On Wednesday 26 June Fletch’s Brew- £20

Mark Fletcher Drums 

Freddie Gavita Trumpet/Flugelhorn

Paul Stacey Guitar

Jim Watson Piano

Steve Pearce Bass

“(Fletch’s Brew) . . . . . could, without overstating the case, easily be called Band of Virtuosos(Jazzwise magazine)

In 2010, drumming tour-de-force Mark Fletcher founded Fletch’s Brew, a band which blurs the boundaries of musical styles and surpasses preconceived notions of jazz.  Whether playing original compositions or new arrangements from across the jazz canon, their style floats seamlessly between the idioms of fusion, funk, bebop, reggae and rock.  Mark is a remarkably talented and muscular drummer, capable of subtlety but never better than when leading an all-guns-blazing charge, which is both very exciting and intensely engaging.

Freddie Gavita is an award-winning British trumpeter and composer who has cemented his place as a leading light on the British jazz scene.  He is a member of the Ronnie Scott’s Club Quintet as well as being a band leader in his own right, playing his own original music to great critical acclaim.  Once described as “a cross between Kenny Wheeler and Freddie Hubbard”, he has also played with, among others, Peter Erskine, Joe Locke, Jon Hendricks, Kenny Wheeler, Stan Sulzmann, Tim Garland, Gregory Porter and Dionne Warwick.

Paul Stacey is a guitarist, producer, mixer and actor. Paul was a member of NYJO in the ‘80s and The Lemon Trees with Guy Chambers in the ’90s, before working for many years with Oasis, the Black Crowes and Noel Gallagher. Jazz artists that he has worked with include Laurence Cottle, David Preston, Jason Rebello, Pino Palladino, Tommy Smith, Mornington Locket, Gary Husband, Clare Martin, Georgie Fame, Ian Shaw, Iain Ballamy, Jim Mullen, Bobby Wellins and Kenny Wheeler.

A session and touring musician of formidable repute, Jim Watson is rightly considered to be one of the most talented pianists in the country.  He has been featured in a huge variety of bands, including the Jazz/Funk bands Incognito, Brand New Heavies and US3, with US artists Lalo Schifrin, James Moody, the BBC Radio Big Band, Katie Melua and most recently Manu Katché. His jazz bona fides are just as impressive having worked with Dave O’Higgins, Julian Arguelles, Jean Toussaint and Peter King among many others. 

Steve Pearce is one of the most experienced bass players working in London today, playing regularly in the top studios in the capital.  His career spans over four decades over the course of which he has played with artists such as Van Morrison, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Mose Allison, Al Jarreau, Mark Knopfler Randy Crawford and many more.

We haven’t had anything like this in New York for over twenty years.” (Wynton Marsalis)

Thoughts on “Wakey Blakey” – The Music of Art Blakey

In the great debate about the superiority or otherwise of the audio quality of analogue sound (vinyl) as opposed to digital (CD and download), there is one listening experience that can be forgotten and that, of course, is live music.  Nothing beats it, especially when the band delivers to such a high standard as Wakey Blakey, the sextet led by Rory Ingham and James Davison playing the music of the classic sextet lineup of Art Blakey and The Jazz Mesengers.  It’s not just the immediacy of the experience and the fidelity of sound or even the spontaneity and sheer joy of improvised music, but being able to witness first-hand how musicians work together.

Last night was a cracker of an evening, a feast of hard bop by a superlative sextet who gave us the music of Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard and Curtis Fuller originally recorded by Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.  These albums are getting a fresh play today as I relive last night’s gig and marvel at the music once again.  

I am lucky to have seen Wayne Shorter many times as well as Cedar Walton and Freddie Hubbard once each, but not all in the same room at the same time with Art Blakey and the others. “Wakey Blakey” was a real treat and an awakening to how wonderful this music sounds live.  I was struck by the similarity of James Davison’s tone and urgency of delivery to that of Freddie Hubbard from the beginning during “Time Off”. He was very powerful, yet completely soulful and sensitive when required as on the beautiful rendition of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Skylark”.  I loved the bluesy growl of Rory’s trombone-playing in several numbers, especially “Hammerhead”.  An old Fleece regular used to say that the trombone was an “awkward instrument in the modern setting” but he hadn’t heard Rory play it as sensitively and as fluently as he did last night.  Rory was also a very amusing and playful compere who balanced humour with respect for the music of the Jazz Messengers.  Alex Garnett was a dep for another Alex and it was one of his best performances on tenor sax that I have seen from him in a while.  He played with conviction and soul and delivered some warm solos throughout.  

