Thoughts on Jazz Africa – 10 April 2024

Steve (and a bit of Dave) says:

I’m still basking in the euphoria from last night’s Jazz Africa performance. There were many astounding moments throughout both sets from our six musicians. Yes, six, because we had a guest star on percussion! During the first set, six-year-old Jackson sat in the centre aisle in front of Tony Kofi. He had a water bottle that he used to add to the percussion on stage. Tony brought him on to the stage, gave him a maraca and he played with the band during “Aloka Party”. It will be something he will never forget (and nor will we).

From the exuberant, life-affirming music of Africa’s best-known jazz saxophonist, Manu Dibango, and the pioneer of Afrobeat, Fela Kuti, the gig started as it intended to carry on with an infectious blend of funk, jazz and traditional African rhythms.  You could dance to the music throughout both sets and its humanity incited the purest joy.  The rhythm was key throughout, with each member of the band playing percussion instruments (claves, bones, drums, congas and maracas) at some point. Stuart Fidler, while plucking the strings of his guitar with two fingers in the typical musical style of West African highlife, almost managed to play a hand drum at the same time! Encouraged by Basil Hodge and Tony, different sections of our audience contributed handclapping that created some complex polyrhythms.  Winston Clifford managed to do all of that single-handed on his drumkit and amazed us all with his prodigious skills and inventiveness.  It was wonderful to have Winston back at the Fleece after so long. We were also reminded of his many talents from his beautiful vocals on Abdullah Ibrahim’s ‘African Marketplace’, a song with deep political roots (see setlist).   The polyrhythms were enhanced by bassist Mike Edmunds: as well as providing the pulse and the harmonies, he used the bass guitar as a percussive instrument.

Aside from his warmth and playfulness, Tony Kofi reaffirmed his place as a firm favourite with our audiences with his versatility and superhuman energy on a range of saxophones and how the sound from his horn just continues to soar.  I just didn’t want it to stop on ‘African Marketplace’.

Jazz Africa is of course Basil Hodge’s baby, although he would be the first to emphasise that it is a team effort.  Aside from his use of claves and handclaps, he led with some excellent work on the electric piano as well as acoustic, managing to make both sound authentic and vital in the African music setting, so that the electric piano could be mistaken for a marimba at times.

One more mention of our highly appreciative and enthusiastic audience: there was, as we predicted, ‘dancing in the aisles’ with some wild moves from our technical team and others who could not restrain themselves and celebrated the joy of African Jazz in a truly honest and human way. 

On 24 April, the much acclaimed gig, “The Music of Dudley Moore” will be with us, with composer, pianist, and brilliant presenter Chris Ingham, Paul Higgs on trumpet, Simon Thorpe on bass, and drummer George Double. Tickets are going well for this gig, so do try not to miss it.



  1. Soul Makossa (Manu Dibango) – an international hit for Dibango in 1972 that inspired (and was effectively borrowed by) the later music of Michael Jackson among others. Makossa is a dance tradition of the Douala people in Cameroon, where Dibango was born.
  2. Shakara (Fela Kuti) 
  3. Mannenberg (Abdullah Ibrahim, formerly known as Dollar Brand) Mannenberg is a township of Cape Town, South Africa, that was created by the apartheid government for low-income “Coloured” families in 1966 as a result of the forced removal campaign by the National Party. The song became an anthem of the struggle against Apartheid, evoking South Africa’s dark past but also celebrating its people and their courageous resistance to oppression.
  4. Aloka Party (Manu Dibango)

*          *          *           *         *        *        *

  1. Water No Got No Enemy (Fela Kuti)
  2. African Marketplace (Abdullah Ibrahim)
  3. Big Blow (Manu Dibango)
  4. Goro City (Manu Dibango)
  5. Niger Mambo (Randy Weston)

Thoughts on The Jon Lloyd Quartet

Steve says:

We had quite a different style of Jazz last night from that heard over recent weeks at Fleece Jazz, but one that was exceedingly welcome.  The music was quiet and contemplative – a joy to listen to and also to watch the musicians play with such passion and enjoyment. Alex Goodyear was clearly transported by the music, seemingly enraptured by the sound that the band made collectively.  Alex brought a delicate touch to his drumkit that was a wonder to behold, reminding me of the American drummer, Brian Blade, as he used the whole kit in a gentle and yet expressive way.  The image of him finishing one number by simply shaking his brushes in the air encapsulated the fragile beauty of the music heard over the course of the evening.  I suppose the others were not as animated as Alex, but they were none the less vital to the whole sound. Nick Pini’s sensitive propulsive playing, John Law’s classically trained pianism and the beautiful melodicism heard from Jon Lloyd’s tenor and soprano saxes, as well as in his strong and accessible compositions.

