Fleece Jazz at Stoke by Nayland Hotel©

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9 November, £15
Elina Duni & Rob Luft Duo featuring Fred Thomas

Elina Duni and Rob Luft

"A fiercely individual voice, infused by jazz as well as her own cultural roots. - EFG London Jazz Festival
"Luft has delivered the most fully-realised debut from a guitarist since Julian Lage. A remarkably original statement that highlights his prodigious chops and his singular gifts as a composer and sonic provocateur." - Downbeat Magazine (USA)

Elina Duni, vocals Rob Luft guitar, Fred Thomas piano/drums

Elina Duni is a Swiss-Albanian singer whose hallmark combination of traditional Albanian folk songs and jazz has led to worldwide critical acclaim. Born in Tirana, Albania, in 1981, Elina made her first steps on the stage as a singer aged five, singing for National Radio and Television. In 1992, after the fall of the communist regime, she settled in Geneva, Switzerland, with her mother, where she started studying classical piano and thereafter discovered jazz. She went on to study on the jazz programme at the Hochschule der Künste in Bern. During this time, she formed the Elina Duni Quartet which represented a return to her musical roots, a combination of Balkan folk songs and jazz.

For this new project, Elina is joined by guitarist Rob Luft, acclaimed as one of the rising stars of London's flourishing contemporary jazz scene. His playing incorporates echoes of West African high-life, English folk and indie rock; his virtuosity has been compared to that of six-string legends John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola & Paco De Lucia. Rob was the recipient of the 2016 Kenny Wheeler Prize from The Royal Academy of Music, and he also received the 2nd Prize in The 2016 Montreux Jazz Guitar Competition at the Montreux Jazz Festival. His joyously original sound finds an ideal counterpart in Elina Duni's vocals as together they steer us on a journey through timeless folk songs which still resonate so truly today.

The duo will be joined by multi-instrumentalist and composer Fred Thomas. Fred studied jazz piano at the Royal Academy of Music. He now performs regularly with a wide variety of creative projects: original and improvised music with his own band, the Fred Thomas Trio; contemporary classical and improvised music with the Fred Thomas/Jiri Slavik Duo; Blues with Sister Mary & the Choir Boys; traditional and contemporary Senegalese music (on double-bass) with Kadialy Kouyate’s Sound Archive; folk (on percussion) with The Magic Lantern.

" . . . nothing less than magical" - Downbeat

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16 November, £20
Tina May

tina may

"Lesser artists... may have grabbed the headlines, but Tina May remains the most expressive and technically gifted jazz singer on the UK scene" - Kenny Mathieson, The Scotsman

Tina May vocals, Robin Aspland piano, Arnie Somogyi bass, Steve Brown drums

Tina May first played the Fleece in ... well, a long time ago, in the last millenium. I believe this might be the 22nd time she has graced our stage, which is neat as, to date, she has released 22 albums of her own and many collaborations. The show will feature songs from the latest “Cafe Paranoia” which includes lyrics by Mark Murphy and Tina and compositions by German pianist Andy Lutter, sometime collaborator with Murphy. Apart from celebrating Murphy it will also include songs from Berlin, Paris and Broadway.”

To give a flavour of what to expect, Peter Jones (London Jazz News) calls it “a complete delight, stuffed with … gorgeous melodies.....Some of the material is tricky, yet May carries it off in a light, hip, effortless style...I have never heard her sing better.” We agree wholeheartedly that Tina has blossomed as a performer. Her last performance at the Fleece was relaxed, totally engaging and a joy to witness.

Tina is essentially part of part of the Fleece family and that connection, built over the years, gives the sense of someone playing to goood friends with confidence, fun and pure enjoyment. To fully understand the magic, you have to be there.

Over the years Tina has been accompanied by a large number of talented musicians. Tonight is no exception. Initially I started writing individual notes for Robin, Arnie and Steve, all themselves Fleece stalwarts, but realised I was effectively saying the same thing for each. They are all hugely talented musicians, they improvise with flair as part of a band, never seeking to dominate their collaborators and they listen as though their lives depend on it.