Pianist Matt Carter provided a constant propulsive rhythm throughout many numbers and did so faultlessly, with occasional bursts of freer improvisation. Misha Mullov-Abbado was a tall presence alongside his double bass, using his long frame and long dextrous fingers at such a rapid pace to provide the propulsive beat demanded by the faster numbers. I especially loved his solo that introduced Hubbard’s “The Core”. I’ve left our drummer until last which is how it often is, but this was a homage to the great Art Blakey, a huge presence who played with so much drive and passion. Luke Tomlinson was, like Art, sensitive to what was going on around the music and had two memorable and powerful solos on “Free For All” and “Ping Pong” that penetrated to the core.

The last word goes to Carlos Santana: “Art Blakey’s drive, passion, soulfulness, heart and innovation were and still are inspirations that help and require us to move the music ever forward.” That was very much in evidence in last night’s performance from Wakey Blakey.

Take care,

Steve

Dave says:

That was an accurate review of a great show. The sound check was terrific fun to be part of, even though the only mics were piano and leader.

WAKEY BLAKEY: THE MUSIC OF ART BLAKEY’S JAZZ MESSENGERS

SETLIST, FLEECE JAZZ 08/5/24

Towards the beginning of the gig, Rory Ingham explained that the numbers they would be playing were originally performed by the classic sextet lineup of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers: Wayne Shorter (tenor sax); Freddie Hubbard (trumpet); Curtis Fuller (trombone); Cedar Walton (Piano); Reggie Workman (Bass); as well as Art Blakey (drums) himself. The selections were mostly from the albums Mosaic (1961), Caravan (1962), Ugetsu (1963) and Free For All (1964

  1. Time Off (Curtis Fuller) from the album Ugetsu
  2. Hammerhead (Wayne Shorter) from the album Free For All
  3. Free For All (Wayne Shorter) from the album Free For All
  4. Skylark (Hoagy Carmichael)from the album Caravan
  5. One By One (Wayne Shorter) from the album Ugetsu

*          *          *           *         *        *        *

  1. Children of the Night (Wayne Shorter) from the album Mosaic
  2. In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning (David Mann)from the album Caravan
  3. The Core (Freddie Hubbard) from the album Free For All
  4. Miyako (Wayne Shorter) from his album Schizophrenia 
  5. Ping Pong (Wayne Shorter) from the album Ugetsu
  6. Encore: Down Under (Freddie Hubbard) from the album Mosaic

On Wednesday 24 July Theo Travis’ Double Talk – £20

Theo Travis Saxes and flute

Pete Whittaker Organ

Mike Outram Guitar

Nic France Drums 

“High octane innovative jazz, continually evolving with underlying rock and ambient influences . . .”           (Mojo magazine)

The full flowing effect of the music from the Double Talk Quartet returns to Fleece Jazz for the first time in seven years.  Theo Travis’ influences are diverse and include the Beatles and Pink Floyd as much as jazz artists like Stan Getz, Pharoah Sanders, Elvin Jones and Chick Corea.  His many musical interests come together in this distinctive quartet project, which delivers music at the fluid interface between jazz, ambient and prog.  He has become one of the most active jazz artists and composers in the U.K. and in addition to having his own group, he is in demand as a sideman to musicians from a variety of musical genres.  He has worked with Soft Machine Legacy, Robert Fripp, David Sylvian, Anja Garbarek, John Etheridge, Gong, David Gilmour and Keith Tippett.

The bluesy, progressive jazz of the quartet draws heavily on the soulful Hammond organ of Pete Whittaker, the soaring guitar of Mike Outram and the powerful but subtle drums and percussion of Nic France.  Pete Whittaker is a regular member of the Nigel Price Organ Trio and has also been involved with several other jazz projects including Toni Kofi’s Organisation and guitarist John Etheridge’s “Blue Spirits”.  Mike Outram is one of the UK’s foremost guitarists who is sought after as an improviser and for his ability to contribute a unique voice to any musical ensemble.  He has toured internationally with Herbie Mann, Carleen Anderson and Tim Garland and recorded with Steven Wilson and Robert Fripp.  Nic France has an impeccable sense of groove and dynamics, making him a sought-after sessionist.  He has played with Andy Sheppard, Nigel Kennedy,  Barb Jungr and the Charlie Haden Liberation Orchestra.

