Monday, 29 December 2014

Jonathan Whines at Harris + Hoole

Jonathan Whines - Soprano Saxophone
Wendy Linsey - Vocals
Twickenham has bona fide credentials as a hotbed for musical excellence with both the famous Beatles' Studio Sessions and the roll call at the Eel Pie Island Hotel named on its honours board. With every other pub turning into a superchain minimart these days it seems that our live music scene is under attack more than ever. Twickenham though is not lost in the wilderness quite yet.
Halle Nukuna - drums
The Lord Tesco hath taken away, and The Lord Tesco has given it back it to Twickenham. Despite the Red Lion being reordered into aisles of convenience we  have Harris + Hoole (where Tesco have a non-controlling investment in the business) instead. They are not the only bedfellows under H & H's duvet, Jazz has slipped into the informal and 'happy' atmosphere fostered at their Twickenham branch.

Although I love this time of year, The Jonathan Whines quintet is as Christmassy as I get on the Art of Jazz blog. They played a set of standards and Christmas themed songs at Harris & Hoole (19/12/2014) during the bunfight that precedes the day itself.

Roger Harding - Bass

Jonathan Whines is a man of considerable talents who I have not had the fortune to sketch since the Orange Tree Jazz Jam disappeared from London's open mic skyline. It was a busy time at Harris + Hoole as jettisoned rice cakes from toddlers dissolved gently on table tops and a wave of silver surfers rocked in for their morning fix. Shoppers of all ages filled the remaining chairs while Whines (saxophones/flute), Jonathan Swift (piano), Roger Harding (Bass) and Halle Nukuna (percussion) prepared the bargain baggers for the re-entry into the High Street's fray.

Jonathan Swift - piano

Alongside Halle Nukuna's percussion work on Hit the Road Jack shone the beacon of vocalist Wendy Linsey who is one third of the a capella group The Decibelles. The trio have performed at Harris + Hoole before but their next  performance will be at the OSO Barnes on 24th January 2015. Jonathan Whines is a regular at Harris + Hoole on Friday mornings from 10.30am onwards.


Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Simon Spillett - Winter Sun

Simon Spillett - Saxophone
Dave Green - bass
Twickenham Jazz Club killed several birds in one stone's throw with the arrival of Simon Spillett and his quartet at the club last week (18/12/2014). Not only was this the first gig in their new home at the legendary Cabbage Patch (67 London Road, Twickenham) but also the Christmas party, complete with mince pies and mulled wine, as if you doubted it. The 13th January 2015 qualifies as the 'official' launch with Ray Gelato cutting the jazz ribbon on Twickenham Jazz Club's new Tuesday night slot.

Neil Kornfein
Simon Spillett, he of the dry wit, opened proceeding with his usual offhand humour and fluid saxophone honesty. His quartet were working unscripted because of a moment of absentmindedness, the result of their sheet music being left at home under the Christmas tree. It reflected well on the musicians themselves as they seamlessly adapted.

John Critchinson - piano
Alone Together introduced itself to Jimmy Van Heusen's But Beautiful, in which Spillett's rich hues were as warm as the Glühwein aroma that wafted around the Patchworks' grotto. This musical introduction heralded one for the musicians too. Many know drummer Trevor Tomkins as the host of the Monday night jazz gigs at the nearby Red Lion in Isleworth. Simon Spillett introduced bassist Dave Green as the 'Pendulum of British Jazz' and to be honest John Critchinson (piano) needs no moniker, such is his reputation.

Liz and Gordon
The light fragrant Critchinson had an air of levity about him, yet there was real depth about his playing. He excelled on second set opener Someday my prince will come. I was lucky enough to cast my eye and the net of my sketchbook away from the lights of the stage. The princely Liz and Gordon sat serenely at the Cabbage Patch bar, heads tilted together, listening intently.

People in the sun - Edward Hopper
The tune that summed up the night was another Jimmy Van Heusen composition, this time his 1939 hit I thought about you. As I looked deeper into the Twickenham Jazz Club crowd it was clear that many attendees held hand to chin in pensive pose. A homage to Rodin or an intensity in air, this was a time for contemplation. The sound was slow and juicy, reminding one of lounging in the Californian sun, like sitting on one of Edward Hopper's famous recliners in People in the sun.

Trevor Tomkins - Drums
The whole performance exaggerated the timeless air which accompanies Simon Spillett, there is a sincerity and a straight-ahead honesty that lured us all into an act of collective escapism. Kelvin Christiane, the able host, joined the quartet toward both the end of the first and second sets, letting loose on Night and Tunisia and Cherokee.