Finally a quote from Tina herself: “Swinging melodies with a great band. What's not to like” P.S. I [John Anderson] genuinely am flying back from Greece for this gig.

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23 November, £16
African Jazz Quintet

Frank Williams

Exciting African Township music will keep your feet tapping!

Frank Williams ~ Tenor Sax, Alastair Gavin ~ Piano, Cameron Pierre ~ Guitar, Raph Mizraki Bass, Kofi Oheneba Adu ~ Drums

There is nothing in the world like the sound of South African jazz played by guys who have it in their souls. The rhythms are irresitable. Frank Williams left South Africa in 1978 and made his name in the UK in the 1980s playing with fellow South African jazz exiles in Chris McGregor's legendary Brotherhood of Breath and, later, Dudu Pukwana's Zila. It is a great pleasure to be able to welcome back Frank's quintet.

Alastair Gavin is well known in these parts not least for his gigs with Sarah Jane Morris. His mastery of the keyboard is matched by his composition and his versatility. He has an impressive body of work having recorded with many household names and his extensive CV includes being the MD of a hit musical on both sides of the pond.

Cameron Pierre was born in London, spent his early years in Dominica before returning to the UK, coicidently in 1978. has gone on to work with Courtney Pine, Pee Wee Ellis, Orphy Robinson, Mighty Sparrow, Ernest Ranglin, David Rudder, Andy Narell, Alex Wilson, Mario Conange, Sarah Jane Morris, Byron Wallen, Jazz Jamaica, Dennis Rollins, to name a few.

Although classically trained as a cellist, Raph Mizraki kicked off his professional musical career at the age of 14 as a drummer and pianist. Since that time he has honed his skills on an extraordinary range of instruments and is now widely regarded as one of the finest jazz bass players in the country. Some ighlights in a career spanning over three decades include playing percussion for Kaboodie Theatre, Pan Projects and Tara Arts; playing keyboards for Nigerian jazz artist Gasper Lawal and the Oro Band; playing drums for Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band; and playing bass for Hassan Erraji and Arabesque, for Todd Sharpeville and the Blues Barons, and for Jamie Cullum.

Kofi Adu was co-founder of the seminal Hi-Life International band and has a long discography, including work with King Onyina, Anansi,Trevor Watts and Boombaya.

All music should be the joy that this group delivers.

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30 November, £16
Talinka

Tali, Gilad, Aron, Jenny

Talinka- When jazz meets with Tango, Early music, Folk and Jazz again
"Terrific emotional depth . . . Very entertaining and richly enjoyable." - Peter Jones, Bebop Spoken Here

Tali Atzmon vocals, Gilad Atzmon bass clarinet/soprano sax/accordian/guitar, Yaron Stavi bass, Jenny Bliss viola da gamba/flute/barque violin/vocals

Talinka creates a new, distinctive sound that is at times haunting, connecting with deep moody jazz standards and a new international form of World Music. The unusual choice of instruments and combination of personalities creates an amalgam of past and present, East and West. A natural continuum between ethnic, jazz, tango and Early Music, transcending musical boundaries.

Tali Atzmon was a renowned actress and singer in Israel. She has been described as “an amazingly soulful jazz singer, whose voice captivates while the music weaves a magical spell on the listener, drawing you in." (The Progressive Aspect)

Jenny Bliss is a baroque virtuoso, best known for playing baroque and early music but who is an open-minded artist readily capable of moving easily between musical genres. The melancholy sound of her cello-like viola da gamba reflects the ineffable sadness of Tali’s lyrics, while her breezy, effervescent flute-playing brings a ray of hope.

Gilad Atzmon is no stranger to Fleece Jazz – he is, of course, an internationally acclaimed jazz saxophonist with an affinity for ethnic sounds. The sound of his soprano sax is passionate and expressive and his versatility on a range of other instruments will be very much in evidence tonight. He has been described as “a formidable improvisational talent . . . a jazz giant . . . (who) combines thrilling jazz musicianship with a maverick political intelligence” by Guardian critics.

