Thoughts on Oddgeir Berg Trio, 22 March 2023

Oddgeir Berg Trio, 22 March 2023

Superb gig, big audience, couldn’t be better.

Something about the instruments: first the piano. Oddgeir Berg brought some electronics driven from a small but very good mic clipped to a bar on the open front piano. This gave Oddgeir a variety of soundscapes driven by the piano. He used his hand on the strings at times to produce a percussive sound. Mind you, while playing without the electronics, his touch is such that the full range of dynamics from softly lyrical to loud percussive was there.

Audun Ramo’s bass also was driven through a stomp box set, but the changes to the sound of the bass were very subtle. It was lovely to hear such bowing with varying timbre. Audun also used the instrument as a drum with his hands and fingernails for one song. A bit of magic: the bass folded into a cello shaped case at less than airline maximum. 

Bands flying from Norway don’t bring a drum kit. Lars Berntsen used a very nice rented kit (thank you, Webby, who even brought 5 snare drums for Lars to choose from). Lars brought his own cymbals, of course.  No mics or electronics on the drums.

With one exception, the tunes were all written by Oddgeir. They varied through stormy, light happy and subtle, melancholy and happy swinging. The arrangements didn’t leave much room for applause after solos. Watching our audience from the sound desk, its listening was visibly intense. There was applause and hoots after each number, and some stood to applause after the last song. Can we have them back, please?

Steve Jordan builds annotated set lists from gigs, for which we are very grateful.

Tickets for Barnes/Panayi on April 12th are going nicely, so do book with David or WeGotTickets soon.

Take care



  1. Here Comes The Toughest
  2. The Dream of Adam – a lullaby for one of Oddgeir’s three children.
  3. Dancing Through The Storm 
  4. Happy Morning
  5. Psalmist
  6. Sunday Mood

*          *          *           *         *        *        *

  1. List
  2. Scenes From A Movie
  3. Vagabond
  4. Oldies
  5. Bring On The Night
  6. Mermaid’s Dance
  7. Wonderwall*
  8. Post Mortem

All compositions and arrangements by Oddgeir Berg except * written by Noel Gallagher of the rock band, Oasis.

On Wednesday 24 May, Shades of George Shearing Quintet – £19

Nick Tomalin Piano

Nat Steele Vibes

Dave Warren Guitar

Luke Fowler Bass

Matt Fishwick Drums

“An evening of unpretentious, gently swinging jazz”         Ian Mann

Highlighting the work of the influential and important British pianist, George Shearing, these five wonderful musicians celebrate one of the greatest jazz musicians this country has ever produced and the distinctive sound of his classic quintet. The repertoire includes Shearing’s best-known compositions including ‘Lullaby of Birdland’ and ‘September in the Rain’ but also features some of Shearing’s slightly more unfamiliar tunes and arrangements.

Initially trained as a classical pianist, Shearing turned towards jazz, playing in pubs and music halls before moving on to make recordings and radio broadcasts and then settling in the U.S.A. in 1946. Shearing was one of only a very few British jazz musicians of that era to establish a truly international reputation.  Born in 1919, the long-lived Shearing remained creative until well into his 80s and was knighted for his services to music in 2007. He died on Valentine’s Day in 2011.

Over the last twenty years Nick Tomalin has become a mainstay of the London jazz scene and works regularly with some of the country’s leading jazz musicians including Jim Mullen, Mark Lockheart, Stan Sulzmann and Alan Barnes amongst many others.  When still a student Nick appeared in a masterclass with George Shearing which was filmed for the Southbank Show episode ‘The Shearing Touch’. Partly inspired by this, Nick decided to form the ‘Shades of Shearing’ Quintet dedicated to performing his unique and popular compositions and arrangements.

On Wednesday, 14 June, The John Etheridge Theo Travis Quartet – £23

John Etheridge Guitars

Theo Travis Sax

Pete Whittaker Organ

George Double Drums

A veritable jazz-prog super-group featuring electric guitar, sax and flute, organ and drums, the John Etheridge Theo Travis Quartet will bring us superbly talented musicians. For many years Etheridge and Travis have been the frontline of the legendary band Soft Machine, but each has played and recorded with an astonishing who’s who of international musical talent too numerous to mention but including Stephane Grappelli, Pat Metheny, Nigel Kennedy, John Williams, Dizzy Gillespie, Robert Fripp, David Gilmour, Gary Kemp, David Sylvian and Gong just for starters.

The rhythm section comprises one of the most go-to keyboard players in the British jazz and blues scene, Pete Whittaker and our great friend, drummer George Double. Expect a pulsating night of musical fireworks and dreamy ambient soundscapes.

