John Horler, Alec Dankworth, Ronnie Jones

Jazz pianist still has today´s jazz men enthralled.

says Norman Warwick

It was in March of last year that we ran a feature on Jazz pianist Bill Evans, and now a year later a special concert is to take place at the Progress Theatre Reading to mark the sixtieth anniversary of Bill Evans’ seminal album ‘Sunday at the Village Vanguard’ (left) with ‘A Tribute to Bill Evans’ led by John Horler, one of Britain’s most acclaimed and cherished pianists.

¨ Jazz has been at the centre of my life since I was a child´, explains Horler. ´´´´For me music, and especially jazz, is about togetherness, about individual input being merged with others to make a whole piece of music.

I was not enthusiastic about the piano as a jazz instrument until I heard Bill Evans. He absorbed the music of the European composers Debussy, Ravel and even Brahms which he welded into his own very special jazz language. I embraced that almost immediately and even today he is still the most influential figure in my playing, not in a copying sense I hope, but in an inspirational way.

The other big influence must be Chick Corea, with his incredible variety of music over the years and of course his amazing playing. Also Miles Davies whose work has such a powerful emotional impact. Both these musicians had the ability to bring together other fine players and create exceptional groups, producing music of the highest quality.

I think of myself as modern, in the sense that modern means “now”. My compositions (though not in a classical form of course) are influenced quite strongly by twentieth century classical composers, also called Modern – Berg, Prokofiev, Stravinsky and more recently Richard Straus

John (right) will pay homage to the man, the music and the magic of the ground breaking Bill Evans Trio accompanied by long-time associate Alec Dankworth on bass and drummer Ronnie Jones.

Alec Dankworth is an award-winning jazz bassist and composer who, in addition to leading several groups of his own, has worked with an amazing list of artists including Van Morrison, Stephanne Grappelli, Abdullah Ibrahim, and The Dave Brubeck Quartet. He is known for his energetic stage presence, versatility of style and some of the most imaginative bass solos around!

Bill Evans made an indelible impression on John Horler when he saw him play ‘live’ in London for the first time. Evans’ unique ability to weld the music of European composers Debussy, Ravel and Brahms into his own very special jazz language, inspired John to become a jazz musician. “Even today,” John says, “Bill is still the most influential figure in my playing … in an inspirational way.”

John’s credentials as a musician are as impeccable as they are diverse. He started studying at the Royal Academy of Music at the precocious age of 16, at a time when jazz was still regarded as the ‘Devil’s Music’ in academic circles. His route to success was through pub gigs and appearances on BBC’s Jazz Club, funded by work as a successful session musician. As his reputation grew he found himself increasingly supporting American visitors of the stature of Bob Brookmeyer, Clark Terry, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, Art Farmer, Pepper Adams, Bud Shank and Shorty Rogers, and most memorably, working with Chet Baker.

On the domestic scene John has worked closely in recent years with Tony Coe, Alan Barnes, Simon Spillett and the late-Peter King. For twenty years he was first-call pianist for Sir John Dankworth and Dame Cleo Laine.

“Jazz and classical idioms live happily side by side in the benign and often surprising world of pianist and composer John Horler. It’s best not to try second-guessing him, just wait and enjoy what emerges. He  does what only the very best can do: he creates a version that is completely his own while also conveying the essence of the original”.  Dave Gelly (The Guardian, 15 July 2018).

August 2021 saw the release of  Dancing In The Dark (Gearbox CD/vinyl GB1567), a duet album between John Horler and Tony Coe, recorded live at the 2007 Appleby Jazz Festival.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to see and hear the extraordinary talent of John Horler; jazz at its very best interpreted by a world-class master of the art.

There are already two further acts booked at the theatre to continue Jazz At The Progress Theatre (left)

On Friday the 8th April there will be a performance by Wakey Blakey, the Sectet featuring Tory Ingham and Jim Davison.

On Friday 13th May look out for the Alex Hitchcock Quartet.

 Jazz In Reading would like to thank Hickies Music Store (right) , Reading and Tiverton for the hire of the Yamaha Upright Piano.

Crowmarsh Jazz

Crowmarsh Village Hall
Benson Lane | Crowmarsh Gifford | OX10 8ED

Doors 6:45pm | Music 7:30pm
£15, reduced to £5 for anyone living or working in adult social care and anyone in receipt of benefits from DWP
Plenty of free parking
Bar available provided by local pub The Queens Head
We adhere to all current COVID Government guidelines

Jazz In Reading are also reminding us that Crowmarsh Jazz is back this year with some more tremendous live music from world class artists, with the next event on Saturday 12 March 2022 they present Moscow Drug Club, Transcendent troubadours of Gypsy and Latin Swing

Moscow Drug Club is a curious musical place where certain elements of 1930’s Berlin Cabaret,  Hot Club de France, Nuevo Tango and Gypsy Campfire meet, have a few to drink and stagger arm in arm into the darkness of some eastern European cobbled street on a mission to find the bar where  Django Reinhardt and Tom Waits are having an after hours jam with the local Tziganes.  Combining their original material with songs by the likes of Jaques Brel, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits and Eartha Kitt.  Moscow Drug Club provide an intoxicating and intimate musical experience.