P.S. I have ordered both CDs that were on sale last night but were sold out before I could get my copies. This was my first exposure to the music and musicianship of Jon Lloyd. I am converted!

Dave says:

I had been looking forward to this gig since it was booked. Jon Lloyd’sprevious appearance at the club was over ten years ago, and that music is still in my mind.  We need to have him again, much sooner than 10 years from now.

John Law walked into the room, sat at the piano, and ripped off an impossible Bach fugue at great speed, and then played it as it should be heard. I think it was  a warm-up after a very long drive from his home in Somerset. He held that level of pianism throughout the evening. Jon’s music is not difficult, but it is nuanced, and John covered every nuance with either hand.

Nick Piniwarmed up with bowed Bach. We got a bit of bowing from him in the last number, “The Heron”. His pizzicato was the pulse under a lyrical style of playing.

Jon produced a warm, sustained and clear sound throughout on both tenor and soprano. It was his writing throughout the evening. The melodies were lovely, a few were appropriately tough. 

Through the first set, I had a hankering for an upbeat song. Jon seems not to do these. Then, in the last tune of the set, “Earth Song”, Alex Goodyear produced an extended intro with hands only. It was visually spectacular, and came as close to singing that I have ever heard on drums.

On 10 April, Jazz Africa, lead buy Basil Hodge, will carry us from the roots of jazz to jazz today. Basil is on piano, with saxophonist Tony Kofi, Winston Clifford on drums, Jihad Darwish on bass and Stuart Fiddler on guitar. It will be a special evening. 

Do note that the Jazz Africa gig will start at 8:15pm, doors at 7:45pm.



All compositions by Jon Lloyd

  1. Breaking the Waves
  2. Cinq Feuilles
  3. Flux 
  4. Anima 
  5. Earth Song

*          *          *           *         *        *        *

  1. Al’Afiyah
  2. Yaga
  3. Meta Meta
  4. The Heron

Thoughts on The Gaz Hughes Trio – Nuclear Bebopalypse, 13 March 2024

The Gaz Hughes Trio - Nuclear Bebopalypes, 13 March 2024

The piano trio is my favourite form, and  bebop my favourite style, so my expectations were high for this gig. My expectations were greatly exceeded. Leader Gaz Hughes’ drumming, Andrzej Baranek’s pianism and Gavin Barras’ bass playing (with lots of lovely bowing) all were superb musicians. As people were leaving, I heard one say “what an amazing bassist!”, another said “that wonderful pianist has a proper left hand”, and a third comment that Gaz “was a drummer to hear again and again”. 

The three were tight together from the off, although the intensely listening audience was a bit of a surprise. By the third number, they were visibly having fun. After the gig, Gaz commented on this gig being so good, I guess compared to others on their long tour. They played for us music that they knew well, no music or music stands, but it sounded fresh as a summer sun shower.

I won’t even try to pick out a favourite. 

Steve said:

“I am currently revisiting last night’s Bebopalypse here, listening to each of the two Gaz Hughes Trio CDs that I bought during the interval.  We were treated to a good mix of original material, covers and standards with each of those immensely talented and soulful musicians playing their hearts out. Hats off to the rhythmically strong and fluid playing of Andrzej Baranek but also to the ever-creative Gaz Hughes using everything at his disposal on the drum kit and the ever-engaging style of Gavin Barras on double bass.  

I can’t help thinking that a good few regulars and occasional visitors to the Fleece missed a Bebopportunity last night. The attached setlist will give some idea.”

That gig was a beauty. But we have another much anticipated beauty for you on Wednesday 27 March. It has been too long since we have heard The Jon Lloyd Quartet. We will have Jon on reeds and the superb pianist John Law, with Nick Pini on bass and drummer Alex Goodyear. Don’t miss this one.

