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Brighton Jazz Club

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Friday 8 March 2013

Kit Downes Quintet £15/£12
featuring Julian Siegel
at The Verdict, Kemptown

The Verdict, 159 Edward Street, Brighton BN2 0JB [ map ]

Kit Downes Piano Julian Siegel Bass clarinet
Lucy Railton Cello Calum Gourlay Bass James Maddren Drums

Kit Downes

Kit Downes Quintet

Kit unquestionably represents the cream of the new generation of jazz in the UK; heard in Brighton just a few weeks back as part of the excellent Sarah Gillespie band, he's already gigged with dozens of established bandleaders, and set up several himself.

His own trio began in 2005 while still at college – already promising, with fellow students of the calibre of Calum Gourlay and James Maddren.

Kit was an early member of Empirical, gigging with them across Europe and North America and winning many awards; he was himself anointed with Mercury prize nomination for his album Golden. He's also played for us as a member of Stan Sulzmann's Neon quartet; tonight's band has a new CD due on Basho Records, with regular clarinettist James Allsopp, co-leader of the band Fraud (which also featured Kit) and leader of The Golden Age of Steam (which still features Kit).

It's a welcome return to the Verdict and BJC for the guest in the bass clarinet chair, Julian Siegel. His sterling playing on various reeds and double bass has been a major contribution to jazz, with his quartet, with Partisans and guesting with Andrew Hill and Hermeto Pascoal. Julian also leads a trio with Joey Baron and Greg Cohen.

Lucy is one of the leading performers in contemporary music, having performed widely with the London Sinfonietta and London Contemporary Orchestra; she has performed across Europe, the Far East and Australia with leading dancer Akram Khan's company, joining him onstage to perform music she co-wrote.

Calum's career has already included taking the inaugural bass chair in the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, formed and directed by Tommy Smith, and leading to appearances with John Scofield, Joe Lovano and Kurt Elling; he's also recorded in New York with saxophonist Seamus Blake. Both Calum and James appear with Kit on the CD Golden. James is already familiar to us for several stunning performances that have won him legions of fans beyond the confines of percussion aficionados, especially with the Gwilym Simcock Trio. He was a percussion student of recent Verdict visitor Jim Hart while still at school, going on to study with Martin France; he appears on several recent CDs on the Whirlwind label, which was set up by (recent Verdict visitor) Mike Janisch.

For more information see www.kitdownes.com.

Friday 22 March 2013

Kevin Flanagan's Riprap Quartet £14/£12
at The Verdict, Kemptown

The Verdict, 159 Edward Street, Brighton BN2 0JB [ map ]

Kevin Flanagan Reeds David Gordon Piano
Andrew Brown Bass Russ Morgan Drums

Kevin Flanagan

Kevin Flanagan

Many of the local jazz audience will have been around in the heyday of Brighton Jazz Club's tenure at the old Concorde, much of which coincided with something called a 'jazz boom', a phenomenon not entirely unrelated to the sonic boom, in that it is often over pretty soon after it starts. Explosive, hard bop tenor playing was the order of the day, and Kevin was certainly one of the most incendiary soloists of the time. For fans of nominative determinism, one of the most aptly-monikered bandleaders was a compact bundle of bop-based energy called Chase- Tommy Chase. Going over the top with Kevin in the Chase quartets were new talents such as Mark Edwards, Alan Barnes, Nick Weldon, Andy Cleyndert and Martin Klute.

Kevin later began studying classical composition to a high level, producing many acclaimed large-scale pieces. He also worked into the nineties with the Flanagan-Ingham Quartet, another fondly-remembered classic band; the co-leader was vocalist-pianist Chris Ingham, and its fifties feel leads directly to the current band, which looks towards the Beat poets for inspiration. More current collaborators include Pulitzer Prize winning poet Gary Snyder.

Dave Gordon is another brilliant soloist with several strings to his bow; he's also rooted in the fifties, though possibly the 1650s, as he has a parallel, glittering career in early music as a world class harpsichord soloist, which has included touring Norway performing Handel, Bach and Scarlatti. He has a long-established jazz trio, which is currently touring; in April they perform a specially commissioned classical piece with the London Chamber Orchestra alongside Bach's 5th Brandenburg Concerto. The two worlds also collide in his crossover band Respectable Groove.

Andrew and Russ have both been playing with Kevin and with David since the early 1990s, having been members of the afore-mentioned Flanagan-Ingham Quartet. They appear on CDs from that band (Zanzibar and Textile Lunch) and from tonight's quartet; the RipRap CD is the fruit of their partnership with the RipRap Poetry Collective, which has rekindled the jazz & poetry scene around the country and on the BBC.

For more information see www.ampublishing.org.