“Travis’ tenor is a warm, mellifluous instrument and together with the luscious, bluesy Hammond organ they create something rather unexpected…a prog-rock/jazz/blues hybrid of genuine power and excitement” (Guy Hayden)

On Wednesday 28 August Tony Kofi and The Organisation – £20

Tony Kofi Baritone sax

Liam Dunachie Hammond organ

Simon Fernsby Guitar

Pete Cater Drums 

Kofi deals not so much with the past as with the eternal truths of jazz music – swing, in-the-moment lyricism, the lust for life – and he continues to find compelling ways to express them.’       (All About Jazz)

Award-winning and internationally recognized saxophonist Tony Kofi teams up with the ‘Organisation’ to perform a hard-hitting selection of tunes in blues, jazz and funk idioms. Having honed his skills in the “Jazz Warriors” of the early 90’s, he has gone on to establish himself as a musician, teacher and composer of some authority. He has performed with such acclaimed artists as the David Murray Big Band, Courtney Pine, US3 (Blue Note), The World Saxophone Quartet and Roy Ayers.  Tony has also recorded with Ornette Coleman and worked with Abdullah Ibrahim. 

Liam Dunachie is a pianist, jazz organist, composer and arranger based in London. After graduating from Trinity College, Cambridge, Liam won a scholarship to study jazz piano and arranging at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama where he studied with Malcolm Edmonstone, Nikki Iles and Scott Stroman among others. He has since gone on to play piano and Hammond organ in groups led by Jim Mullen, Dennis Rollins, Derek Nash and Nigel Price among others. He has performed at all of  London’s major jazz and commercial venues.

Simon Fernsby has toured extensively in the UK, Europe, the U.S., Canada and Japan, headlining such prestigious venues as The Royal Albert Hall, the Forum, Paris Olympia, the Whiskey a Go-Go and the Universal Amphitheatre Los Angeles. With the ‘Organisation’ he has worked with Steve Fishwick, Jim Hart, Alex Garnett and Dave O’Higgins amongst others.

Pete Cater is ‘a gifted and versatile drummer, at home in any context’ (Rough Guide to Jazz) His professional career of over 30 years has encompassed almost the entire musical spectrum, but it is his work as a big band drummer and leader that has secured his worldwide reputation. He is in regular demand with a variety of large ensembles including the BBC Big Band and the Back to Basie Orchestra. In addition, Pete has worked with many international jazz stars in small band settings including Arturo Sandoval, Charlie Byrd and Benny Carter.

“a killer band with real bite, especially when the heat was on” Jazzwise

On Wednesday 14 August  The Oddgeir Berg Trio- £20

Oddgeir Berg Piano

Audun Ramo Bass

Lars Berntsen Drums 

“A piano trio to get truly excited about, a trio for the new millennium”– **** Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

Jazz trios named after the piano player give certain expectations, be it Horace Silver and his tender “Que Pasa” or Esbjørn Svensson and his Northern sounds; clarity and intimacy are common to these, with a hint of tonal melancholy.  These characteristics also present with Oddgeir Berg Trio, who are clearly familiar with a Scandinavian jazz tradition. 

The trio’s sound has been called “withdrawn and cinematic.” In this aspect they share a characteristic with another Norwegian piano group, the Tord Gustavsen Trio. A notable difference is Oddgeir Berg Trio’s more effusive embrace of electronics, which adds to the cinematic and atmospheric aspect of the sound. 

The trio has some other tricks up its sleeve though, most importantly an urgency for action, pace and adventure.   Here the Oslo based trio has more in common with Miles Davis’ Jack Johnson than Scandinavia’s Jan Johannson. The love of jazz and blues drive Audun Ramo’s double bass and the propulsive drum sound of Lars Bentsen energetically support Oddgeir Berg’s playing. Berg’s curiosity in experimenting with Wurlitzer\Rhodes and synthesizer sounds sneaks into the soundscape and lends a distinctive colour to the sound panorama.

“Electroacoustic jazz with one leg in melancholy and the other in ecstasy.”

On Wednesday 10 July The Stan Getz/Cal Tjader Sextet Tribute- £20

Nat Steele Vibes

Mark Crooks Tenor sax

Colin Oxley Guitar

Mátyás Gayer Piano

Jeremy Brown  Double Bass

Mark Taylor  Drums 

The combination of tenor sax with vibraphone is a particularly warm and luxurious sound and has been featured very successfully by several leading tenor players including Sonny Rollins (with Milt Jackson) and Joe Henderson (with Bobby Hutcherson).

Stan Getz and Cal Tjader had an especially successful partnership in the late 1950s, leading an all-star sextet including Scott La Faro, Vince Guaraldi, Eddie Duran and on his very first recording drum master Billy Higgins.

This sextet led by tenor player Mark Crooks and vibraphonist Nat Steele celebrates this collaboration, playing selections from the brilliant 1958 album. The sextet performs gorgeous arrangements of standards “For All We Know”, “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face” and “My Buddy” along with swinging originals by Tjader and Guaraldi, “Ginza Samba” and “Big Bear”. Stan Getz’s other vibraphone partnerships are also showcased, with selections from his recordings with vibes masters Lionel Hampton and Gary Burton.