Take care,




  1. Beboptical Illusion (Gaz Hughes)
  2. AB’s Blues (Andrzej Baranek)
  3. Beautiful Moons Ago (Oscar Moore / Nat King Cole)
  4. Satin Doll (Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn)
  5. Lullaby of Birdland (George Shearing)
  6. Alice In Wonderland (Sammy Fain)
  7. Nuclear Bebopalypse (Andrzej Baranek/Gaz Hughes)

*          *          *           *         *        *        *

  1. I Mean You (Thelonious Monk)
  2. Disinformation (Gavin Barras)
  3. Shootin’ from the Hip! (Gaz Hughes) 
  4. Put On A Happy Face (Charles Strouse / Lee Adams)
  5. White Noise (Gaz Hughes)
  6. Body and Soul (Johnny Green/Edward Heyman, Robert Sour, Frank Eyton)
  7. Seven Steps To Heaven (Victor Feldman, Miles Davis)
  8. Encore: Stompin’ At The Savoy (Edgar Sampson)

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


Some Kinda Wonderful presents The Music of Stevie Wonder


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

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,


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) 

Thoughts on Cannonball and Nat – 24 January 2024

Dave here, still reeling after last night’s wonderful gig. Thinking of what to write, the word “Joyous” was first to pop out. Then I read Steve’s letter with the set list attached. He wrote…

What an utterly joyous gig we had last night courtesy of “Cannonball and Nat” aka Pete Long, Ryan Quigley, Chris Ingham, Malcolm Creese and George Double.  

It was a revelation, a totally uninhibited celebration of the wonderful music of the Adderley brothers.  Much thanks must go to the exuberant and hilarious compering of Pete Long, who whipped our audience into a good-natured frenzy, but also the driving energy of all of the musicians.  It would be difficult and, in fact, pointless to single out any of the numbers as a high point – there was absolutely no let-up in the pace of the performance except for the ballad medley which the musicians (and audience) needed to get their breath back.  That said, particular favourites with our audience were The Jive Samba and Mercy, Mercy, Mercy with the accompanying whoops and hollers echoing and recapturing the enthusiasm of the crowds in the original recordings.  But then what about Jeanine and Sticks and Ryan Quigley’s beautiful rendition of Skylark. 

A lot of people went home elated and content last night thanks to the boundless energy of five very hard-working musicians. I had a view across the stage and the looks of unashamed pleasure in the faces of the audience said it all.


I would just add that the trading 8’s and 4’s between the two horns in “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” was spectacular. 

We are greatly looking forward the the great guitarist and storyteller John Etheridge, with Pete Whitaker on organ and drummer George Double. I hope to see you with us on Wednesday February 14th.

Take care,




  1. Fiddler on the Roof (Jerry Bock & Sheldon Harnick)
  2. Save Your Love for Me (Buddy Johnson) from the album Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley.
  3. Unit 7 (Sam Jones) also from the album Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley.
  4. Jive Samba (Nat Adderley)
  5. Azule Serape (Victor Feldman)

*          *          *           *         *        *        *

  1. Del Sasser (Sam Jones)
  2. Jeanine (Duke Pearson)
  3. I’m In the Mood For Love(Jimmy McHugh) /Laura(David Raksin) /Skylark (Hoagy Carmichael)
  4. Sticks (Julian Adderley)
  5. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy (Josef Zawinul)

Encore: Work Song (Nat Adderley/Oscar Brown Jr)

Thoughts on Q3 featuring Kevin Flanagan – 10 January 2024

The first gig of 2024 was a great start to what looks like a very exciting season.  I note that we described Kevin Flanagan as “master saxophonist”, and boy, he blew a stunning gig. Kevin is very well known to us and loved, but the other three who were new to us, were masters as well. 

The band was led by pianist and composer Martin Hallmark. All but two of the tunes played were his compositions. He gave us a varied programme of thoughtful music. He is a wonderful pianist.

Derek Scurll knows how to play the room. He is a very skilled drummer, perfect support for the band.

The revelation was 5 string electric bassist Tiago Coimbra. His speed and invention were quite wonderful. He used a little stomp box on two numbers that I noticed. The effects were very appropriate to the tunes, and they did not blast distortion at us. The last tune of the first set, “Nomads”, was a lovely example of that (see Steves note in the set list).

Steve actually got the set list from Martin: it is a bit of a  rarity to have a programme solidly fixed. So when  the audience asked for an encore, they had nothing ready. Kevin suggests a blues, which was met with approval. He titled it “Born of Desperation”. Without the restriction of written music, the four of them blew a beautiful blues.