Moscow Drug Club have played some great venues and festivals of note including WOMAD, National Theatre London, International Gypsy Guitar Festival, Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, Marlborough Jazz Festival, Royal Albert Hall to name a few.

Saturday 7th May 2022 sees a tribute to the Gerry Mulligan / Chet Baker Quartet, Featuring Ben Cummings and Amy Roberts.

One of the UK’s finest trumpeters (and excellent vocalist) Ben Cummings joins multi-award-winning musician and rising star Amy Roberts (baritone saxophone) to present a captivating programme of music based upon the recordings of the incredible 1950’s pianoless Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker Quartet. Ben and Amy will be joined on the bandstand by virtuosic bass player Paul Jefferies and extraordinary drummer Charlie Stratford. An exciting lineup infusing every performance with humour and driving energy.

Saturday 11 June 2022 will host Liane Carroll, Multi award winning pianist/vocalist, with her impeccable jazz trio. Hastings based Liane Carroll has been a pillar of the British jazz and soul scene for over thirty-five years, and has dedicated her career to creating a deep and abiding connection with audiences all over the world through her exceptional talent, versatility and ability to truly interpret a song.

Liane is an award-winning jazz singer/pianist described by Jamie Cullum as “one of the greatest singers we have in this country”. Awards include ‘Best British Vocalist’ (BBC Jazz Awards), ‘Best Female Jazz Vocalist’ (Ronnie Scott’s Awards) and ‘Best Jazz Album of the Year’ (Parliamentary Jazz Awards)

As a recording artist Liane has gained much critical acclaim. Her four most recent albums (Slow Down, Up and Down, Ballads, Seaside) all earned a four star review in The Guardian newspaper. Her latest release Seaside (Linn Records), homage to her life by the coast, is her third with Grammy nominated producer James McMillan of QuietMoney Studios and holds a coveted British Jazz Award for Best New CD (2015).

Jazz In Reading and all at Crowmarsh Jazz look forward to welcoming new audience members and you can Keep up to date with the programme at: www.crowmarshjazz.co.uk/what-s-on
Contact:  fleur@fleurstevensonjazz.co.uk / 07795 974 223

Crowmarsh Jazz pays all musicians properly and supports the campaign for fair pay for musicians and are supported by Arts Council, England.

On air sign background

Don´t forget to listen in to this weeks Hot Biscuits jazz show, featuring a review of Spice Fusion a modern big band led by Elliott Henshaw and Simon Niblock. The show, which will be presented by Steve Bewick and Gary Heywood-Everett, also includes a selection of new CD’s. and tracks from Matheus Prado Septet and Sue Richardson, vocalist & musician live at the Kidderminster Jazz Club. If this sounds interesting share the word and tune in 24/7 for our new weekly shows starting Mondays at www.mixcloud.com/stevebewick/

The primary source for this article was  supplied by Jazz In Reading.

In our occasional re-postings Sidetracks And Detours are confident that we are not only sharing with our readers excellent articles written by experts but are also pointing to informed and informative sites readers will re-visit time and again. Of course, we feel sure our readers will also return to our daily not-for-profit blog knowing that we seek to provide core original material whilst sometimes spotlighting the best pieces from elsewhere, as we engage with genres and practitioners along all the sidetracks & detours we take.

This article was collated by Norman Warwick, a weekly columnist with Lanzarote Information and owner and editor of this daily blog at Sidetracks And Detours.

Norman has also been a long serving broadcaster, co-presenting the weekly all across the arts programme on Crescent Community Radio for many years with Steve, and his own show on Sherwood Community Radio, and regularly guested on BBC Radio Manchester, BBC Radio Lancashire, BBC Radio Merseyside and BBC Radio 4.

As a published author and poet he was a founder member of Lendanear Music, with Colin Lever and Just Poets with Pam McKee, Touchstones Creative Writing Group (where he was creative writing facilitator for a number of years) with Val Chadwick and all across the arts with Robin Parker.

From Monday to Friday, you will find a daily post here at Sidetracks And Detours and, should you be looking for good reading, over the weekend you can visit our massive but easy to navigate archives of over 500 articles.

The purpose of this daily not-for-profit blog is to deliver news, previews, interviews and reviews from all across the arts to die-hard fans and non- traditional audiences around the world. We are therefore always delighted to receive your own articles here at Sidetracks And Detours. So if you have a favourite artist, event, or venue that you would like to tell us more about just drop a Word document attachment to me at normanwarwick55@gmail.com with a couple of appropriate photographs in a zip folder if you wish. Beiung a not-for-profit organisation we unfortunately cannot pay you but we will always fully attribute any pieces we publish. You therefore might also. like to include a brief autobiography and photograph of yourself in your submission. We look forward to hearing from you.

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                                                            Steve Bewick

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