Kelvin Christiane - Sax
Twickenham Jazz Club will be welcoming guests to the Cabbage Patch on January 13th 2015, 8.30-11pm. Heralding an exciting period for the club and all the excellent performers who grace their stage.


Monday, 8 December 2014

Calum Gourlay - One Bass, Two Rivers

Calum Gourlay - Double Bass
You cannot help but feel instantly nostalgic for a moment like this, even though it has only just departed. A catalyst that converts potential into the tangible, and the narrative of our lives into another dog-eared page to turn back to. Which makes it all sound so grand, yet in reality it was so simple.

Alex Bonney
The catalyst in question is Calum Gourlay, who recorded an album of solo bass for new record label, Two Rivers Records, which will be officially be born in 2015. He recorded his album live in front of a rapt audience at a residential property in Golders Green (03/12/2014). The room was packed out with friends from London's creative jazz scene and from those of us who couldn't resist a reviving shot to our creative juices.

The room had the warmest of glows, deep filled sofas matched the mince pies with equal invitation. It was impossible not to play a game of who's who with the amassed audience. In the corner sat Alex Bonney who's job was to record this solo voyage. It will be fascinating task to see if he can replicate the warmth of atmosphere in the room. It was so quiet and still that I could hear every breath that my sofa neighbour exhaled.

The sense of the unexpected made the first tune a tense affair, everyone was scared to make a sound. Alone on bass Calum Gourlay dipped into the recording like as a rower hitting a comfortable stroke. The stealthy joy of Ornette Coleman's Ramblin' made you think he was afloat in a bathtub rather than a life raft. The second tune, Chairman Mao, had a pulsing rub to it like Gourlay was occupied with a tasty stick of chewing gum. Eventually he spat it out and once squashed under foot it resembled in colour and shape one of those principalities you find in school geography atlases.

Gourlay Snr
Although alone and with just double bass in hand there was still plenty of musical faces to pull from Calum Gourlay. Rhythm a ning was dexterous, chipper and even comical in his hands. An animated story in musical form. Monk's Mood cast Gourlay's sunlight through a window. Angular shapes played out on staircases, they softened and danced slowly across the tune as he brought us from morning into sleepy afternoons. I looked across and sketched Calum's Gorlay's dad as he rested his eyes, you couldn't help but think was a lullaby for a father.

The second half of the recording was equally evocative. Excuse my lack of titles, the eyes were on sketchbook page and the mind had dialled to dream. The sixth tune moulded modernity and the old-fashioned by use of the bow on strings. Calum Gourlay gave the tune such depth it sounded like two instruments were playing. Exotic radiowaves played as though they erupted from Francis Bacon's rumbling tummy, a kind of beautiful indigestion. The seventh tune was folky with sweet narratives that talked of youthful adventures and smoky stories. The first wave of nostalgia crept upon us with the memories of Polaroids and miniature test strips.

Dark warmth of
Calum Gourlay
There was a second set with a recording of a few bonus tracks in the spirit of Charlie Haden's Closeness album, with Gourlay performing three distinct and beautiful duets. The album launch will be at the Vortex in London on Wednesday 4th March 2015. It is a quick turn around for Alex Bonney and Two Rivers Records and the rest of 2015 looks equally intense. Two albums by Alya Marquardt are followed by the talented trio of Tobias Delius, Olie Brice and Mark Sanders. There are more signings already confirmed on the label with two EPs of solo piano compositions from Clemens Pötzsch and one from saxophonist Robert Menzel quartet in spring 2015.


Friday, 5 December 2014

Partikel - Theory of evolution

Eric Ford - drums
Partikel it seems are full of theories and last month (20/11/2014) at the EFG London Jazz Festival they gave us a taste of what has being bubbling away in their heads over the past year. Stripped back to their three man core of Duncan Eagles (saxophones), Max Luthert (bass) and Eric Ford (drums) they played tracks from their imminent 3rd album 'String Theory'. What we got in effect was the theory and not the strings as Benet McLean, David Le Page (violins), Carmen Flores (viola) and Matthew Sharp (cello) were practising their craft elsewhere.

Max Luthert - bass
The sound of the new album is full of layered beauty and epic vistas. It has the presence of a John Martin painting, full of details but takes the breath away with its power and depth. Here at 229 The Venue Partikel swapped these breathtaking sweeps for something much more angular and uncompromising. Still they retained the attention to detail which has made them in, Jazzwise's view, "one of the hottest young bands on the UK scene".