Yaron Stavi is a bassist who has performed all over the world with many musicians, playing double and electric bass and crossing genres into rock, classical, jazz and World Music. He is supremely accomplished with a palpable stage presence. He frequently appears at Fleece Jazz with Gilad as part of the Orient House Ensemble.

"Intrinsically beautiful and elemental, enchanting the spirit, warming the heart and freeing the soul." - Peter Thelen, Exposé

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7 December, £16
Sarah Gillespie

Sarah Gillespie

Gillespie "who joins Bob Dylan's lyrical bite and languid delivery to the forthrightness of Joni Mitchell, with a little rap like percussiveness thrown in, is an original" - John Fordham, The Guardian

Sarah Gillespie Vocals & Guitar, Tom Cawley Piano , Chris Montague Guitar, Ruth Goller Bass, Dave Hamblett Drums

Sarah Gillespie, Anglo American singer, songwriter, poet, political commentator and lovely lady was introduced to The Fleece by one of our team of scouts, Gilad Atzmon. Although not strictly pure jazz, who cares? She is brilliant and we are delighted that she keeps coming back. Impossible to pigeon-hole, Sarah is a truly exciting intelligent musician with plenty to say, and a First Class degreein Film and Literature and MA in Politics and Philosophy guarantee that it is worth hearing. She began piano and composing when she was four and took up guitar aged 13, and busking ang gigging in the States at 18, so do not think her youth means inexperience.

Sarah's influences include Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Cole Porter, T.S.Eliot, James Tate and the Beat Poets over a bed rock of early blues and jazz. Mix that together and you have Sarah's latest album Wishbones which was lauched at a sellout concert in the Purcell Rooms in late October this year.

Wishbones has drawn fantastic **** reviews including “achingly pretty and bitter sweet” (The Independent), “streetwise and romantic, tender and tough” (Daily Telelgraph) and “a beat poet adventurer who strays beyond the bounds of singer-songwriter” (Mojo). Come and listen before you buy.

Sarah is joined by pianist Tom Cawley, a favourite at the club. Chris Montague of Troyka fame, regularly plays with Kit and exciting Italian bassist Ruth Goller (check her out with Accoustic Ladyland) as well as very talented drummer Dave Hamblett. All in all, an excellent outfit to support Sarah's genius.

Do not miss "an incandescent new presence with superior lyrics" The Guardian ****

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14 December, £20
Liane Carroll

Liane Carroll

"Liane Carroll doesn't just sing jazz. She is jazz. This is jazz of the highest quality. Believe." **** Mojo
Liane Carroll vocals/piano, Roger Carey bass, Russell Field drums
Multi award winning Liane Carroll is unique - a larger than life character with a strong voice, in which one can find influences both of the great soul singers and of her semi-pro country club singing parents. She performs her own compositions and a wide selection of jazz standards to which brings her own sound. Add to that her classically founded mastery of the jazz piano and the witty delivery of personal anecdotes, Liane is the complete entertainer.

Her husband, Roger Carey and fellow Hasting resident Russell Field complete the trio

In 1993, when we first booked her at the Fleece, Liane was a struggling young musician, working in both jazz and R&B. National prominence and the string of awards came later. She has recorded solo and with Bobby Wellins, Kenny Wheeler, Mark Fletcher, Gwillym Simcock and Paul McCartney and more. Liane revels in live performance. She has made many appearances at Ronnie Scott’s, has toured as far afield as New Zealand and Brazil and has performed at Jazz Festivals, including with sparring with Alan Barnes at Titley.

"Carroll's confidence in the expressiveness of the smallest utterance gives her an irresistible eloquence, as strong at low volumes as it is at full throttle" John Fordham The Guardian; “Liane sings her way through the whole spectrum from jazz diva to fragile victim." - Kathryn Shackleton

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