Thoughts on Some Kinda Wonderful: The Wonder of Stevie, 21 February 2024

Steve says:

What a tremendous performance we were treated to last night, in fact it felt more like a private party to which we were privileged to be invited. The whole band were on fire, with the irrepressible Noel and Derek leading from the front, catering for a range of music lover, from the die-hard Stevie fans to the old jazzers. Looking around, it was heart-warming to witness such unanimous enjoyment; we had dancing, handclapping, communal singing and sheer delight in the faces of our sell-out audience. 

I have seen the same show at a larger venue, as had the couple next to me from Northampton, but we all agreed that last night’s experience was superior because of the warmth and intimacy of the atmosphere.  Watching Derek seemingly play directly to individual audience members and Noel appearing to serenade others during the encore , the Fleece-effect was working its old magic, and we got the special treatment from musicians who love to visit the club.

Check out the setlist below.

Dave says:

Technically, this was a very complex gig, but we got complemented on the sound. And what sound we got. Six master musicians having the time of their lives. Stunning keyboardist Neil Angilley and top drummer Nic France were amazing. Nic was absolutely in party mode. Tim Cansfield was solid on electric guitars, and lyrical on the acoustic guitar. It was brilliant to see and hear Laurence Cottle: we got a top international player as a dep. Noel McCalla and Derek Nash drove the show. They fired off each other. 

It was an exciting day from the soundcheck to the strike. I want to remember this one when I am asked “what is the best gig you have had at Fleece Jazz”.

Bebop alert! on March 13, Gaz Hughes will bring the excellent piano trio to delight us with “Nuclear Bebopalypes”, With Andrzej Baranek on piano  and Gavin Barras on bass. Come one, come all.

Take care

Dave

Some Kinda Wonderful presents The Music of Stevie Wonder

SETLIST, FLEECE JAZZ 21/2/24

All numbers composed by Stevie Wonder apart from 9, 11 and 17:

 * Stevie Wonder, Sylvia Moy and Henry Cosby.

** Ron Miller and Bryan Wells

***Ron Miller and Orlando Morden

+Lee Garrett and Stevie Wonder 

  1.   Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours) 1970
  2. You Are The Sunshine Of My Life 1972
  3. Sir Duke 1976
  4. You and I / Blame It On The Sun 1972
  5. Another Star 1976
  6. Golden Lady 1973
  7. Overjoyed 1985 / I Just Called To Say I Love You 1984  Both songs were performed as a duet by Noel and Neil.
  8. Higher Ground 1973

*          *          *           *         *        *        *

  1. Uptight (Everything’s Alright)*1965Yester-Me, Yester-You Yesterday**1969 /For Once In My Life***1968
  1. Do I Do 1982
  2. Let’s Get Serious+1980
  3. Lately 1980
  4. Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing 1973
  5. Master Blaster (Jammin’) 1980
  6. Isn’t She Lovely 1976
  7. Superstition 1972 / Living for The City 1973 / I Wish 1976
  8. Encore: My Cherie Amour* 1969

On Wednesday 8 May ‘Wakey Blakey’: The Rory Ingham/James Davison Sextet celebrate the music of Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers – £20

Rory Ingham Trombone

James Davison Trumpet

Alex Garnett Tenor Sax

Matt Carter Piano

Misha Mullov-Abbado Bass

Luke Tomlinson Drums 

“Art Blakey’s message is in safe hands. Wakey Blakey should be prescribed by the NHS as a tonic for all ailments affecting humankind.”Trevor Bannister, The Jazz Mann

‘Wakey Blakey’ is a new band featuring some of the finest talent on the British Jazz scene playing the music of legendary drummer Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers but with the lesser-known sextet line-up as exemplified by the stellar 1960s front-line of Freddie Hubbard, Curtis Fuller, Wayne Shorter, Cedar Walton, Reggie Workman and Art himself. Led jointly by Rory Ingham and James Davison, this project demonstrates hard bop with a frighteningly fresh feel; the music is wildly high-energy and unbelievably swinging.

Of the two joint leaders, Rory Ingham (Jam Experiment, Bonsai), a first-class honours graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, is also an educator and composer. While still a student he was a runner-up in the 2016 Trombonist of the Year, winner of the 2017 British Jazz Awards Rising Star, and in 2018 winner of the British Trombone Society Awards. Jazzwise magazine credited his effortless virtuosity” while London Jazz News described his style as “richly melodic…”. The other joint leader, James Davison, while still at the Royal Academy of Music was winner of both the Smith-Watkins Trumpet Award (2016) and the Musicians’ Company Young Jazz Musicians Award (2018). A brilliant award-winning trumpeter, he graduated with an MA in Jazz Performance and for this project he undertook the mammoth task of faithfully transcribing the Sextet arrangements from the original albums on Riverside and Blue Note.