Before I distract you anymore, please take the time to watch the promo video for the new album by jazz filmmaker Daniel P Redding -

Partikel waded in with aggression on this night as Clash of the clans crashed into the London Jazz Festival audience. On the album the sound is tempered by the strings, here Eagles flashed into us with sporadic attacks while Eric Ford's loud assaults were only interrupted by his infamous cowbell (which took only 20 seconds to make its first appearance). At times the trio were inaccessible but soon they moved to gentler shores to give respite. Even though these quieter havens were a welcome break from the thrashing elements you always got the sense that Eric Ford was the man who operated the sluice gates, we expected the tide to rise at anytime.

Fellow drummer
Steve Gilbertson checks out
Mr Ford
Despite the trio coming at us in pulverising waves and with a stamp like a petulant child there has been an evolution in their sound since flirting with string quartets. Shimmer gave us the melody back and it was up to Max Luthert to hold the free expression of Eagles and Ford together. The new album sees a new version of The River from their debut album and it is worth the reawakening but here alone is how I prefer them. It will always be one of their strongest compositions. Eagles soprano saxophone was the fluidity and he excelled.

Duncan Eagles - Soprano
There is a maturity as you would expect from a trio who are on the verge of releasing their third album. The leap from their second to third album is more impressive than that from one to two. There are more systems at play, layers that hint at Glass and Nyman. Their string theory is not one of conformity nor an application of a mellower practice. This is a group that has evolved into the Cro-Magnon of their jazz species.


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Emily Saunders ESB - London Jazz Festival

Emily Saunders - Voice
Steve Pringle - Keys
We got a generous slice of Emily Saunders' imminent album release at the EFG London Jazz Festival this year. Playing before a mixed crowd of jazz lovers and first timers at 229 The Venue (20/11/2014) she had something for everyone from Brazilian dance rhythms to edgy lyrical counterpoints. The album in question, Outsiders Insiders, had just arrived from the printers but the official release date will be in 2015.

A full ten musicians feature on the album itself but here at 229 the numbers were cut in half. Alongside Emily Saunders (voice) were Steve Pringle (keys), Paul Michael (bass), Shanti Jayasinha (trumpet) and George Hart (drums). The album line up boasts a fine array of musicians too including Byron Wallen, Trevor Mires, Bruno Heinen, Dave Whitford, Jon Scott, Fabio de Oliveira and a favourite of Art of Jazz, Asaf Sirkis.

Paul Michael
A quick stride into the title track of the new album, Outsider Insiders, was the only disappointment of the night. The lyrics are the strength of this tune and like in many live performances it is the words and their meaning which can be lost in the canter of performance. Take this as a compliment to the album's clarity and Saunder's writing rather than anything less savoury.

George Hart
Drummer George Hart and bassist Paul Michael laid the bait for You caught me which was haunting and tantalisingly strung out. If this was a waiting game then it was Emily Saunders who laid the bait and us who fell into her trap. It was breathy and spoke of hot sands and empty worlds.

Again there was a breathlessness in the sultry Reflections. If I were to get lost in the distant memories that this song evokes then it would be with Steve Pringle. His gentleness and subtlety on keyboard were a pleasure to hear. It is the first time I have seen Pringle step out from behind the camera and it was an enjoyable challenge to contain his bouffant in the sketchbook.

Shanti Jayasinha - Trumpet
Without being too sycophantic, Shanti Jayasinha is a man who lives up to his reputation. Alongside Saunders on Summer Days they gave one of those elevated performances that is reminiscent of a singer like Mark Murphy, where the voice matches the altitude of the imagination. I haven't drawn him since my early days when I sketched him in a Kelvin Christiane quintet at Café Posk. What I didn't realise that night, but now seems irrefutable to me, is that his rhythm is of the infectious kind. It is in the sway of the shoulders and the richness of sound.

'Residing' brought Shanti Jayasinha to his pulsing best, he was forceful in solo and ensemble. It was a groove reinforced by George Hart on drums, his head rolled, a smile crossed the face and sporadically there was a bunny hop that flipped him up off his stool. This stood proud as a live performance, Emily Saunders had a tenacity and a strength of line. This night she captured a tension between the upbeat call of the carnival and thoughtful lyrics that plant a seed in the mind. Sometimes they flowered into romantic ideals and occasionally they grew into thorns of the sinister kind.