Mark Crooks works in a wide variety of musical settings including jazz, big band and classical. He has performed with artists ranging from Tony Bennett to Sir Simon Rattle, Lady Gaga to Dame Cleo Laine at venues from Ronnie Scott’s in London to the Lincoln Center in New York. Nat Steele quickly gained a reputation as a talented musician to watch out for, described by Clark Tracey as “one of the best vibes players this country has ever produced.” Principally self-taught and following in the style of Milt Jackson, his quartet is regularly featured in the Late, Late show at Ronnie Scott’s.

Featured in the rhythm section are the UK’s finest straight-ahead jazz musicians: bassist Jeremy Brown (Brad Mehldau, Peter King), up-and-coming young pianist Mátyás Gayer, and drummer Mark Taylor (George Coleman, Monty Alexander).

Accolades for Mark Crooks: “luscious sound and apparently effortless phrasing”; “a big, warm, engaging tone”; “gorgeous, liquid and elegant.

Accolade for Nat Steele: “A remarkable young vibraphonist in the Milt Jackson tradition.Dave Gelly (Observer)

Thoughts on The Chris Ingham Quartet -“The Music of Dudley Moore”, 24 April 2024

The Chris Ingham Quartet -"The Music of Dudley Moore", 24 April 2024

During Chris Ingham’s superb  presentation of the life of the great Dudley Moore, he (only once) stumbled over a word. As the announcer at the gig, I wood never distend to such a Paux Fas. 

One of the delights of any show led by Chris is the depth of his research, and the humour of his presentation. I think everyone found something new about Dudley’s life and talent.  But as good as it was, the music was what the evening was about, and the music was wonderful.

The musicians were:

Chris was on piano and vocals. He said in effect that he was unequal to the virtuosity of Dudley. I wonder; to me, there was no note out of place, whether the music was dense or sparse. Consider the riot of counter-rhythms on “Amalgam”, while echoing the serene themes played by Paul. The vocals were a riot on their own.

Paul Higgs, who played trumpet (open, wah wah, harmon, straight) and flugel. His soft, clear singing to echo the frenetic piano on “Amalgam”, was lovely.  He is such a good player. His enjoyment of the work of the others was lovely to watch. He made the trading of 4’s with George such a treat.

George Double was the drummer. I loved his range of expression was surprising; hand work on “Atlanta”, some beautiful trading on several numbers, and just watching him play. And for the first time for me, he sang, in duet with Paul, as backing vocalists. Way backing vocalists, bh singing by the drums, very funny. You have to be good to be funny.

Simon Thorpe only sang once, but it was clear he enjoyed it. He is a favourite at Fleece Jazz. His work throughout the evening was superb, and the solo on “Sad One for George” was special.

These guys gave us the joy and the complexity of Dudley Moore’s music. It was an evening to cherish. Steve’s amazing set list below deserves a read.

Our next gig is also a celebration of one of the greats. A trombone led band to honour a drummer? Yes indeed. Art Blakey would be delighted by the work of the Rory Ingham sextet: Rory on trombone, Alex Garnett on sax, James Davison on trumpet, Matt Carter on piano, Misha Mullov-Abbado on bass, and Luke Tomlinson on drums. It will be a high energy, wildly swinging gig.. So do join us for the first gig of the new programme on Wednesday the 8th of May.

Take care,

Dave

THE CHRIS INGHAM QUARTET: THE MUSIC OF DUDLEY MOORE

SETLIST, FLEECE JAZZ 24/4/24

  1. Dudley Dell – originally the B-side to his 1961 debut single Strictly for the Birds. Now only available as a bonus track on Authentic Dud Volume 2, the CD reissue of Moore’s 1965 album on Decca Records, The Other Side of Dudley Moore. This quirky two-minute number is best known nowadays as the theme tune to Radio 4’s Quote Unquote. It shares the same chord sequence as My Blue Heaven and contains glancing references to a host of jazz standards.
  2. (Theme tune to) Not Only . . . But Also – Not Only … But Also was the hugely popular TV sketch show that Dudley hosted with Peter Cook between 1964 and 1970.  The quirky, angular, Thelonious Monk-inspired theme to Not Only … But Also was the B-side to Pete and Dud’s 1965 Top 20 hit Goodbye-ee. It has virtually vanished from the internet. You’ll find some snippets of Moore playing it on (retrieved) videos of the TV show, but a full recording is not available.
  3. Waterloo – full of labyrinthine chord sequences/ My Blue Heaven (Donaldson/Whiting) – full of Dudley’s characteristic playfulness with a two-step lope on bass and finger-popping on bongos courtesy of Simon Thorpe and George Double respectively.
  4. Poova Nova – from The Other Side of Dudley Moore.
  5. Bedazzled Dudley’s best-known song is the recurring theme from the 1967 movie, Bedazzled. It was most memorably delivered by a fictional psych-rock band called Drimble Wedge and the Vegetations, with Peter Cook deadpanning the lyrics (“I’m not available / You fill me with inertia”). Dudley recorded several instrumental versions, recasting the heavily flanged rock song as a gentle bossa nova.
  6. Cornfield – from Bedazzled