On Wednesday 28 June, Bryan Corbett’s “Hi-Fly” Quintet – £19

Bryan Corbett Trumpet/Flugel

Chris Bowden Alto sax

Matt Ratcliffe Piano

Tom Hill Bass

Carl Hemmingsley Drums

“A warm, brilliant tone and a formidable technique”         

The Independent

This outstanding quintet celebrate the year 1959 in jazz that saw the release of some of the most revered jazz albums such as Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, Charles Mingus’ Ah Um, Dave Brubeck’s Time Out and Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz To Come as well as Blowing The Blues Away by Horace Silver amongst others.

As well as performing under his own name, Bryan Corbett has been performing with world renowned stars, a who’s who in the jazz and commercial world. Bryan is not only a great performer of the jazz standards repertoire but an artist who pushes the boundaries writing and performing original works with his various line-ups.

Saxophonist Chris Bowden works as an arranger and performer with a highly individual style. He first came to prominence with his 1996 funk/acid/Latin-jazz ‘Time Capsule’. Pianist Matt Ratcliffe has performed with a wide range of jazz musicians in clubs and festivals across the U.K.

“Bryan is one of the chosen few. Class, pure class, plays from the heart, every note has a reason to live. Truly someone who can sing through his instrument.” 

– Andy Taylor, the maker of Bryan’s trumpets.

On Wednesday 9 August, The Music of the Jazz Couriers, £20

Simon Spillett Tenor Saxophone

Pete Long Tenor Saxophone

Rob Barron Piano

Alec Dankworth Bass

Pete Cater Drums

The band harks back to the heady days of the quintet co-led by Ronnie Scott and the great Tubby Hayes. In the time honoured way you can expect plenty of up tempo tenor jousting, bell notes bouncing from wall to wall and cascades of bebop quavers coruscating the continuum! Award winning repertory bandleader Peter Long and custodian of the Hayes legacy Simon Spillett will go head to head over the old Couriers classics, with driving virtuosic rhythmic support from Rob BarronAlec Dankworth and Peter Cater.

 Expect such favourites as the original arrangements of Cheek To Cheek, Love Walked In and The Serpent, as well as some of Tubby’s later standards such as Suddenly Last Tuesday and Finky Minky, all linked together with stories and comments from the two front men.

On Wednesday 23 August, Five-Way Split – £19

Quentin Collins Trumpet/Flugel

Vasilis Xenopoulos Tenor sax

Rob Barron Piano

Mátyás Hofecker Bass

Matt Home Drums

This is hard bop for today. Art Blakey delivered the message, Five-Way Split received it, decoded it and added their own stamp         

Bebop Spoken Here

Five-Way Split is a new jointly led band formed in 2020 featuring some of the finest contemporary bebop musicians in the UK.  Five-Way Split is fronted by internationally renowned trumpet star Quentin Collins and Greek saxophone phenomenon Vasilis Xenopoulos, with the golden touch of pianist Rob Barron.  Added to this are virtuosic bassist Mátyás Hofecker and rock-solid drummer Matt Home

The band’s vision is to carry on the lineage of groups like Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers as well as mirroring the New York contemporary bop scene.  From this inspiration, the band presents a sound that respects the tradition of the hard-bop era whilst also bringing it up to date for today’s audience.  With an extensive repertoire of hip, swinging material by greats like Jimmy Heath, Cedar Walton and Horace Silver, along with their carefully crafted and imaginative original compositions, Five-Way-Split delivers a night of the best swinging and soulful music.

Other press quotes:

Quentin Collins “Splendid” ★★★★★ – BBC Music Magazine.

Vasilis Xenopoulos “One of the most fiery young saxophonists around” ★★★★- The Times.

Rob Barron “Classic Jazz Piano at it’s best” 5/5 – UK Vibe

“Five-Way Split – each member as formidable as the next” – London Jazz News

On Wednesday 12 July 2023, Sarah Jane Morris “Something Old, Something New” – £22

Sarah Jane Morris Vocals

Marcus Bonfanti Guitars

Tony Rémy Guitars

Henry Thomas Bass

Sarah Jane Morris is a singer with an astonishing vocal range. Her thirty-year career, during which she has garnered a loyal and loving international audience, has been wide-ranging and her rich contralto voice goes from strength to strength. She has performed with many groups over the years, from rock to soul to African blues, with classical orchestras, a one-hundred cello ensemble, with acoustic guitars and jazz big bands. Her voice, her versatility, and her emotional intelligence – the absolute authenticity of feeling which she conveys – make her a world-class compelling performer. It is a joy to see her back at Fleece Jazz, and in such good company.