Monday, 1 December 2014

Leo Appleyard - Pembroke Road - Album art inspiration

on F-IRE (CD 75)
Leo Appleyard
Pizza Express 16/11/2014

Last month saw the release of guitarist Leo Appleyard's debut album, Pembroke Road, on F-IRE records (F-IRECD 75). He launched it in style at the Pizza Express Soho during the London Jazz Festival in 2014 (16/11/2014). The album has already received a flurry of excellent reviews including London Jazz, Jazz Mann and on the Jazz UK's hotlist!

Eric Ford - drums
I was lucky enough to be at the London Jazz Festival launch but also to be Leo Appleyard's artist for his album artwork. As usual this started with listening, making notes and responding to the music with imaginations. The words that tumble out don't always make sense but are a great way to channel ideas.

Max Luthert - Bass
The launch itself included four fifths of the album personnel. Leo Appleyard (Guitar) was joined on the Pizza Express stage by Duncan Eagles (Saxophone), Max Luthert  (Bass) and Eric Ford (Drums). The man who was missing due to other professional commitments was folk brass specialist Neil Yates (Trumpet/Flugelhorn).

Duncan Eagles
Just a month earlier this had been the very site of bassist Max Luthert's debut album (Orbital) on Whirlwind Records but on this day he played a more carefree role. The early tune 'Anywhere South' epitomised this romping attitude. I remember Appleyard had this composition up his sleeve during those early jazz jams he attended in Kingston-upon-Thames. His dexterity has quickened in that time, he rocks back and forth with an occasional knee bend now and like his footsteps this album has a travellers feel about it.

Anywhere South idea
'Anywhere South' was the most productive when I came to find ideas for the album. I wrote, "Chipper chunk, cascade of rocks, bouncing down a hard baked cliff. Tight dark pools. Scurrying lizards lazing in the hot glare, their feet jump and skip. White walls whose liquid amber bricks melt within, and pour into the crackling landscape." The dark pools are very much those of Duncan Eagles' saxophone and it was these that made me think of open windows and the motifs from American noir films.

Homeless Wizard idea
The images generated by the album (and the launch gig) opener, 'Homeless Wizard' were eventually used in the inside of the CD. They also found their way into an exhibition of Art and Poetry called Jawspring. The illustration of a moon magnetically following a car along an impossible motorway intersection sat alongside a poem by Jane Barton at the Village Hall Gallery in Wimbledon (21/03/14). It was also a nod of the head to Leo Appleyard's formative years at the Birmingham Conservatoire and the journey's he would soon be travelling as a musician over the infamous Spaghetti Junction.

Mantra idea
'Mantra' made me think of something much more primal. There was a large Eskimo print on the wall of my family home where I grew up and the power of this tune spoke of this black and white clarity. My first impressions came out like this, "Sharp old wood, drop like stalactites. A set of jaws cranked open with pneumatic pumps, the jagged dental clamps. Man trap becomes trapped Man. Mantra. Tramline tongue, echoing mechanics in a hollow cavernous chest. The modern Jonah." They ended pictorially with what you see here on the left.

Pembroke Road idea
The title track 'Pembroke Road' was a high point of Leo Appleyard's launch gig with an edgy performance from Duncan Eagles and aided by his effect pedals. Eagles sent Appleyard down this formidable road with one of his typically prickly and uncompromising passages of play. I imagined the wildness of Pembroke Road in my drawings. In reality Pembroke Road is the name given to the track that leads to the recording studio in Pembrokeshire where the quintet recorded the album.

Walsio idea
“The first time I went to the studio I was inspired by the sense of space and isolation.”
 Leo Appleyard.

I Remember You
Before we settled on the final idea for the album art we explored two more tunes for inspirational art. 'Walsio' brought a very obvious response in the shape of coloured drawings of apples while 'I Remember You' was more disturbing. The notes I wrote for the latter helped shape the warehouse that you can just see in the background of the finished front cover at the top of this page. "Empty, siphon, funnel. Discharging its dark viscous contents. The slow sweep of the broom. The old warehouse, the wind like a rattling penny in an old tin money-box."

The final design of the warehouse window brings you a taste of the album and reflects the layers that lurk within the CD's 9 tracks. It shows the blue sky reflections that we all dream off, particularly when were starting off a project. There are repairs already in this collection of panes, the way that Leo Appleyard's compositions have been rebuilt through practice and live performances. You might even say that a few stones have already been thrown at these windows too. After all the life of a young jazz musicians requires you to quickly develop a thick skin. The final part of this jigsaw is the cheeky flavour, the advertising imagery that has been broken apart but is produced for you here to see.

