and Tim Garland.

For more information see www.johnhorler.co.uk.

Friday 8 October 2010

Jean Toussaint Trio £14/£12

Jean Toussaint Tenor and soprano saxes
Karl Rasheed Abel Bass Troy Miller Drums

Jean Toussaint

Jean Toussaint

Jean has based himself in the UK since 1987, and has certainly been a favourite of BJC audiences during this time, after many dynamic performances.

Hailing from St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, Jean studied at Berklee, becoming a major presence on the US scene with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Max Roach, Gil Evans, McCoy Tyner, Cedar Walton and Chico Freeman. His band has won Best CD at the BBC Jazz Awards; the recording Jean Toussaint: Live In Paris and London (featuring Troy) is available on Spacetime Records, and recently gained a rare 5-star review from John Fordham in the Guardian.

He has made tonight's Rollins-inspired line-up his own, and has a powerful, energetic and very well-connected team with him; rapidly-rising bassist Karl has played with Cleveland Watkiss, Elisa Caleb, piano virtuoso Jonathan Gee, saxophonists Shabaka Hutchings and MOBO winner Soweto Kinch, and trumpeters Abram Wilson and Jay (Empirical) Phelps.

Troy is a member of Kinch's band, calling upon him, Jean, Marcus Printup and Jason Rebello to perform on his star-studded CD 40 Days; he plays on Soweto's two CDs and many others by Killer Shrimp, Femi Temowo, Elisa Caleb and Russell Watson. He has for the last five years been a member of vibes legend Roy Ayers' band, touring the US and Jamaica with him earlier this year. He also gigs with former Miles Davis band member Michael Urbaniak, and has worked with Branford Marsalis, Kyle Eastwood and Amy Winehouse, appearing with her at the Glastonbury Festival.

For more information see
www.jeantoussaint.com and Jean's MySpace page.

Friday 15 October 2010

Asaf Sirkis New Trio £12/£10

Asaf Sirkis Drums Tassos Spiliotopoulos Guitar
Patrick Bettison Bass guitar & chromatic harmonica

Asaf Sirkis

Asaf Sirkis by Bob Meyrick

Asaf was known and appreciated for his first couple of years on the UK circuit as a dynamic member of the Orient House Ensemble, with whom he has recorded six CDs. He was simultaneously building up a head of steam with his own group Inner Noise, and touring with other bands such as Tim Garland's Lighthouse Trio; he has also gigged with US stars Larry Coryell, Jeff Berlin and Chick Corea.

His current trio is a powerful international unit; its debut CD, The Monk received a four star review in MOJO magazine and was CD of the week in the Evening Standard. He now has a follow-up, Letting Go, just released.

Greek guitarist Tassos Spiliotopoulos has been making a name for himself in the US and now around the UK, with a robust style that has been compared to John Abercrombie and John McLaughlin.

Patrick's international career began early, with moves from England to Australia and then to Scotland; his formative years were spent there and on the London jazz scene, seeing him play with Tim Whitehead, Jim Mullen, Julian and Steve Arguelles, Django Bates, Gary Husband and others. He also recorded and toured the US extensively with Acoustic Alchemy as bassist & MD.

He then decamped to Florida, playing with Kenny Drew, Jr. and Brazilian pianist, Manfredo Fest. He also began studying the chromatic harmonica, and became steeped in the Afro-Cuban music scene, learning much about latin rhythm from the local musicians. He has produced a solo CD, Walkin' All Around, which features Asaf. Aside from touring with this band, he's gigging with Tim Garland, Joe Locke, Nicolas Meier, Tim Whitehead and Dill Katz.

For more information see www.asafsirkis.co.uk.