With comments from the Guardian like “The next British Guitar hero”, we can expect a superb performance from Marcus Bonfanti. The Times chimed in with “Utterly Spellbinding”. Marcus is a blues singer, composer and guitarist. It will be a pleasure to welcome him to Fleece Jazz

Tony Rémy is one of the world’s most exciting guitar players of any genre. His hard-edged rhythmically driven approach is enriched with jazz intuition and bluesy soul. His ability to adapt to any style of music sets him apart from many other guitarists and is the principle reason why Tony’s name is consistently near the top of the ‘must have’ list. Just ask Annie Lennox, Jack Bruce, Pee Wee Ellis, Mick Hucknall, Glenn Hughes, Craig David, etc. why they called him and the answer will always be the same – “Tony Rémy delivers!” 

I love the work of the mighty Henry Thomas. Whether his is backing an international artist, in the pit in the west end, or specially, playing for us at Fleece Jazz, he is a stunningly fine multi-instrument bassist. He has gigged and recorded on countless hit records, TV and film soundtracks. He is also famous for his role as a co-founder of the BBC TV series Rockschool. He has the rare expertise of being able to sightread and improvise at an extremely high level. 

On Wednesday 26 July, – O’Higgins & Luft present Pluto £20

Dave O’Higgins Tenor sax

Rob Luft Guitar

Ross Stanley Piano

Luke Fowler Bass

Rod Youngs Drums

This is straight-ahead modern jazz in the African-American tradition, coming from the Monk and Trane lineage, but not bound to emulating it.         

Previous visitors to Fleece Jazz but together here for the first time, saxophonist Dave O’Higgins and guitarist Rob Luft perform tunes from their recent release, Pluto. 

Dave O’Higgins has 24 albums as leader to his credit. He currently performs with the Harvey/O’Higgins Project, O’Higgins & Luft, Darius Brubeck Quartet and the Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra. Rob Luft is an award-winning 28-year-old jazz guitarist from London whose virtuosity has been compared to that of six-string legends John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola & Paco De Lucia. Luft’s sound morphs Wes Montgomery with Bill Frisell, revealing his own trademark and worldly influences, while Dave O’Higgins’ emotive melodies evoke Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane, Joe Henderson and Michael Brecker with a melodic logic of his own.

Ross Stanley began playing with the band on organ but here brings more harmonic space to the soundscape with the piano. This opened up a place for the exciting sound of Luke Fowler on bass who impressed us on his previous visit to the Fleece as part of Tommaso Starace’s Power of Three trio. American drummer, Rod Youngs, so integral to the vibe of the band completes the line-up.

O’Higgins’ hard but never oppressive swing anchors Luft’s more charmful, visionary flights.  It’s a potent mix.” – Andy Robson, Jazzwise.

Ross Stanley was held up in Spain, so the admirable Jim Watson took over at a few hours notice. He was superb.

Thoughts on Simon Thorpe’s Jivin’ Miss Daisy, 8 March 2023

Simon Thorpe's Jivin' Miss Daisy

This gig’s review is from Robert Carr of the Hadleigh Nub News. All of the pictures from the gig are on our gallery page

Take care,


A fun night with Jivin’ Miss Daisy at Fleece Jazz

By Robert Carr

With blizzard conditions making travelling difficult on a bitterly cold Suffolk night, the entertainment supplied by Fleece Jazz at the welcoming Stoke by Nayland Hotel Resort provided just the tonic (gin optional) to warm the audience members.

From the off, Simon Thorpe’s Jivin’ Miss Daisy band set the swinging tone of the Fleece show with a bold and brassy performance of Count Basie’s Peter Pan, the first of many tunes from his orchestra’s vast repertoire.

Simon is the band leader and bassist of the nine-piece combo whose line-up for the show was: Mark Crooks (alto saxophone & clarinet), Liz Fletcher (vocals), Alex Garnett (tenor saxophone & vocals), Colin Oxley (guitar), John Pearce (piano), Matt Skelton (drums), Malcolm Earl Smith (trombone & vocals) and Enrico Tomasso (trumpet). 

An up-tempo arrangement of Royal Garden Blues followed. Over 100 years old, because it is based on the earliest of riffs, the blues number is considered to be one of the most important compositions in jazz history. It also allowed band members to introduce themselves on their instruments.

Vivacious vocalist Liz introduced herself to the audience with several songs from the Great American Songbook. These included Harold Arlen’s Get Happy, which Simon told us is his band’s signature tune. Liz has a lovely personality and a sweet-sounding voice in keeping with the dance and swing band style of the era when each had its own singer.