Alban Low

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Samuel Eagles Quartet - Next Beginning launch

Samuel Eagles - Alto Saxophone
Eric Ford - drums
The Samuel Eagles Quartet kick-started their new album with a packed launch party at the EFG London Jazz Festival earlier this month (16/11/2014). Although this was a lunch time gig at the Pizza Express in Soho the capital's jazz night owls had been attracted to this doubleheader from record label F-IRE.

Ferg Ireland - Bass
The quartet smashed into their first tune, neither saxophonist Samuel Eagles nor drummer Eric Ford holding themselves back. It was an uncompromising clarion call to all those, young and old, who thirst for this new brand of original composition that bubbles away on the current British jazz scene.

'We were meant to be' preceded second tune 'Remembering myself', here Samuel Eagles mixed his rich hued Mediterranean motifs with the legendary cowbell of Eric Ford. If I were to remember myself while listening to this music then I would imagine that I had been reborn a Moor. While the other spelling of Moorish would also be applicable here too. The serene and unflappable Ferg Ireland brought our revery to an end with a solo that exercised his comprehensive talent.

Samuel Eagles' writing is melodic and aspirational, this is an expressive debut release from a young man who knows when to throw himself into the fray and when to stand back. In fact its is one of his signatures, when his lines are exhausted and complete he steps back to enjoy the men around him. I even had the time to sketch him in repose rather than on the attack.

Ralph Wyld - Vibraphone
The album's title track 'Next Beginning' was the tune of the set. Ireland (bass) once again gave us his melodic edge and combined with Ford (drums). They elevated the swing until it became the joyous. Ralph Wylde swayed too on vibes and the threesome skipped along together. Meanwhile Eagles stood on the sidelines, smiling broadly as the young vibesman danced his sticks.

The Pizza Express, Soho was a playground for the Samuel Eagles Quartet on this day. The future that lies before them is now merely an obstacle to enjoy, a climbing frame from which to throw themselves with enthusiastic abandon.


For a comprehensive review of the album please read Adrian Pallant at

Monday, 24 November 2014

Eyebrow - Garden City - album inspiration

Typography and additional design is by Jason Ewing at
The Group of Seven
Pete Judge - Jazz Café 05/03/2014
Today is the official release of Eyebrow's album Garden City on the New York label Ninety and Nine Records. Here at Art of Jazz we like to champion the art and artist's who help us visualise the music. Paul Wigen's it seems is our Renaissance Man of the day. He provides us not only with drums, percussion and violin on the album but also the photographs that adorn the 6 page CD sleeve.

Photo - Paul Wigens
Eyebrow is a trumpet and drums duo based in Bristol, UK, formed in 2009. Its music evolves out of improvisations which are reassembled into structured pieces. Paul Wigens studied with American jazz drummer Clifford Jarvis (Sun Ra/Archie Shepp/Pharoah Saunders) and has played with Grand Drive, The Blue Aeroplanes, Limbo, Cousteau and alongside the warped genius of Ted Milton in Blurt. 
Pete Judge recently played at the Jazz Café here in London with Get The Blessing where I had the pleasure of drawing him live. He has also composed music for film & live ensemble projects for Shetland Arts Trust, Portland Royal Manor Theatre, Gloucester Royal Hospital, Bristol’s Brunel 200 and Aberystwyth Silver Band.

The photos which wrap the Garden City album together were all taken by Paul Wigens. He cites the Hipgnosis album art of the 1970's as an influence but Eyebrow's is much more subtle. No melting face of Peter Gabriel or chewing gum breast like the Scorpions. The images talk of the detail and subtlety amongst a harsher landscape. Underneath the clod of grass on the cover is hidden a brick. The album's concepts are those of growth and decay, and the transitory narrative of Nature’s cycle. The title "Garden City’ refers to the ambitious town planning movement whose self-contained communities were surrounded by greenbelts of land, containing proportionate areas of residences, industry and agriculture.

album centrefold
Paul explains "The cardboard packaging reminds me of 1960s brutalist architecture and my parents had a red Heinkel bubble car which I remember travelling in as a child (It konked out in the end and dad gave it away to the milkman). I put them together in homage to my birthplace of Stevenage New Town; one of a number built north of London following WW2 to alleviate housing shortages."

