Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Alex Garnett Bunch of Five

Alex Garnett
Alex Garnett Bunch of Five
Alex Garnett – tenor sax & compositions
Tim Armacost – tenor sax
Ross Stanley – piano
Michael Janisch – double bass
Andrew Bain – drums

Michael Janisch

Date - 22nd November 2015
Venue - Pizza Express Jazz Club, Dean St, Soho, London, UK.
Current Album - Andromeda (Whirlwind Recordings)

Ross Stanley
Hear him playing - Alex can be found in the depths of Soho at Ronnie Scott’s every Monday and Tuesday night for his weekly late-late show residency, when not on the road.

Raconteur Alex Garnett with his trim London/NYC five piece punch-in at the London Jazz Festival 2015.

Roundabouts and swings, never Fragonard nor My Fair Lady but those grubby shiny seats we love so dearly on this grimy isle. Wiping the dew, rain or damp off with a sleeve as the very British wind of Alex Garnett buffets us. There is a respect for our lead man, he is the big brother you always secretly yearned for with funny stories and an adoration that may well be unattainable.

Andrew Bain
Self depreciation is one of Alex Garnett's arts and that of Camp comic, not the effeminate kind but that of Hi-De-Hi, even the moustache would at first make you think of Clark Gable but it is Paul Shane that lingers in the mind.

Holmes - Happy chickens and steel-plated cats, Fritz get my coat! The happiness in not being superhuman but just a glorious fallible human, the happiness of the everyday, the happiness of you and me. Andrew Bain and Ross Stanley get you out of bed in the morning more quickly than a short circuiting Breville Teasmade. Tim Armacost is curiosity itself, evoking the spirit of playing in the street (whether imagined or real), fingers in dirty holes, young boy zeal and grubby knees.

Tim Armacost
Wipe away the silly string that Alex Garnett squirts in our eyes with his introductory patter and we see that here is a man of depth and poignancy. Dracula's Lullaby is a good example, it smears the actor's greasepaint to reveal a laid back Christopher Lee, a soporific villain relaxing with whiskey in hand.

You feel part of the bunch, the five swell to include the wider audience and we are all conspirators in the tune Delusions of Grandma. The gangs all here, hear, here she is legs swinging, bingeing, laughing, crying, meowing, one hand, no hands, hand me downs, pass the hammer Jack, on your back Jack. We are the gang to entertain you.


Thursday, 17 December 2015

Urchin - London Jazz Festival 2015

Leo Appleyard
Agne Motie - Vocals/Lyrics
Leo Appleyard - Guitar/Songs
Duncan Eagles - Soprano Sax
Piers Green - Alto Sax
Hoagy Plastow - Tenor Sax
Paul Jordanous - Keys
Holley Gray - Bass
Chris Nickolls - Drums

Duncan Eagles
Date - 18th November 2015
Venue - Pizza Express Jazz Club, Dean St, Soho, London, UK.

Urchin on Youtube - Show Me Love

See them next at -
29.01.16 - Hootananny // Brixton // 10pm
26.02.16 - Dead Or Alive @ The Comedy // Leicester Square
10.04.16 - Omnibus // Clapham // 8pm

Chris Nickolls
Embryonic 8 piece from South London showcase their burgeoning repertoire of Jazz, EDM, DnB, Cinematic, Dance and House influenced tunes at the London Jazz Festival 2015.

Wet with dewy ideas Urchin have recently emerged from a birth by a thousand nights. A group like this, however youthful, have already cut their teeth individually on London's live music circuit. They would have probably played more than a thousand nights each in their brief careers and therefore Urchin is an apt name, they are a rag tag but charming bunch.

Holley Gray
It would be easy to cast Urchin as the mischievous group of children in Oliver Twist as they are adept at pickpocketing and assimilating musical genres into their repertoire. Although Leo Appleyard would be cast as their Fagin, he neither represents his villainous traits nor craggy looks. In fact Appleyard retains a fresh faced visage and an admirable sunny disposition despite having to corral his 7 fellow protagonists.

Paul Jordanous
On keyboard is a man who simultaneously channels the spirit of  Bill Sikes and The Artful Dogder in one fell swoop. Paul Jordanous is manly like Sikes, butch perhaps in physique while retaining his Everyman appeal, his boyish twinkle and his 'street' hoody attire cast him as a modern day Dodger.

Agne Motie
Our female lead is Agne Motie whose appearance and reputation couldn't be further from the original manifestation of the plump prostitute Nancy. Motie's vocals were entrenched comfortably in the music of the band of brothers that surrounded her. She never soared above nor alighted on a branch to delicately showcase her wares, she was one of the boys in spirit but never in Y chromosome nor front.

