Wednesday 29 October 2014

Max Luthert - Orbital CD launch

Max Luthert - Bass
Duncan Eagles
Tenor Saxophone
The Pizza Express Soho is as thick of atmosphere as it is of crust. The cavernous interior brings a camaraderie to its denizens. With only candles to light your way, every bite and every sound can be consumed in isolation. It is hard though for an artist to draw in the darkness. So here is my interpretation of Max Luthert's Orbital album launch at the Pizza Express Soho last week (20/10/2014). It was pure intuition that reached the page, so excuse the simplicity of the sketches.

Chris Philips
A year and a week ago on 14th October 2013 Max Luthert recorded the music for his debut album 'Orbital' at Clown Pocket's Studio (link to words/sketches). Once again his talents have been championed by Whirlwind Recordings and the label's founder, Michael Janisch, who was Luthert's mentor/teacher during his formative years.

Dave Hamblett -
There are better reviewers than me, more discerning in their technical interpretation of Max Luthert's prowess. So please visit Sarah Chaplin's excellent piece (with Rob Blackham's photography) on the London Jazz website. There were musical heavyweights in attendance, influential young guns and one or two familiar jazzfaces.

Matt Robinson
In the gloom I was able to sketch one of my heroes, Chris Philips, whose radio show I listen to while working in the studio. To be selected for his Blue Print radio programme is an honour for any musician. In front of me sat Ollie Howell who has recently been cast in Philip's blue glow. The Sky Award winning pianist was relaxing before recording a new album himself.
Amongst other musicians attending were Leo Appleyard who has just released his debut too, Pembroke Road (F-IRE 75) and trumpeter Paul Jordanous. All from the Kingston stable where Luthert and saxophonist Duncan Eagles cut their musical teeth.

Gareth Lockrane
Gareth Lockrane glowed throughout the night with his supernatural flute powers, especially on the early tune 'Pacific Before Tiger'. The performance of the night was from the collective itself though and fortunately it was the title of the album 'Orbital'. It has a repressed pull that is infectious. There is a pulse which hammers home and your blood doesn't feel like your own when you are taken by its grip. It reminds your body of substances that are called addictive.

Seb Pipe - Alto Saxophone
The album is released on Whirlwind Recordings (WR 4659)
Buy it here -


Monday 27 October 2014

Lux Lisbon - Keeping Me Wild

Stuart Rook - Lux Lisbon
When that initial rush of a new wine touches your tongue you always hope that the subsequent bottle will be as good, if not better, as the first taste. This time last year I caught a couple of tunes from Lux Lisbon at the Queen of Hoxton during a charity concert. The splash that rolled around my musical glass that night was aggressive and refreshing. Luckily what I experienced at The Lexington earlier this month (17/10/2014) was more of the same, in fact, it had improved with age.

Charlotte Austen
Like the Careless Sons, who preceded them onstage, this sold out gig at The Lexington, London was the last of a compact tour. Their 'Memento Mori’ dates took them to Newcastle, Cambridge, Manchester and Nottingham and had warmed this highly original fivesome to a perfect heat for our pleasure.

I cannot commend enough both the group's creativity and their ability to effortless cross genres. The sweep of their themes and the passion behind them was captivating. To be both original and entertaining is a heady mix that one doesn't see at many concerts. This broadening of creative perspectives was only pulled further apart with their use of projected imagery. Many of us, including myself, play with music and film. Experience tells you that it is difficult card to play.

Jamie Shaw
To describe Charlotte Austen as the jewel in Lux Lisbon's crown would be to discredit her as merely a bauble. She is more integral than that and she sparkles amongst Lux Lisbon's fluid sophisticated sound.

I only got an impressionistic sketch of Tom Cooper, his crisp guitar work on 'Demons You Show' which was both strong and soulful. The tribal edge that drummer Jamie Shaw brought to 'Devil got me dancing' was a river that swelled with the voice of Charlotte Austen, and I wasn't the only one to be swept away.

Tom Cooper
It was a return to more familiar territory for me with the jack-in-the-box trumpet of Elliot Phelps on subsequent tunes 'Get some scars' and 'Keep me wild'. The latter, a new tune, was heartfelt and authentic in the hands of lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Stuart Rook. It was a fanfare to outdoor hours at late night parties. You felt the cool grass of an English lawn beneath your feet. The smell of a forbidden lake or river in the air and the irresistible desire to skinnydip.

Lux Lisbon currently have a free download (Get Some Scars EP - Special Edition) available at -

Elliot Phelps
More importantly they have just announced a new live date at the Hoxton Bar and Kitchen on January 28th 2015.  It will be well worth catching if you can. A third of the tickets have already sold and if it's anything like the gig at The Lexington then they will sell-out along time before the date itself.
For more information visit -



Tammy Payne - Viva Outsider

Marko Miladinović artwork
New York label, Ninety and Nine records, have done it again. If their musical releases are as true and reflective of their ethos then they will be an innovative force for years to come. Their latest CD release (27/10/2014) is from Tammy Payne, whose album art has been created by Marko Miladinović. The name may be familiar from his work with Serbian foursome EYOT who recently released their Similarity album. Miladinović's isn't a one-trick pony, his broad portfolio includes forays into photography, art and design. He currently works at the Centre for Culture and Arts in his hometown of Aleksinac, Serbia where he was born in 1981. He has won several awards for his painting and photography, with over 20 international exhibitions under his belt.