Friday 22 October 2010

Benn Clatworthy Quartet £12/£10

Benn Clatworthy Tenor sax & flute
Cecilia Coleman Piano Simon Thorpe Bass Gene Calderazzo Drums

Benn Clatworthy

Benn Clatworthy by Brian O'Connor

Benn is a performer whose abilities invite streams of superlatives on both sides of the Atlantic; born in England, he settled in Los Angeles in 1980. Having truly become part of the US music scene, his frequent returns to the UK increasingly confirm his reputation as one of the hardest-working musicians in jazz. His blistering technique and rich tone are evidence of great dedication and a legendary practice routine; thanks to this we get to enjoy a genuinely classic performer firmly in the vein of his professed heroes, including Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins. His many recordings also feature magnificent flute playing and impressive compositions.

This is also a rare chance to hear another major performer from the US scene. Cecilia maintains a staggering schedule, leading her own quintet and big band and dividing her playing between the Californian jazz scene and regular gigs in New York. She composes for all her line-ups, with US commentators comparing the bustling vitality of her quintet to the Jazz Messengers. She has released six CDs with her bands; Benn appears on her recording Words Of Wisdom.

Simon appeared on Benn's earlier gigs here; another virtuosic player and a bandleader himself, he's also appeared for us with Steve Waterman, Greg Abate and the late Bheki Mseleku. He's since performed in John Donaldson's Mseleku commemorative project Unity and on their CD Nearer Awakening.

Completing a fantastic line-up is one of our favourite performers, the dynamic US drummer Gene. He's recorded several CDs with Zoe Rahman and is an integral part of the band Partisans; he was also in Bheki's band, and has appeeared with Steve Lacy, Mike Gibbs, Guy Barker, Gordon Beck and many others.

For more information see www.bennclatworthy.com.

Friday 29 October 2010

Christian Brewer Quintet £12/£10

Christian Brewer Alto sax Stan Sulzmann Tenor sax
Andrea Pozza Piano Tom Farmer Bass Shaney Forbes Drums

Christian Brewer

Christian Brewer by Bob Meyrick

Christian's appearance for us is long-awaited; one of the most gifted altoists in jazz has brought with him a cracking line-up. A master of postbop styles who studied at Leeds and the Guildhall School, Christian was based for several years on the Spanish jazz scene, becoming a prizewinner at several European music festivals and working in funk, reggae and pop; he's played with Paul Weller, Rico Rodriguez and many others before cementing a place on the London scene and around the UK.

He's played regularly with Damon Brown's bands, appearing on two of his CDs; Christian's own bands have featured Seb Rochford, Jim Hart, Tristan Maillot and others, and have played several residencies at Ronnie Scott's, producing the CDs Introducing Christian Brewer and Seesaw.

Alongside him is another master saxophonist, flautist and composer, a part of the international jazz scene for several decades. Stan's peers and fellow band members have been icons such as Gordon Beck, John Taylor, Kenny Wheeler and Graham Collier; he's played with Gil Evans, Mike Brecker, Chet Baker, Mike Gibbs, Kenny Clark and Marc Copland.

In the process, he's appeared on classic recordings from Evans, Gibbs, Wheeler, the Clark/Boland Big Band, Taylor, Beck, Gavin Bryars and Liam Noble; he's even produced a CD of his charts with his own big band, Birthdays, Birthdays (Village Life Records).

Further delights include his band NEON, featuring Jim Hart, which is due to play here soon. He's just been touring the UK with the Kenny Wheeler Big Band, and next year will tour Germany with the European Jazz Ensemble.

Andrea was a prodigy and star turn from the age of 16, when he toured as the pianist for the European Community Youth Jazz Orchestra, an ensemble much catchier than its name. He's well-known across Europe as a favourite of many horn players, including legends such as Charlie Mariano, Clark Terry, Jack Walrath, Sal Nistico, Steve Grossman, George Coleman and Bob Mover; he's toured the world in recent years as pianist in Enrico Rava's quintet. In the UK he's recorded with Renato d'Aiello and his own trio, featuring tonight's drummer.

Shaney and Tom have quickly become two of the UK's most fêted players, primarily as members of the award-winning Empirical. This band's amazing rise has taken them to the Newport Jazz Festival, Rhode Island, Montreux and the North Sea Jazz Festival. Shaney is also due here later this year with the Cleveland Watkiss Quartet.

For more information see www.christianbrewer.co.uk.