Next up, on the 24 of the month, tenorist Pete Long and trumpeter Ryan Quigley will celebrate the music of the brothers Cannonball and Nat Adderly, with Chris Ingham on piano, Malcolm Creese on bass and George Double on drums. It will be a cracker. Do join us.

Take care




All numbers composed by Martin Hallmark except for African Skies which was composed by Michael Brecker.

  1.   Through the Clouds
  2. Odyssey – played as a trio and a homage to the late, great Chick Corea with whom Martin spent some time in a piano workshop.
  3. Lost at Sea
  4. N.J.B.
  5. A Good Day For Breathing
  6. Emerald Eyes
  7. Nomads – a middle eastern flavoured number with Tiago Coimbra’s electric bass sounding like an oud!

*          *          *           *         *        *        *

  1. Fuzzy Hacker-tat
  2. African Skies
  3. Rondo di Girulata 
  4. Equipoise
  5. Water Speckled Midnight
  6. Nocturne – reflecting Martin’s attempts to play Chopin during the pandemic credited for getting his left hand moving better on the piano.
  7. Turnaround Time (Martin Hallmark)


Thoughts on Ben, Bean, Bird and Barnes, Thursday 28 December 2023

When Steve sent over the setlist  below,  he said, “What a wonderful gig with which to finish the year and Fleece season. Alan is a brilliant compere as well as a huge talent.”. I can’t imagine  that anyone in the crowd (and what a crowd it was) would disagree. It was being at home with jazz royalty: raconteur Alan Barnes on alto sax, clarinet, and baritone sax; Vasilis Xenopoulos on tenor sax; Jim Watson on piano; Andrew Cleyndert on bass; Clark Tracey on drums. The gig included music composed and performed by Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins (nicknamed Bean) and Charlie Parker, and two by Alan. There was time for everybody to have extended solos. I have no favourites: it was a spectacularly good evening.

Alan played the audience superbly. There was just enough  information about each tune to satisfy, with anecdotes about the three B’s, and he had us in stitches with his easy pointed humour. I got the strong impression from watching the other four performers that Alan was improvising his chat. We know him well, but his musical speed and invention still surprises us. He made a joke about using the clarinet on “Body and Soul” as a chance to practice, and then used his incredible technique to enhance his feelings for the song and for  Vasilis’ solos. 

Jim’s solo on the first number, “Bean and the Boys”, was truly exciting, and our quiet listening audience was whooping after it. If you are going to play Ben Webster tunes, the warm tenor saxophone tone produced by Vasilis seemed perfect. Andrew if anything has grown as a bassist over the years; solid pulse with constant invention. And Clark; continuous genius at work.  But the key from all four that made it so brilliant was the palpable listening. 

It has been a very good year at Fleece Jazz. Band after band came and played for us, playing wonderfully and showing us the huge range that the genre has. B, B, B, and Barnes was a stunning climax to the year.   But it would be wrong to end this note without thanks to the people who volunteer to make the club work.

So what about next year?  Well, starting off with Kevin Flanagan on sax is a very good beginning. The Martin Hallmark (piano) quartet, with Kevin, Tiago Coimbra on bass and drummer Derek Scurll is on Wednesday 10 January, It will be great to have your company for the gig.

Take care,




  1. Bean and the Boys (Coleman Hawkins) – based on ‘Lover Come Back To Me’
  2. Los Caracoles (Alan Barnes)
  3. Walking the Frog (Ben Webster) BW was jokingly referred to as ‘The Frog’ by fellow musicians owing to his facial appearance and not, as Alan Barnes suggested, because he could catch insects with his tongue!
  4. Body and Soul (Johnny Green/Edward Heyman, Robert Sour, Frank Eyton) – a jazz standard and ballad notably performed by both Ben Webster and Coleman Hawkins.
  5. Billie’s Bounce (Charlie Parker)

*          *          *           *         *        *        *

  1. Spotlite (Coleman Hawkins)
  2. Did You Call Her Today? (Ben Webster) based on ‘Just You, Just Me’
  3. Chelsea Bridge (Duke Ellington) often performed by Ben Webster
  4. Mango (Alan Barnes)
  5. Frog Eyes (Clark Terry) dedicated to Ben Webster
  6. ENCORE: Yardbird Suite (Charlie Parker)

Thoughts on The Ed Jones Quartet, 13th December 2023

On Wednesday night last, the Ed Jones Quartet led by British saxophonist and composer Ed Jones returned to Fleece Jazz for the first time in five years. Initially inspired by the music of Wayne Shorter with a style reminiscent of John Coltrane, the group includes pianist Ross Stanley, bassist Riaan Vosloo and drummer Tim Giles. Together for over ten years, they have forged a unique identity of powerfully driven fire music with atmospheric improvised soundscapes that draws from original compositions and fresh interpretations of the American songbook repertoire.