Alex Garnett has been one of the leading saxophonists in the UK and Mainland Europe for over two decades, being instantly recognized by his dark, husky sound. A versatile musician and first call sideman, he has enjoyed success as both a jazz artist, composer and arranger, and an in-demand session, studio and commercial saxophonist, having racked up countless recording credits along the way.

Matt Carter studied jazz piano at The Royal Academy of Music under the guidance of Nikki Iles, Tom Cawley and Gwilym Simcock, and studied composition with Pete Churchill.. During that time Matt was involved in some incredible projects including a big band project with Chris Potter and Dave Holland, a small band project run by Laurence Cottle and a symphonic brass project run by Mike Lovett. According to Jazzwise magazine “Carter’s own piano is as tasteful and neatly phrased as you could wish.”

Award-winning, London-based jazz bass player, composer and arranger Misha Mullov-Abbado is a musician who combines great imagination with raw talent and a clear vision. A BBC New Generation Artist and with a “melodic gift” (John Fordham, The Guardian) and ability to masterfully combine beautifully-crafted compositions with free-spirited improvisation.

Taking the role of Art Blakey is Luke Tomlinson, a London based professional musician, drummer, band leader and educator. Since graduating in 2019 from the Royal Academy of Music with a First Class Honours Degree, Luke has begun to firmly establish himself as one of the most in-demand young musicians in London, performing regularly at some of the most prestigious venues in the UK, include the Royal Festival Hall, the Barbican, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, Jazz Café Camden as well as a number of performances on BBC Radio 2 and Radio 3.

We’re looking forward to a brilliant evening of swinging, high energy jazz.

On Wednesday 22 May 2024, The Clark Tracey Quintet £18

Clark Tracey Drums

Simon Allen Tenor sax

RJ Gilbert Alto sax

David Newton Piano

Andrew Cleyndert Bass

“One of the most impressive jazz drummers today” The Times

Clark Tracey is a well-established jazz master who is recognised as an inventive jazz drummer and as a proven group leader, writer and arranger, having appeared over many years with the world’s jazz greats. He creates educational Master Classes across the U.K. and continues to be an in-demand performer across the world. He has revived the famous jazz suites written by his late father, the great pianist & composer Stan Tracey, bringing masterpieces such as “Under Milkwood” successfully to admiring younger audiences.

Simon Allen is a critically acclaimed, award winning saxophonist, composer and educator who has worked with the Laurence Cottle All Star Big band and made numerous other appearances as a guest soloist as well as with his own quartets and quintets. In addition, he has recorded and performed with Sir Paul McCartney, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Phil Collins, Jamie Cullum, Beverly Knight and many, many more. “Allen…brings a searing urgency… [and] an anthemic soul-jazzy heat” – The Guardian Simon Allen

Alto saxophonist, RJ Gilbert is a young jazz musician who is still studying at Birmingham Conservatoire and already making waves on the UK jazz scene.

David Newton has been voted ‘Best Jazz Pianist sixteen times by the Jazz audience of the UK. A few years after graduating from the Leeds College of Music his old roommate from college, Alan Barnes, persuaded him to move to London where he rapidly became a much sought after pianist teaming up with Barnes, guitarist Martin Taylor and saxophonist Don Weller. Later, he gained a reputation as an exquisite accompanist for singers such as Marion Montgomery, Tina May, Annie Ross, Claire Martin and of course Stacey Kent, with whom he spent the next ten years recording and travelling all over the world. For many years he has been the honorary president of Fleece Jazz and we always look forward to hearing him play.

Andrew Cleyndert started out in the bands of Don Weller and Bobby Wellins and has since flourished on the jazz scene in the UK and beyond.  He has played and toured with the cream of the UK’s musicians and a string of international soloists, including Bud Shank, George Coleman, Ray Bryant, Lee Konitz and James Moody.  He was also closely associated with Stan Tracey in his many bands over fifteen years until Stan’s death in 2013.  Further afield, Andy has worked in Europe with pianists Gene Harris, Benny Green, Junior Mance and Tamir Hendleman.

