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Friday 4 February 2011

Simon Purcell Quintet £14/£12

Julian Siegel Saxes Chris Batchelor Trumpet
Simon Purcell Piano Steve Watts Bass Gene Calderazzo Drums

Simon Purcell

Simon Purcell Quintet

Simon's quintet qualifies as a jazz supergroup, with nods to Loose Tubes and the fine bands that followed. He's a major educator, being Head of Jazz at Trinity College of Music; he had an already impressive pedigree from his band Jazz Train, and gigging with Kenny Wheeler, Bill Frisell, Kenny Barron and Dave Liebman. Tonight's band will play mostly original pieces, potentially influenced by Dave Douglas and Miles.

Chris was a founder member of Loose Tubes, and has played with ever more impressive lineups. Due back next month with the rescheduled tribute to Harry Beckett, he has performed with US stars such as Sam Rivers and Michael Brecker, while continuing his long-running associations with Steve Buckley and Liam Noble. Julian is another of the finest improvisers and composers of recent years; his membership of Partisans alone cements this position. Like Chris, he's gigged with leaders such as Andrew Hill, Mike Gibbs and Django Bates.

Gene's many bands since choosing the UK over his native New York range from Simon's Jazz Train through, of course, to Partisans, whose website currently offers live video recorded at a BJC gig (recommended viewing). Since Berklee (alongside Jeff 'Tain' Watts and Marvin 'Smitty' Smith) and gigs with Lionel Hampton, Mike Brecker and Joe Henderson, he has brought a fizzing intensity to his playing with great bands all over Europe, with Phil Woods, Bobby Watson and others. Unquestionably one of the great bass players, Steve has recently worked with Joe Lovano and Kirk Lightsey.

For more information see simonpurcell.wordpress.com.

Friday 11 February 2011

Mick Hutton Group £12/£10

Don Weller Tenor saxophone Mark Edwards Piano
Mick Hutton Bass Paul Robinson Drums

Mick Hutton

Mick Hutton

Mick is one of the most popular musicians in the UK and also one of the most experienced. As house bassist at Ronnie Scott's, he performed with Pharoah Sanders, Mark Murphy, Tal Farlow, Johnny Griffin and Joe Henderson, and played a major part of bands led by Gordon Beck, John Taylor, Harry Beckett, Django Bates and Tim Whitehead. He's recorded for ECM and in recent years has gigged with various performers including Jack Bruce, and diversified into playing the steel pan and other instruments.

His long-established four-piece usually features the totally amazing Andy Panayi; for this evening we have the company of the frankly stupendous Don Weller. He and Mick have played together many times; they recorded with Gil Evans for the soundtrack of Absolute Beginners, Don also soloing magnificently on the Mole classic LP produced by the Gil Evans British Orchestra. Don's recent gigs also include the Nine Songs collaboration with Bobby Wellins, and tonight's pianist.

Aside from being one of the most gifted piano soloists, Mark is one of the most sought after producers. He's released a CD from his own Swing Gospel Jazz Orchestra, featuring Spike Wells and Alan Barnes.

A much-respected fixture in jazz since the 1970s, Paul spent 19 years as the favoured drummer for Nina Simone, as well as gigging with Cleo Laine, Mose Allison, Clare Teal and Lea Delaria, so should anyone feel like bursting into song, perhaps not tonight.

For more information see Mick's MySpace page.

Friday 18 February 2011

Phronesis £12/£10

Jasper Høiby Bass Ivo Neame Piano Anton Eger Drums

Phronesis

Phronesis

Just before their last appearance here, Phronesis recorded their Alive CD; by autumn 2010, it had been voted Jazz Album Of The Year by both Mojo and Jazzwise magazines. The Guardian highlighted their “lyrical compositions and compelling hooks”; the Daily Telegraph countered with “the most electrifying experience to be had in British jazz”, though Denmark deserves credit for nurturing the band. They've since played around Europe, including the Copenhagen and North Sea Jazz Festivals.

Everyone is struck by their strong compositions, memorable bass hooks and lyrical melodies. This stirringly intense ensemble are part of London's Loop Collective, with members featuring in various bands such as Jim Hart's Gemini and Ivo's own quartet. Jasper and Ivo are to return soon in the Kairos 4tet.

Anton helps take the band back to its Danish roots; he's a leading drummer with several cutting edge Scandinavian groups, while he and Jasper have recorded with Norway's emerging star saxist, Marius Neset (Golden Xplosion, Edition Records, due April 2011) alongside Django Bates.

They have another exciting year ahead, promoting the CD with a string of UK dates, plus one in Minsk, Belarus; they then prepare for a summer tour of Canada and the US. Next October they will be the support band for the Wayne Shorter Quartet's Barbican appearance.

For more information see the Phronesis MySpace page.

Friday 25 February 2011

Kevin Flanagan Quartet £12/£10

Kevin Flanagan Saxophones, spoken/mis-spoken word
Dave Gordon Piano, plucks, clicks Andy Brown Bass, squeaks Russ Morgan Drums

Kevin Flanagan

Kevin Flanagan

Many will recall the powerful soloing of one of the 1980's most popular tenor saxophonists; Kevin, alongside other young bloods such as Mark Edwards, Martin Klute and Alan Barnes, helped rekindle hard bop with inimitable drummer Tommy Chase, touring the UK and Europe extensively.

Kevin continued with bands such as the Flanagan-Ingham Quartet, moving towards explorations of beat poetry, notably with Pulitzer Prize-winner Gary Snyder. He's since studied classical composition and produced impressive large scale ensemble pieces bridging the classical-jazz divide, influenced by the work of Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and others, and utilising electronic media such as the laptop.

Dave has collaborated on many of the poetic settings; a scintillating soloist, he is well used to unusual crossovers from his work in modern dance and his early music bands (for which he is an accomplished harpsichordist) such as Respectable Groove, who appeared in Brighton's Early Music Festival blending blues with Purcell (Henry, not Simon).

Kevin and the quartet's lyrical leanings are part of the Riprap Poetry Collective, which has an eponymous album available featuring the work of several bards, including multi-prize-winning Ruth Padel, and this evening's rhythm pairing. Apart from tonight's promised squeaks and small sounds, both Andy and Russ have played regular bass and drums with Kevin since the early 90s, as part of the afore-mentioned quartet with Chris Ingham; Russ has also gigged with Curious Paradise.

For more information see www.flanaganingham.f9.co.uk.