The programme featured a mix of material from the For Your Ears Only album, a couple of newer, yet to be recorded pieces and four remarkable explorations of jazz standards. The opener, ‘Nomadology’, featured Jones’ Coltranesque tenor sax floating above the rolling grooves generated by Stanley, Vosloo and Giles but there’s plenty of variation along the way with subtle changes of rhythm and tempo keeping things interesting and allowing Jones to stretch out and probe to good effect. The leader’s consistently engaging solo is followed by an expansive excursion from Stanley as he matched Jones for imagination with a skilfully constructed solo.

Next up was the popular standard, ‘It Could Happen to You’, written by Jimmy Van Heusen and originally performed by Dorothy Lamour in the musical And The Angels Sing in 1944, with lyrics written by Johnny Burke. Notable jazz recordings include those by Chet Baker, Miles Davis, Bill Evans and Bud Powell.  A haunting melody with a laid-back rhythm, Jones states the theme on tenor before handing over to Stanley and we are reminded of his formidable skills as a pianist. Both soloists are well served by the supple, fluent grooves generated by the experienced rhythm team of Vosloo and Giles throughout.

Ed then announces that we are about to hear the “East Coast debut” of new composition, ‘Passing Time and Melancholy’, an impressive and atmospheric offering from the pen of Riaan Vosloo providing a welcome contrast to the first two numbers. The tension between the structured and the free is evident throughout as themes are sketched or suggested.

The first set closes with another standard, ‘All or Nothing at All’, composed in 1939 by Arthur Altman and made famous by Frank Sinatra soon after with lyrics by Jack Lawrence. The all-too-familiar melody temporarily suggests a return to more orthodox jazz territory but there’s an intensity about the music that is sometimes reminiscent of John Coltrane or McCoy Tyner.

The second set is ushered in by another fresh composition, Riaan Vosloo’s quirkily named ‘Tune 3 (Sneaky Snakes)’.  This was a more reflective offering, a slow burner of a piece, the kind of abstract but evocative ballad that wouldn’t sound out of place on an ECM recording.  We reverted to another well-loved jazz standard with ‘Star Eyes’ before reaching what was to be the final announced number.

Given a choice of three numbers, our audience picked ‘Solstice’, another impressive and atmospheric offering from the pen of Riaan Vosloo. Beginning appropriately with the deep, woody sound of the composer’s melodic double bass before being joined by the eerie shimmer of Giles’ cymbals, it is yet another long, slow-burning performance with Jones’ tenor smouldering rather than blazing in the tune’s early stages. It slowly unfolds with Jones soloing above waltz-like piano chording and the flowing drum colourations of Giles. Stanley builds up the tension before gradually releasing it again before Jones segues into a stunning, Coltrane-inspired version of the classic jazz ballad ‘Body and Soul’. As the last note fades, gasps and a “Follow that!” are heard from our great listening audience who had responded to this superb original music with enthusiasm throughout.

We will try to “follow that” in two weeks’ time on THURSDAY 28th December when we celebrate the festive season with Ben, Bean, Bird and Barnes. An outstanding quintet, led by Alan Barnes, pays homage to three of the most influential giants of Jazz – Ben Webster, Coleman “Bean” Hawkins and Charlie “Bird” Parker. Please join us for what promises to be a gig full of outstanding tunes from the golden eras of swing and bebop played with passion and musical verve.

Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy and Peaceful New Year.

Steve Jordan

1. Nomadology (Ed Jones)
2. It Could Happen To You (Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Burke)
3. Passing Time and Melancholy (Riaan Vosloo)
4. All Or Nothing At All (Arthur Altman/Jack Lawrence)
*          *          *           *         *        *        *
5. Tune 3 (Sneaky Snakes) (Riaan Vosloo)
6. Star Eyes (Gene de Paul/Don Raye )
7. Solstice (Riaan Vosloo)
8. Body and Soul (Johnny Green/Edward Heyman, Robert Sour, Frank Eyton)

Thoughts on Joanna Eden and The Chris Ingham Trio, 21 November 2023

When Joanna Eden and Chris Ingham appear together, they usually do a double act. Not this time. It was Joanna’s show, and what a wonderful show it was. She took us from the beginning of Ella Fitzgerald’s career to the end. She was backed by Chris on piano, Andres Lafone on bass and George Double on drums, a perfect trio to support the lady (“Ella’s fellas”).