Hoagy Plastow
Leo Appleyard's self penned 'Sketches' was a tune to believe in, with light holiday perks from the tenor saxophone of Hoagy Plastow and tin cut snips from Appleyard's guitar. The swell about Urchin has started despite their relatively recent arrival on the scene. They have a desire to find their own path without banging the earnest drum of experimentalism nor the shock of the new. After this first helping of Urchin I hold my bowl up to them and ask, Please Sir, I want some more.


Piers Green

Friday, 11 December 2015

Toy Rokit - London Jazz Festival 2015

Bill Mudge
Toy Rokit
Mark Rose - Bass
Bill Mudge - Keys
Chris Nickolls - Drums

Date - 18th November 2015
Venue - Pizza Express Jazz Club, Dean St, Soho, London, UK.

Current Album - Mission 6 featuring Mike Outram.

Mark Rose
Toy Rokit spark their improvised dynamos on the Pizza Express stage for the London Jazz Festival 2015.

Burring movement from the underground cockpit left eyes resting on the central figure of Mark Rose. Bill Mudge gave us his profile never both eyes, while Chris Nickolls dipped his head in a crisis of self confidence. Rose was the Admiral Ackbar of our scene, his music represented the Admiral's immortal lines 'It's a trap' for that was what lay before us. Hidden under the fallen leaves there were nightmarish pits for those who love to categorise and plant definitions on music, especially Jazz.

Deep bellyaching wounds were Mark Roses musical call, it had a filthiness like mechanical porn. Chris Nicholls has a freedom in this trio format, he cackled and swarmed as if a party of cavorting of locusts, he was lighter than initially expected, his fine tipped wings rubbing against a brittle exoskeleton.

Chris Nickolls
Bill Mudge was an X-ray specs shooter, sending his green and red laser lines into the darkness of the Pizza Express. At certain times it was hard to decide which musician made each noise, such was the overlap and distortion of original sounds.

Ground control samples played us, the audience, as the voyeurs of Merritt Island. The pensive Gene Kranz figure of pianist George Bone sat a few feet away from me. Mudge's keyboard protégé Paul Jordanous a few feet more. Bill Mudge cannot be caught in one mere historical epoch, he is the Captain Kirk of the mission, beaming in and out of centuries; past and future. His Spinet diversions created pin pricks in the skull as though ours heads had become miniature planetariums. As much as this describes a delicate sophistication, Mudge also regularly cleaned out his waste pipe, always for the briefest moment but enough to get us dirty.

George Bone
Toy Rokit buck the trend of many on the jazz scene where dexterity and speed are the macho bragging fist with which to thump your audience with. Toy Rokit were like one of those animated gifs that patrol the internet. Vangelis caught on a hamster wheel, it was impossible to look away.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Old Moot House Jam - Paul Jordanous

Tom Stebbing - drums
Old Moot Jam
Paul Jordanous - keys
Dave Sanders - Saxophone
Tom Stebbing - Drums
Filipe Monteiro - Guitar
Bob McKay - Flute
Dave Harvey - Flute
Roger Perrin - Flute

Dave Sanders -Saxophone
Date - 4th November 2015

Weekly Live Music with 5 piece band, featuring top musicians from the London music scene and beyond.
Wednesdays 8.30pm-11pm
Jazz/ Funk/ Soul/ Pop & more!
Invited guests 2nd Set
FREE Entry
Paul Jordanous - Keyboard
Tonight - 9th December 2015 - Dan Lloyd, Ross Ewart, Quantz, Ramdin, Luke Stenner, Jake Horn and Jackson Mathod.
Each week at The Old Moot House in Kingston you can hear the best London has to offer in funk, soul and especially jazz. The night starts with a first set by a 'house' band. Although this is a moveable feast of personnel it most often than not includes head honcho Paul Jordanous.