*          *          *           *         *        *        *

  1. 30 Is A Dangerous Age, Cynthia – from the 1968 British romantic comedy film starring Dudley Moore and Suzy Kendall.  
  2. Sad One For George – from The Other Side of Dudley Moore, dedicated to George Hastings who took him in when Moore’s marriage broke down. Dudley repaid him by running off with his wife. Featured a beautiful bass solo by Simon Thorpe.
  3. Love Me/ The Millionaire – both from Bedazzled. Anguished cries of “Love Me!” are played over a shuffling pop background in the film. Dudley, who spent most of his life in psychotherapy, once said that “Playing Jazz was my way of asking for the love I didn’t get as a child.” As Chris said, “Dudley playing piano is a man revealed.”
  4. Amalgam – a sprightly piece of continental minimalism from Dudley’s self-titled 1969 album, The Dudley Moore Trio. It was his first set of entirely original material and here performed by the quartet with serene long notes from Paul Higgs on trumpet and flugelhorn with Chris Ingham underpinning them on piano.
  5. Yesterdays(Jerome Kern) – from the 1966 album on Decca Records, Genuine Dud.
  6. Waltz for Suzy – from the 1991 album, Songs Without Words.
  7. Song for Suzy – from the 1971 album, Today. Both this number and the previous one were dedicated to Dudley’s first wife and actress, Suzy Kendall. 
  8. Encore: Goodbye-ee Pete and Dud’s 1965 Top 20 hit.  This was the closing song from their 1960s sketch show Not Only But Also.

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.

JAZZ AFRICA: THE ORIGINS FROM ROOTS TO NOW

SETLIST, FLEECE JAZZ 10/4/24

  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)

On Wednesday 12 June “Conversations with Bill”: A Celebration of Bill Evans with The Adrian York Trio – £18

Adrian York Piano

Paul Whitten Double Bass

Mark Fletcher Drums 

Conversations with Bill

Join us for an intimate evening of impressionistic harmony and pure beauty as we experience the lyrical compositions of the iconic pianist and multi-instrumentalist Bill Evans. Conversations with Bill explores the repertoire and recordings, compositions and piano style of this great and most distinctive of all jazz pianists.

Like many of his peers, Bill Evans’ short life was challenged by both his genius and the challenges that faced his generation, but he left a legacy of stunning and very beautiful music that still influences musicians of today. Presented by musician, educator and broadcaster Adrian York, this promises to be a truly interesting and inspiring session.

Dr Adrian York began his musical career in the early 1980s as a member of a swing-pop band Roman Holliday. He then worked for a plethora of artists from the worlds of pop, jazz and light entertainment including Jimmy Ruffin, Shirley Bassey and Paul Young. In the jazz world he has performed with Ian Shaw, Ronny Jordan, Jean Toussaint, Tim Garland, Tina May and Alan Barnes as well as being musical director for a host of Jazz FM live acts.

Paul Whitten has been described as “the best jazz bassist in the South of England” by promoters of the Swanage Jazz Festival. Another music critic said that “Paul Whitten played very sensitively. His tone is sweet and woody – not too much bass or treble. I really like Paul’s solo style. His lines are more like those you would want to sing. His solos are sweet and very clean, melodic.”

Mark Fletcher is one of the UK’s most versatile and in demand drummers.  Equally at home in straight ahead jazz, free improvised music, rock and world music, Mark was the house drummer at Ronnie Scott’s for 12 years and has played there and in leading venues around the world since the late ’80s. Amongst others, he has worked with Dizzy Gillespie, Mark Murphy, Michel Legrand, James Moody, Dave Gilmore, Tim Garland, Liane Carroll, Norma Winstone, Georgie Fame, Ian Shaw, Cedar Walton and Kenny Wheeler. Mark also leads his own band, Fletch’s Brew, renowned for playing original compositions and new arrangements from across the jazz canon.

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.

THE JON LLOYD QUARTET

SEATLIST, FLEECE JAZZ 27/3/24

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