On Wednesday 23 October The Bryan Corbett Quintet: Blue Note Jazz- £20

Bryan Corbett Trumpet/Flugelhorn

Chris Bowden Alto sax

Paul Deats Piano

Tom Hill Double Bass

Drums TBA

“Corbett’s playing is rousing and fierily expressive and his band are right on top of it.” Jazzwise

“The Bomb”Courtney Pine

“Founded in 1939 by Alfred Lion, Blue Note Records is loved, respected, and revered as one of the most important record labels in the history of music, designed to serve the uncompromising expressions of hot jazz or swing. Direct and honest hot jazz is a way of feeling, a musical and social manifestation”

During a successful engagement as ‘Curator / Featured Artist’ for the Birmingham Jazz ‘Legends’ festival, trumpeter Bryan Corbett put together a series of concerts with a ‘Blue Note’ theme featuring ever popular and critically acclaimed music from the likes of Blue Mitchell, Horace Silver, Art Blakey and Donald Byrd. Known for his lyrical tone and powerful stage presence, Bryan is not only a great performer of the jazz standards repertoire, but he is also an artist who pushes the boundaries. He has toured and performed around the globe as a guest artist with world-renowned stars such as Ben E King, US3, The Brand New Heavies, Tony Christie and Ruby Turner as well as with his own bands at festivals, concert halls and clubs throughout the UK. 

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 Paul Deats is a member of the house trio of the Nottingham-based Jazz Club, Peggy’s Skylight. Paul is the co-founder of the club and has been described as “a powerful and intense player . . . lyrical and thoughtful” ; Andrew is one of the most in-demand live and studio drummers in the East Midlands. Bassist and occasional vocalist Tom Hill is an expatriate American who has become a huge favourite with Midlands jazz audiences. He is a superlative bass player and a supremely versatile musician who leads his own bands (Straitjackets and ZZ Bop) and has been the first-call bassist for performers such as Peter King, Brandon Allen and Sam Crockatt.

Drawing from this pool of local, national and internationally renowned musicians, Bryan presents an evening of finest quality jazz; it is an immense pleasure to welcome him back to Fleece Jazz.

“Corbett’s own playing was imperious, with a beautiful tone on both trumpet and flugel and a high degree of fluency.” Ian Mann, The Jazz Mann 2023

Thoughts on John Etheridge’s “Blue Spirits” – 14 February 2024

Thoughts on John Etheridge's "Blue Spirits" - 14 February 2024

Dave here, still buzzing from “Blue Spirits”. We delight in them every time they come, but this time: John Etheridge, Pete Whittaker and George Double were in an intense and happy mood. It was special. A favourite? Difficult, but I know “Soul Eyes” and this band’s rendition was a knockout.

Steve loved it too, and provided words and the setlist.

Take care,

Dave

I know this is getting to be a regular thing but WOW! Of the three occasions when I have seen the Blue Spirits Trio, that had to be the very best.  John was on great form musically, but a special mention must go to Pete Whittaker for his performance on organ which added a whole new layer to the sound of John’s guitar and created a beautiful and exhilarating wall of sound effect together with George Double’s drumwork. A lot of people (a lot, was it 100?)  went home very happy and I heard one lady enthusing during the interval queue for CDs saying that it was her first time at Fleece Jazz and that she wants to come back for the Jazz Africa gig.

Stand out moment for me was the heart-wrenching encore “Little Wing” – a truly emotional performance with which to round off the evening.

John Etheridge’s “Blue Spirits” 14th February 2024

  1. Big Yellow Taxi (Joni Mitchell)
  2. You Don’t Know Me (Eddy Arnold/Cindy Walker) Best known by Ray Charles’ version 
  3. Fungii Mama (Blue Mitchell)
  4. The Stars Apart (John Etheridge)
  5. Cold, Cold Heart (Hank Williams)
  6. Distant Voice (John Etheridge)

       *          *          *           *         *        *        *

  1. God Bless The Child (Billie Holliday & Arthur Herzog Junior)  Solo guitar performance by John Etheridge
  1. Secret Love (Sammy Fain/Paul Francis Webster) Best known by Doris Day’s version from Calamity Jane, later covered by Kathy Kirby
  1. Soul Eyes (Mal Waldron )
  2. Do Like Eddie (John Scofield) Dedicated to Eddie Harris
  3. Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers (Stevie Wonder) Best known by Jeff Beck’s performance on ‘Blow by Blow’ but also performed by Syreeta on ‘Stevie Wonder presents Syreeta
  4. First Moves (Sonny Rollins)
  5. Encore: Little Wing (Jimi Hendrix)