Garden City has 7 tunes that populate the album with varying degrees of city, industry and agriculture. Blind Summit has a cinematic dystopian edge which belies the utopian ideals of our Garden City theme. It is a steely assessment by a being (animal or human?) purveying its domain. There is control and superiority emphasised by Wigen's drums, and a toll of bell across hollow landscape.

Unused album photo  -
Paul Wigens
As we traverse Eyebrow's world along Golden Road there is a distortion that affects you physically. Your body feels like it is being made into jam. It simmers, squeezes and amongst the viscosity there is a sweet tang. Mr Choppy brings back the mean beat after the refreshing wash of Pete Judge on the preceding LustreChoppy challenges you to makes everyday living into a piece of performance art if you are willing to play the game. Slow your pace to that of the music, be complicit in the pleasure of doing this for yourself, for your body, experience the new Bristolian Tai Chi.

The 13 minute Thaw is a sawing, repetitive piece that reflects the gentle textures of the album art. Mosses, lichens and imperfections are flattened to pattern. Amongst the shards of drums sit the soft dewy beds of a pulse. Scrim is an impressive swell of a much larger force that features the rumbling Jim Barr (Bass guitar and pedals). It is a living mountain of a tune. An elder god is contained within it. Garden City ends with a puzzle in Pinch Point. The thought wanders the mind like it was trapped within a Perspex 3D maze until the inevitable pinch, the moment which asks as many questions as it answers.

Pete Judge sums up the album, "the title and the artwork suggest, in a beautifully succinct way, the city-dweller’s search for space and wildness. We both live in Bristol, a city which still has at least one muddy boot in the farmland that surrounds it. Eyebrow’s music seems built on the interlocking patterns of buildings and traffic movements, but also stretches out and up, journeying slowly through real and imagined landscapes."

Listen for yourself (below) or see Eyebrow release the album on Sunday 30th November at The Brewery Theatre, featuring live visuals from Kathy Hinde, and special musical guests Jim Barr (Get The Blessing, Portishead) and Tim Allen (Bat For Lashes).
8pm, £8 (£6 concessions).


Thursday, 20 November 2014

Rachael Cohen - London Jazz Festival 2014

Rachael Cohen - alto saxophone
Rachael Cohen kicked off the EFG London Jazz Festival this year on the Southbank (14/11/2014). The Royal Festival Hall is not only one of London's great public spaces but a hub, meeting point and cultural cauldron. It is the heartbeat of the jazz festival. It offers the everyman and everywoman the chance to experience this most innovative of genres for free.

Jim Bashford - drums
This year's festival is better than ever with an even broader mix of styles, ages and venues to choose from. Rachael Cohen played it relatively safe, for this was a lunchtime concert that embraced an audience from toddlers to those surfing the silver freedom-pass wave. The majority of tunes were from her debut album Halftime on Whirlwind Recordings which was released this time last year at the suitably named Whirlwind Festival.

Steve Marchant
That launch gig showcased the talents of Phil Robson on guitar and once again he gave us what we hoped for here. He has been thrilling the jazzerati recently with the latest Partisans'  album  'Swamp'. They have toured North America and are now at the end of their UK leg. It is Leeds tonight at Seven Jazz and then the Vortex, London tomorrow (21/11/2014).

Phil Robson - guitar
Rachael Cohen socked us a couple of easy punches with 'The Manor' and Ornette Coleman's 'Just for you' to start proceedings. It was packed out in the Festival Hall, and I perched in the crow's nest above the bar. 'Groove Envy' gave us the chance to sail to more ambitious shores. The tune steps up and steps down like riding the escalators in a department store but when you hear Rachael Cohen alone it conjures more naturalistic sentiments. Maybe it her height and elegance alongside her playing that makes you think of reeds and rushes. From afar she sways in the wind, soft and mesmeric, yet you know the edges are sharp and whippy.

Before a finale of the warmed toned 'Intermission' and boisterous 'Riggins Higgins,?' we were treated to a new tune. Mark Lewandowski warmed to it too, looking a little pale and with sleepy eyes at first, he brought the colour to 'Green screen'. It was cheeky and joyous, it made you wonder what gems are contained in Rachael Cohen's second album.

Mark Lewandowski - bass
A final note goes to the London Jazz Festival's most devoted jazzface, Steve Marchant, who I sketched listening intently. At the time of writing this he has racked up 20 gigs in just 6 days. He will inevitably make the marathon distance but will he become the first Jazz Ultra and hit the 50. You wouldn't bet against it.