Monday 31st October 2022
As we approach the end of the year, we / I in the admin /posting / editing suite / office / kitchen of this daily blog can report that our interest in the jazz scene seems to be growing exponentially. There are any number of great listing agencies that serve the scene so well, and we are incredibly grateful to Rob Adams at Music That´s Going Places, Jim Wade at jazz In Reading and to all the volunteers at Ribble Valley jazz And Blues. And Steve Bewick now drops his weekly jazz programme Hot Biscuits all over the world from out of his mix cloud. There are plenty of live jazz gigs to see, and Hot Biscuits to enjoy. I am not quite the Johhny Come Lately to the jazz scene that I might pretend to be but I am slowly catching discovering, long after everybody has, how talented and hard working are artists like Fiona Ross and Beverley Biern in the UK. I have also just fallen head over heels in love with a new album, Moon To Gold by Atlanta based Karla harris. As they said of President Jed Bartlett in the first ever episode of West Wing , this is the real deal !
JAZZ NUDGES INTO NOVEMBER 2022
with thanks to
Music That´s Going Places
Jazz In Reading
Ribble Valley jazz And Blues
Steve Bewick mix cloud editions of Hot Biscuits
by Norman Warwick
Hello and welcome to November’s newsletter. Coming up are significant anniversaries and a special offer on tickets for a special event.
Dundee Jazz Festivals returns in its fortieth year from Wednesday 2nd to Sunday 6th. It features blasts from its past – in the instantly recognisable guitarist, Jim Mullen (left) and a tribute to Gil Scott Heron – as well as musicians making first visits to the festival from places as diverse as New York (soul singer Akie Bermiss) and Shetland (saxophonist Norman Willmore).There’s also a 20th anniversary concert from the Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra who play an afternoon gig on Sunday 6th at the Bonar Hall, a venue with quite a jazz history. The full programme can be seen here.
Saxophonist Tommy Smith makes a rare appearance in the East Neuk of Fife on the afternoon of Sunday 13th with a solo celebration of melody in Crail Community Hall. A former church, this is an ideal place to hear Tommy’s expansive sound and consummate skills interacting with the natural acoustics. Tommy also plays another former church, St George’s in Bristol on Thursday 3rd.
One of the great creative and ultra-dynamic drummers, Ari Hoenig (right) brings his trio with organist Nishai Hershkovits and guitarist Tom Ollendorff to Scotland for two gigs on Sunday 6th. They play for Jazz at the Merchants House in Glasgow in the evening following an afternoon stopover at the Traverse in Edinburgh. It’s been some time since Hoenig played in Scotland, so these two potential firecrackers are rare chances to catch a genuine original with musicians to match and challenge his endearing idiosyncrasy.
Heart of Hawick welcomes saxophonist Matt Carmichael and pianist Fergus McCreadie for a duo concert on Friday 18th. With the former’s newly released second album, Marram, attracting much praise and the latter’s recent success in winning the Scottish Album of the Year and a Jazz FM Award, these are two of Scottish jazz’s musicians of the moment and are sure to bring melody and imagination to the Borders
Following the success of artist Maria Rud’s collaboration with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra in the Where Rivers Meet streamed concerts last year, Maria and SNJO director, Tommy Smith return to St Giles’ Cathedral on Friday 18th. Luminescence (left) will find them creating completely in the moment, with the artist responding to Tommy’s saxophone improvisations and projecting her creations onto the East Wall as Tommy revels in the 12th century church’s acoustics. It’s a unique show and Music That’s Going Places subscribers are being offered a special discount. To book, use the code STGILES22 and follow the link here.
More recorded jazz from New Zealand arrived in October in the shape of a vibrant new album from saxophonist Oscar Lavën (right). At once both old school and new, this multi-instrumentalist (he plays trumpet, clarinet and bassoon but concentrates mostly on tenor here) convincingly honours Ben Webster on one track and Ornette Coleman on another. There are echoes, too, of Joshua Redman’s exuberance and the Jazz Messengers’ gospel spark and team spirit from a quintet propelled by Scottish drummer and Wellington resident, John Rae. Find out more here
Coming up in early December, the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra open a programme that will see them span a century of jazz as they revisit their In the Spirit of Duke tribute to Ellington in Edinburgh, St Andrews and Glasgow. They follow this with tours featuring a new work with pianist Gwilym Simcock, double Jazz FM Awards-winning vocalist Georgia Cecile and Japanese percussion exponents, Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers.