Joanna had structured the programme beautifully. She opened with a blast, “Get Happy”, which Ella often opened with. She kept to the structure of Ella’s career. I did not know that she wrote the second verse to “Manhattan” to get her birthplace in (it’s Yonkers). Her early life was a mile less than a joy, so “Someone to Watch Over Me” was spot on with Joanna’s narrative.

And then “A-Tisket-A-Tasket”, a simple number based on an old nursery rhyme with a tune identical to that other children’s rhyme “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring”. This was Ella’s audition piece that won her first prize with a song at a dance contest and went on to become her breakthrough hit with the Chick Webb Orchestra in 1938.

Joanna’s story-telling was illuminating throughout the gig. Her singing was all we expected of her. She is a musician to the core, with phrasing, timbre and her presentation integral to the song she is presenting. That is a real joy.

She had songs with pairs and individuals from the trio. Chris is a superb accompanist. Andres is new to us: he is a terrific bassist, and his work with Joanna was lovely. A song with just George? Amazing.

Joanna told us that Ella fell in love with bebop, and actually took lessons from Dizzy Gillespie. Oh, to be a fly on the wall for those lessons! “ A Night in Tunisia” and “How High the Moon” gave Joanna space to scat, and she was excellent. Famously, while performing in West Berlin in 1960, Ella launched into a cover of “Mack The Knife”. She didn’t know the lyrics too well and midway through the song, she completely forgot them. When in doubt, what does a jazz singer do? Scat! Ella’s version went on to become a big Grammy-winning performance from her live album, Ella in Berlin, proving what an expert improviser she was.

It was a pleasure to see how our large audience hung on every note as they watched Joanna and the band with love and admiration. Every number was enthusiastically received; the murmurs of warm appreciation were clearly audible as she launched into “The Man I Love” at the end of the first set, “The Very Thought of You” and “Miss Otis Regrets” in the second set. It would be difficult and an unnecessary diversion to pick a favourite moment as the whole performance was seamless and went far too quickly before the audience were calling for an encore. Our band, generous as ever, obliged with the tear-jerking “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” – a fitting end to a wonderful evening’s performance.

On Wednesday 13 December, we get to hear the power of award winning saxophonist Ed Jones. He is joined by Ross Stanley on piano, Riaan Vosloo on bass and Tim Giles on drums. Ed raises the temperature whenever he solos. Do come.

Take care,
Dave and Steve

1. Get Happy (Harold Arlen/Ted Koehler)
2. Someone To Watch Over Me (George & Ira Gershwin)
3. Manhattan (Rodgers & Hart)
4. A-Tisket-A-Tasket (Traditional nursery rhyme extended by Ella Fitzgerald & Al Feldman
5. Caravan (Juan Tizol & Duke Ellington)
6. (If You Can’t Sing It) You’ll Have To Swing It (Mr Paganini) (Sam Coslow)
7. Desafinado (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
8. Sweet Georgia Brown (Ben Bernie, Maceo Pinkard & Kenneth Casey)
9. Winter Weather/I’ve Got My Love To Keep You Warm mash-up (Connee Boswell)/Irving Berlin)
10. The Man I Love (George & Ira Gershwin)
*          *          *           *         *        *        *
11. The Very Thought of You (Ray Noble)
12. A Night in Tunisia (Dizzy Gillespie)
13. The Midnight Sun originally an instrumental composed by Lionel Hampton & Sonny Burke. Lyrics were later added by Johnny Mercer.
14. Miss Otis Regrets (Cole Porter)
15. You Turn The Tables On Me (Louis Alter & Sidney D. Mitchell)
16. How High The Moon (Nancy Hamilton & Morgan Lewis)
17. Embraceable You (George & Ira Gershwin)
18. What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? (Frank Loesser)
19. Mack The Knife (Kurt Weill/ Bertolt Brecht)
ENCORE: Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye (Cole Porter)