A particular delight was Liz, Simon and Enrico’s vocal harmonization on Cole Porter’s You Do Something To Me, augmented by Mark’s super sax solo. Also, a lovely surprise was the arrangement of Stairway To The Stars where Liz was sensitively accompanied by Colin on guitar, together with the piano, bass and drums of the rhythm section.

Such was the feast of wonderful 1920s, 30s and 40s standards offered from the pens of Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, The Gershwins, Rodgers & Hart, et al, I would have liked to have listed all of them, but there has to be a limit. 

Similarly, from such a talented line-up it is difficult to feature all the musicians. However, Ellington’s calypso Limbo Jazz so elicited dazzling virtuoso trumpet playing from Enrico that it was a stand-out performance. As a youngster, hearing a Louis Armstrong record inspired Enrico to learn to play his chosen instrument. This led him to a successful career in which he has won so many British jazz awards.

Named after the heart-warming movie Driving Miss Daisy, Jivin’ Miss Daisy was formed in 1999 and has been swinging ever since.  Simon told me that he had been “really looking forward to the return to Fleece Jazz, one of the best clubs in the South-East, with its long stellar jazz history and loyal supporters.”

Not every jazz gig is as lively as this was. So, with so much dance music on offer for the fun night out, it surprised me that nobody strutted their stuff on the dance floor – not that anybody on my table chanced it. Next time, perhaps.

Resident at Stoke by Nayland Hotel Resort, the club has been presenting jazz for the best part of 30 years, garnering renown for the quality of their shows and friendly atmosphere. It was my first time at the club, and I can see the reason for its reputation – I hope to revisit it soon.

Advance information about Fleece Jazz shows can be obtained by asking to be added to the club’s mailing list. Log on to then click ’email list’ to subscribe.

Next up on Wednesday 22 March is the Oddgeir Berg Trio. Tickets are available from or by telephoning the booking office at 01787 210796.


  1. Peter Pan (Count Basie) from 1954
  2. Royal Garden Blues (Clarence & Spencer Williams) 1919
  3. I’ve Got the World on a String (Harold Arlen/Ted Koehler) 1932
  4. Get Happy (Harold Arlen/Ted Koehler) 1930
  5. So in Love (Cole Porter) 1948
  6. Lullaby in Rhythm (Clarence Profit/Benny Goodman/Edgar Sampson/Walter Hirsch) 1938 
  7. Flaming Reeds and Screaming Brass (Jimmie Lunceford)
  8. Limbo Jazz (Duke Ellington) 1962
  9. Meet Me Where They Play The Blues (Steve Allen/Sammy Gallop)
  10. 10.You Do Something To Me (Cole Porter) 1929
  11. 11.Stairway to the Stars (Malneck/Signorelli/Parish) 
  12. 12.Shiny Stockings (Frank Foster/Ella Fitzgerald) 1963

*          *      ç    *           *         *        *        *

  1. 13.Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams (Barris/Koehler/Moll)      1931
  2. 14.Come Rain or Come Shine (Arlen/Mercer) 1946
  3.         I Got Rhythm (George and Ira Gershwin) 1930
  4. Manhattan (Rodgers and Hart) 1925
  5. In Case You Didn’t Know (Count Basie)
  6. Lowdown (Thad Jones/Mel Lewis)
  7. Oclupaca (Duke Ellington) 1968
  8. Tootsie (Count Basie) 1950
  9. Daisie’s Cakewalk (Simon Thorpe)
  10. On The Sunny Side of the Street (Jimmy McHugh/Dorothy Fields) 1930
  11. Born To Be Blue (Mel Tormé/Robert Wells) 1946
  12. From This Moment On (Cole Porter) 1950 

On Wednesday 10 May, The Philip Clouts Quartet – £17

Philip Clouts Piano

Samuel Eagles Sax

Tim Fairhall Bass

Marek Dorcik Drums

Among the quotes about this band:

“The best of British jazz” – Chris Phillips Jazz FM

“Precise ebullience and relaxed funkiness” – The Guardian

“A revelatory experience– UkVibe

The dancing exuberance of South African Township music, the convivial groove of gospel-influenced soul jazz, the joyful sway of Cuban guaguanco rhythms, the bluesy melodies of middle eastern praise songs and so much more all come together in pianist Philip Clouts’ superbly accomplished quartet.

Clouts was born in Cape Town and the music of his homeland has stayed with him as he has continued on a voyage of discovery that has led him across all five continents, soaking up Caribbean calypso and the soulful strains of the Indian subcontinent while honouring and learning from jazz heroes including Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, and Charles Lloyd.