Jazz in November
Thu 3: BRBQ
Sun 6: Morag McCall Band & Boys from Aboyne (2pm)
Thu 24: Espen Eriksen Trio with Andy Sheppard
Sun 13: Tommy Smith
Sun 6: Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra (3:30pm)
Thu 3: Jim Mullen with the Gordon McNeil Band
Wed 2: Strictly Big Bands
Thu 3: Huntertones feat Akie Bermiss
Fri 4: Vintage Girls’ Orchestral Spectacular
Sat 5: Rhapsody in Blue with Seonaid Aitken & Brian Kellock
Sun 6: Black Is the Color of My Voice
Wed 2: BRBQ
Fri 4: Jo Harrop & Jamie McCreadie
Sun 6: Georgia Cecile
Wed 16: Prime Trio
Thu 3, 17: Playtime (tbc)
Wed 16: Courtney Pine with Zoe Rahman
Fri 4: Mezcla
Thu 10: Mar Trio/Tom Gibbs Trio
Fri 10: Norman Willmore
Sat 12: Brian Molley Qrt
Sun 13: Louise Dodds/Graeme Stephen Qrt/Phil Bancroft Trio
St Giles’ Cathedral
Fri 18: Luminescence with Maria Rud & Tommy Smith
Sun 6: Ari Hoenig Trio (2pm)
Mon 14: Sam Braysher Trio
Mon 7: GU Jazz Society
Tue 1: i.b. palms & Alyn Cosker
Sun 6: Ari Hoenig Trio
Beacon Arts Centre
Thu 24: Euan Stevenson Trio
Heart of Hawick
Fri 18: Matt Carmichael & Fergus McCreadie
Tue 1: Iain Ballamy
Thu 10: Paul Booth
Tue 15: Phil Robson
Sun 20: Liane Carroll
Tue 22: Jason Rebello
Thu 24: John Etheridge’s Blue Spirits
Sat 26: Allison Neale
Wed 2: Jo Harrop
Thu 3: Matt Carmichael
Mon 7: Immanuel Wilkins
Sun 13: Ivo Neame
Mon 14, Tue 15: The Bad Plus
Mon 28: Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra
(This list is not intended to be comprehensive – other gigs are available)
Jazz In Reading have informed us of a bib gig coming up in their neck of the woods on
Saturday 12 November
Claire Martin & Dave Newton
Purdy’s Pop Up Jazz Club
Doors 7:30pm | Show 8pm
Claire Martin and Dave Newton ‘Two for the Road’
Claire Martin OBE – vocals, Dave Newton – piano
In this brand new show for 2022, Claire Martin and Dave Newton combine their unique musical talents for an intimate concert celebrating the sublime duo recording by jazz legends Carmen McRae and George Shearing entitled, ‘Two for the Road’.
Including musical gems such as ‘I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance with You’, ‘Gentleman Friend’ and ‘Too Late Now’, Claire and David will bring their own personal magic to this evening of sophisticated song stylings. A unique evening of world-class music which is not to be missed!
Our finest jazz singer – The Times
She ranks among the four or five finest female jazz vocalists on the planet – Jazz Times USA
When it comes to bold originality and delicacy of touch, Newton is unbeatable – The Observer
thejazzmann.com – review excerpt:
‘World class’ like ‘genius’ is a grossly over used term, but in the case of Claire Martin and Dave Newton it happens to be absolutely true. Recognised individually by numerous accolades and awards, as a duo they form an irresistible combination, enchanting a sell-out audience to an evening of wonderful music. Their jazz artistry shone through … confirming Claire Martin’s own place in the pantheon of great female song sylists ….Claire Martin is up there with the best!
Later in the month, Jazz In Reading, returns to the Progress.
Fri. 25 November | Progress Theatre, Reading (details below) | 7:30pm |
£18.00 (£16.00 concessions, £9 under 16) plus maximum 5% booking fee
Nat Steele vibraphone | Gabriel Latchin piano
Dario Di Lecce bass| Steve Brown drums
Nat Steele, vibraphonist and co-founder of the Bop Fest Jazz Festival, who grew up in Reading, brings his quartet (right) home to pay homage to the Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ) one of the most successful and influential groups of the 20th century. Nat will be joined by three of the brightest stars of the UK jazz scene to present ‘Portrait of the MJQ’, featuring such stellar favourites as ‘Django’, ‘Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise’, ‘Bags Groove’, and a complete performance of the four-movement ‘La Ronde Suite’.
Nat launched the quartet’s debut album “Portrait of the Modern Jazz Quartet” with a sell-out concert at Ronnie Scott’s, followed by performances around the UK at venues such as Cadogan Hall, Theatr Clwyd, and the Royal Festival Hall. It received an array of positive reviews in the jazz press, including 4-star reviews in the Observer and Jazzwise magazine and a 5-star choice of ‘Jazz Album of the Month’ in the BBC Music Magazine. Jazz writer Peter Vacher described the album as ‘creative brilliance’. It even made the top 10 of the jazz charts in Japan.
In 2019, Nat took pride of place in the premier of a new work written specifically with him in mind by Grammy-award winning pianist, arranger and composer Alan Broadbent, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Watermill Jazz. In 2020 – just before the pandemic – he completed an 18-date Arts Council funded tour of the UK with the MJQ band featuring guest tenor saxophonist Grant Stewart from New York.
Along with saxophonist Alison Neale, Nat founded BopFest as a single weekend jazz festival in 2015. An immediate success with audiences and the press, it attracted both public and Arts Council funding and subsequently grew into a 7-day long extravaganza of bebop and straight ahead jazz in London, featuring some of the best musicians from the UK, Europe and America.
Nat is currently working on two new albums which should come out in 2023.