Dave Harvey - Flute
After a short break there is a jam which showcases an evolving and informal group of musicians, those that are local, perhaps those recording albums in the capital or having a night off from working in a London musical. Visitors come from further afield and if you are lucky you can catch some fine US. performers too. The best is home-grown though and you are safe in the knowledge that there is a deep well of talent to draw from here in South West London.
Filipe Monteiro - Guitar
I cut my sketching teeth on the now infamous and celebrated Grey Horse Jam whose rich spring of youth bubbled just a few metres away in Kingston. Jordanous was one of my favourites alongside too many names to list here. The Grey Horse Jam was run by a young trio called Partikel who are now celebrated all over the land. Their third album 'String Theory' has been lauded in the press with The Telegraph hailing it as one of the best albums of 2015.
Bob McKay - Flute
Jordanous is no slouch and his talents on trumpet have graced numerous recordings. His debut album 'And Now I Know' is more than worth a listen and a dip into the pocket. There have been rumours over the past years of a second album and lets hope it is not too long. On the night I visited The Old Moot Jam Jordanous featured heavily on keyboard. In the first set he was but a cog in Leo Appleyard's new 'urban beats' machinery with Urchin. I will be writing more about them in the coming weeks as I subsequently sketched them at the London Jazz Festival.
Roger Perrin - Flute
I don't need to write a description of the second set jam, not only do the sketches do the talking but each week there will be a different surprise, the mix of musicians will be always evolving and changing. The London jam, as in most cities, is the barometer of a healthy scene. In years to come these jams will be idolised as fertile grounds of camaraderie and talent, a melting pot of evolving ideas and styles. They exist through a need to play with and learn from one another. Unbelievably we can be the spectators and sometimes curators (with sketches and photographs) of these unique moment just by buying a pint, sitting quietly and being prepared to listen. Don't miss out.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Sax Appeal - Derek Nash

Derek Nash
Sax Appeal
Alec Dankworth
Derek Nash - Alto Saxophone
Scott Garland - Alto Saxophone
Duncan Eagles - Tenor Saxophone
Rob Hughes - Tenor Saxophone
Bob McKay - Baritone Saxophone and Flute
Alec Dankworth - Bass
Rick Simpson - Keys
Scott Garland
Mike Bradley - Drums

Date - 27th October 2015

Venue - Twickenham Jazz Club, Cabbage Patch, Twickenham

Current Albums
Derek Nash - You've Got to Dig It to Dig It, You Dig?

Duncan Eagles
Derek Nash in concert
He is currently on tour with the Jools Holland R&B Orchestra until 2oth December 2015. More details at http://www.joolsholland.com
He does have a duo gig at The Cross Keys, 236/238 St Johns Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN4 9XD on 16/12/2015 - 20:15

Rob Hughes
The audience like Derek Nash, they quite simply like him as much as a person as they do a musician. To build this rapport with an audience isn't necessarily an easy thing to do and Nash never holds back in his commitment to a performance.

The tenors of Rob Hughes and Duncan Eagles (fresh off the plane from Partikel's epic tour of China) give us an early Jazz wedgie with the title track to Sax Appeal's latest album Funkerdeen.

Bob McKay
Blue for you feels its way through sleepy eyes into Sax Appeal's performance, Bob McKay wears the metaphorical pyjamas, stretching out his long limbs, propping himself on an elbow and fires up a little smoke. There is an epilogue to this song from Rob Hughes who puts the melting cheese on this morning fry up, a toasty delight, crisp and even. Eventually and unavoidably sinking teeth into much more meaty fare.

The optimistic Seville being the tune. An infectious march and leap, that spurred toes in the audience, from drum to bass, top to bottom, forward and back. Mike Bradley's hard persuasive beats, a beast happy in its sweating skin.

Mike Bradley
The stage was not only set for Jazz music but also the imminent World Cup rugby final, the crowd already full bolstered by Antipodean visitors dancing in the aisles and drinking champagne. The stage bulbs above Sax Appeal start to swing with the convection heat pulsing from the 5 strong saxophone line. Derek Nash's music never talks of empty landscapes it always speaks of people and to people. He is a showman in the kindest definition of the word, his music is a bus ride, a tram journey perhaps. It is about chatter and rubbing shoulders, the joy of being amongst other people. It seems obvious but that is why we come to clubs like Twickenham Jazz Club rather than watch our heroes on Youtube.

Rick Simpson
Sax Appeal aren't a one trick pony, neither in personnel nor subject matter. Derek Nash's Phoenix Suite is testament to that. No hitch kicks from Nash on this occasion, he instead leans back and calls like a howling wolf. Eagles takes up the challenge,  angular and sharp, he is both the builder of the song's motifs and its wrecker. You'll be unlikely to see a tattoo on Eagles knuckles but for this song his fists might well of spelt out Love and Hate. Ghosts, rather than make us dwell on death, awakened an interest in Rick Simpson and were the foundations for a wall of saxophone sound. Simpson was forever present, eventually pulling the teeth from the deadly big band saxes. His was a Hammond silt that eventually sieved out Derek Nash, like gold in a prospector's pan.