“This is highly melodic music that is readily accessible, but consistently intriguing, and full of rhythmic sophistication. It all makes for a very distinctive album and one that deserves to do well.” – The JazzMann
A musician who cites Jan Garbarek, Ralph Towner, John Coltrane and Jimi Hendrix among his influences, Julian’s playing has a sense of graceful lyricism and an inner strength, carefully crafting his improvising, which is beautifully structured and mellow.
All four musicians have strong and distinctive individual voices, but the sound they collectively produce is warm, playful, intimate, intricate, intense and, most importantly, far from banal or boring. Don’t take my word for it, look at these reviews!
“All in all, masterfully written and played, elegant and expressive. I’d wholeheartedly recommend giving this a listen.” – Lance Liddell, Bebop Spoken Here, on Connections: without borders.
“Connections is a very enjoyable and often very beautiful album, one that again demonstratesCostello’s flair for melody and his abilityto build and sustaina specific mood or feeling”. – The JazzMann
“Speake’s playing can be as enigmatic as his writing. The lyricism and subtlety of both his written and improvised melodies sometimes unfold so gradually that one needs to take a mental step back to absorb it all.”– John Kelman, All AboutJazz
Although British jazz and jazz on the continent are continuing to thrive on their respective local levels, not many truly Anglo-European groups have managed to connect with such ease and shared understanding as Universal Connection. Bavarian-born UK resident Hans Koller and London-born Martin Speake have both been at the forefront of the London jazz scene for a number of years and have both worked with bassist Anders Christensen during his 10-year stay in London. Copenhagen-based Christensen and Anders Morgensen have worked together as a celebrated Danish rhythm team for many years and have been part of some of the most ground-breaking bands on the vibrant jazz scene in Scandinavia. This international quartet is testament to the vibrancy, beauty and imagination of jazz old and new.
“Speake is a strikingly talented improviser with a seemingly bottomless well of inspiration” – Encyclopedia of Popular Music
“Nighthawks is my latest project featuring the talents of Matt Wates on Alto, Roy Hilton on Piano and Pete Hill on drums. I feel very privileged to work with these superb musicians who between them cover a vast range and set of experiences performing, composing and arranging. Matt is a multiple Jazz Award winner on Alto, Roy has played piano for Sonny Stitt and Buddy Greco and Pete is the drummer for Alfa Mist.
This band explores Film music within a classic Jazz Quartet from the music of Michel Legrand to Burt Bacharach and Elmer Bernstein from films such as Butch Cassidy, Taxi Driver and Thomas Crown affair, with arrangements by myself. We also perform our own compositions and an eclectic mix from the Jazz canon. ”
This was a marvellous gig. But first the scene needs setting.
Visualise our stage from your left to right. You will first see Joel Prime with his extensive percussion kit. Joel played a duo with Alina the last time she was with us. Then Alina Bzhezhinska behind a concert harp, sitting so you could just see her feet on the pedals. Behind her and a little to the right electric bassist Mikele Montolli stood. To the right of Alina, Jay Phelps played his trumpet on most of the tunes. On the far right (not that far, not a very big stage) drummer Adam Teixeira held court. We had stereo percussion.
We started off with “Soul Vibrations” (I think by Sun Ra), with the quartet. This was a lovely blast of a sg, with a strong third beat that had us into the band in4 bars. There were duos between Alina and the two percussionists, reminiscent of her first gig with us where she played to amazing sets with Joel, as the other musicians were blocked in traffic.
Alina’s “For Carol” was next up, with Jay using his Harmon mute. We haven’t seen Jay in too long, and I had forgotten how good he is.
The set finished with “Los Cabballos“ (the horses) by Carlos Chávez. Can music be onomatopoeic? You could hear the horses throughout the song.
Here I am looking for highlights of a top class evening, when every song had something to say. Everyone had solos and they were all grand. We finished with “Action Line”, (Ray Davies?).Both Alina’s and Jay’s solos were memorable. Please can this group come to us again so that a much larger audience will see them outside of the London Jazz Festival.
On Wednesday the 24th of November, the legend that is Art Themen willbe with us, Art on tenor, Steve Whittaker on Hammond and George Double on drums. Do joinus.
“Ageless, evergreen singing…as beautiful and talented as ever…she’s marvellous!” – Michael Parkinson
Her style is a mixture of Broadway musical punch and jazz-inflected subtlety. She has the belting defiance of a torch singer at times and the knowing raised eyebrow rasp of a blues artist, but also a hushed, confiding intimacy where it is appropriate, it is a blend that invites the widest possible audience. – John Fordham, The Guardian
“★ ★ ★ ★ The pianist Barry Green has self-produced a handful of enterprising recordings for his Moletone label that are testament of a song melody-driven contemporary post-bop manifesto.” – Jazzwise
“Simon Thorpe is one of the UK’s best-known jazz bassists. He was nominated in 2016 and again in 2017 for a British Jazz Award, and is a firm Fleece Jazz favourite” – Dave
Jivin’ Miss Daisy is an amazing band with lots of energy and the best songs from Gershwin, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington and many many more from the wonderful age of swing, jazz and jive.
Bass player Simon Thorpe established Jivin’ Miss Daisy in 1999. Since then the band has gone from strength to strength . You can be sure Jivin’ Miss Daisy will have the audience dancing, partying or just singing along. JMD play your choice of classic songs from Gershwin, Cole Porter and Ellington through to Nat King Cole and Ray Charles.
What an amazing lineup! Nine superb musicians that we know well and love, ready to jive you with pleasure.
“Cheery vocals…good-time feeling…strong soloists…this band should put smiles on plenty of faces!” – Jazz UK Magazine
John’s trio includes Pete Whittaker on organ, and George Double on drums, and John on a plethora of guitars. Blue Spirit came about through John’s love of the perennially attractive combination of Electric Guitar and Organ. Blue Spirits have a take on this well known combination in a way that connects with the bluesy, intense side of John’s playing .There are plenty of typical swing elements, augmented by soulful ballads and fiery funk outings. The aim is to groove and move! This band has been popular on the club circuit for many years and always delivers.
John’s history includes playing with Grapelli, heading Zapatistas, duos with John Williams, and his own bands. As well as a world class player, he is a classy raconteur.
Pete is a piano player who migrated to Hammond organ after hearing the classic 1950s &60s Jimmy Smith records. He is a Hammond star.
George’s playing and recording credits include Dame Shirley Bassey, Grammy Award Winner Jack Jones, Marc Almond, Mica Paris, Ruthie Henshall and Kym Mazelle. His West End and touring theatre record includes stints on Wicked, Guys and Dolls, Avenue Q, Sinatra and Anything Goes.