Pianist Gabriel Latchin is constantly in demand as a side man. Most recently he’s gained attention for his role in performing with Christian McBride and Renee Fleming at Wigmore Hall. He has worked with Ronnie Cuber, former Jazz Messenger Jean Toussaint, Alex Garnett, The London Jazz Orchestra and The Royal Scottish National Orchestra. He has performed at concert halls, clubs and festivals around the UK and Europe.
Double bassist Dario di Lecce was raised in Bari, Italy, where he began studying double bass with Maestro Giorgio Vendola. He’s studied with Lee Konitz, Kurt Fri Rosenwinkel, Kenny Barron, Dado Moroni, Eddie Gomez and Buster Williams. He has performed in Italy, UK, Netherlands, France, Slovenia and the United States, and is now based in London where he is currently working with some of the most important musicians on the British jazz scene.
Multi award-winning drummer Steve Brown moved from his home town of Manchester to London in 1996. He quickly made his ‘swinging’ mark in support of visiting jazz giants Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison and Conte Candoli and soon became first-call sideman with many of the capital’s finest musicians. He’s a member of Scott Hamilton’s quartet and appears on Concorde and other major labels. Between engagements with Scott Hamilton, Steve has performed and recorded with a wide variety of artists including Benny Golson, Benny Green, Barry Harris, Junior Mance, Charles McPherson, John Bunch and Hod O’Brien.
‘Portrait of the MJQ’ promises ‘A refreshing treat for the ears” Rebecca Franks (BBC Music)
‘Portrait of the MJQ’ is available here
The December event for jazz In Reading at The Progess takes place on Friday 16th December with Alan Barnes performing Copperfilerd (A Dickensian suite).
Read more | Tickets soon
At The Progress Theatre, at The Mount, Off Christchurch Road, Reading RG1 5HL
there is a bar at all gigs from 7:00pm. Drinks may be taken into the auditorium during performances.
Progress Theatre is a self-governing, self-funding theatre group founded in 1947, maintained by volunteers. The theatre itself is an intimate 95-seat venue. It is the oldest operating theatre in Reading and has a fully licensed bar. There is wheelchair access to the theatre with a space for disabled patrons. In 2011 Sir Kenneth Branagh became the Patron to Progress Theatre.
Click here for directions, information about parking facilities at the theatre and a map.
Even at my age i still occasionally hear a new song, or a new artist that immediately sets me off on a search for more information. As I tap feverishly into my search engine,all flick from page to page through the music books on my shelves my mind doesn´t know what to think. In some ways i don´t weant to find any reference to the song or the arts for that would tell me the world is already aware and the fact that i am not doesn.t do much for my ego.On the other hand, the fact that world has already embraced that singer or song at least shows I am on the right track.
If i have discovered´the singer or the song from a recommendation from a trusted source that too throws me into turmoil. How did my mate know about them first, but then does it matter, because thier judgment is sound and so I am in for a treat when i listen.
Sometimes you hear something by accident or serendipity and as my mate Jim Loughrill says, You Just Know !!
All of this and more was on my mind when I first heard the name of Karfla Harris being highly praised by a radio-presenter freiiend of these pages.
My first¨question was Well, if she´s that good, how come i had never heard of her ?´¨
Then I heard her sing and my next question was where the hell has this lady been all my life?
I had missed her, perhaps, because she comes from from a little further afield, both geographically and musically than even the far-reaching sidetracks and detours I wander down. I am little more than an occasional day tripper to the land of jazz, to be honest, and souvenires of visits included scores of albums by the likes of Nnat King Cole, Ella, Billie Holiday, Louio Armtrong .and Bing Crosby. However, regular readerws will have noticed that we have recently featured Atlanata based jazz vocalist Karla Harris, after Steve Bewick, presenter of Hot Biscuits Jaaz mix-cloud show had been singing her praises. . I chased her web site and found there were plenty of good reasons for singing her praises and that Steve was not the only voice in her choir. I raided and cut and pasted like heck from what is an immaculately produced web site that stands as an information site and touchstone for freelance press guys like me. I put an article together (still available to ramble in our easy to negotiate sidetracks & detours of over 750 article) called Karla Harris: Mark The Name and posted it on 9th September. I then sent our link t to Karla´s husband at an e address Steve had given me. it was disguised as a guilty plea to the crime of plagiarism, and others to be taken into consideration, but was, nevertheless also a thinly disguised request for information about a forthcoming promised CD on Karla´s website.
I received a kind and supportive reply and details of the released of Moon To Gold, by Karla Harris and the Joe Alterman Trio, I can tell readers that it is available now and you should check out her web site at https://www.karlaharris.com/ for details.
I can tell you now that I have found a new love in music, and that´s pretty damned exciting at seventy years. What a voice, what superb accompaniment and recording values, what a play-list, in short, what an album.
Look out for an exclusive Sidetracks And Detours review in this week´s posts..
Steve Bewick not only recommends some great artists but also outs together some hugely entertaining jazz programmes. Following the traditions of spooks and ghouls at this time of year Hot Biscuits will be celebrating Halloween next week with a selection of the more frightening sounds of jazz and blues from Gary Heywood-Everett and myself. If this sounds interesting then share it with your friends. All you have to do is hop on your broomstick and join us 24/07 at