Jim Barr - Get the blessing
Tammy Payne is a chameleon. Under the wings of Gilles Peterson she released “Take Me Now” in 1991 on the Talkin Loud label but this wasn't where her talents were destined to land. An expansive journey continued for the next 20 years, working with Sissi, Bristol sound originators Smith And Mighty, Boca 45 and Jukes. My ears pricked up when she created the earthy album of covers/standards, 'Don't Think Twice', on Edition Records in 2010. The album included drummer Dylan Howe ( The Blockheads ),bassist Jim Barr (Get The Blessing ), Dan Moore on keyboards ( Pee Wee Ellis, Andy Shepherd ) and Neil Smith. The organ work of Dan Moore is worth hearing alongside Tammy Payne's emotionally threaded voice.

Tammy Payne
As you would imagine the title track on today's release, 'Viva Outsider' is also the inspiration for Marko Miladinović's artwork. Miladinović has always had a strong connection to the landscape and here he also plays with one of his favourite toys, Scale. The topographical mountain range that is unfurled beneath us is isolated by a desert world around it. Although this talks of vastness and height it could just as easy be a crumpled sheet of paper destined for the bin. Discarded words, too painful for the everyday eye to read.

Tammy Payne sees the artwork from a bird's eye view,
"I like the way the "outsider" has been elevated to the position of a creature that has an aerial view - the bird. This empowers the outsider and gives her the power of flight, a good view, and the feeling she can circle the area in a predatory fashion."

Marko Miladinović
The title track 'Viva Outsider' mirrors the soaring prairie, a vastness that is exaggerated by Payne's laconic vocals. Although there are Americana vistas in this work, the pulsing unease is one of Lynchian proportions. Planting us firmly in this current time of disintegration. In aonther track, 'Some People', you hear the iron fence that keeps us from each other's predatory instincts, the heat from the yard that is relentless.

The foreignness of 'Viva Outsider' seeps into the bones of this recording. It is the measured pace that you have to adopt in warmer climes. Those hotter territories where passions are barely contained and you sense emotional eruptions are imminent. Yet everything is hidden behind closed doors.

Marko Miladinović's Art
Tammy Payne told me about the journey from her Tamco work to this current creation.
"We tried a few songs with the same wild, raucous feeling as Tamco, but my voice was lost. We stripped it right down to just voice and guitar. I have a dream of putting string arrangements on top of this one day. Although ultimately we built up the sound with the whole band, we made sure the focus was the singer and the song."

Find out more about Tammy Payne at -

Viva Outsider is released today 27/10/2014 on Ninety and Nine Records.
Buy it at -

Listen for yourself -


Sunday 26 October 2014

Careless Sons - The Lexington

Ben Donnelly - Bass
Rob D'Ath
It was the end of a 7 date tour for the Careless Sons of Rob D'Ath, Ben Donnelly, Dickon Collinson and Stefan Hale at The Lexington, London (17/10/2014) last week. The previous 10 days had seen them visit Cambridge, Manchester, Gateshead, Liverpool, Leeds and Nottingham but hadn't dented their enthusiasm for the sold out crowd before them.

Dickon Collinson
Since that gig they have officially launched their debut EP, Carbon Dating, which is available through Bandcamp for £3 (4 original tracks). If you listen to the tunes though it will not tell the full story. The EP describes rites of passage epiphanies through the melodic pop-rock voice of Dickon Collinson. It is high energy with pulsing guitar waves. It is charismatic.

In the thick of a live performance Careless Sons are more than this.  The Collinson charm cuts the cake rather than being the sweet filling that saturates it. Donnelly has a presence beyond his musical contribution, while Ath's guitar was strong and raw.

It was the contribution of Stefan Hale that created the heaviest pulse of the night. The power of his drums not only balanced the threat of affection in Dickon Collinson's lyrics but also added a physical taste of musical blood in the mouth of the audience.

Stefan Hale - drums
If you would like a taste of Careless Sons yourself then they have just announced a Christmas Party (with mince pies and special guests) at The Islington.
6th December 2014,
Tickets here -

See for yourself.


Thursday 23 October 2014

Mihaly Borbely - Transylvanian Taragoto

Mihaly Borbely - Táragotó
While most birds fly south for the winter there was one rare specimen which landed at Twickenham Jazz Club last week (16/10/2014). The sighting of Mihaly Borbely wouldn't have excited many jazz twitchers but by the end of his performance the audience proudly displayed a new feather in their caps. Borbely is a talented multi-instrumentalist who was recently voted "alto saxophonist of the year" in his native Hungary ( Reader's Poll 2013).

Alex Hutton - piano
Strong, crisp and clear was his first call. The lyrical came later, as Mihaly Borbely navigated his way through a set dominated by standards. The trio that surrounded him were Alex Hutton (piano), Dave Green (bass) and Matt Fishwick (drums). Mihaly was the continuous subtle presence throughout the night. Yes, there were moment of virtuosity but showing off wasn't the raison d'etre for the man dressed in beige who stood before us.

Dave Green - Bass
Alex Hutton surprised and excelled all night. He was light and high of energy. Here is a man who is in love with life and creativity. There is always an intensity in his gaze and quite possibly his finger tips. Sometimes you fear this desire will drag him down but when he takes flight, as he did tonight, he does so on an inspiring swell.

The bookend of the first set, 'Bye Bye Blackbird', saw a rich and confident Hutton roaring with expression. With boyish golden locks bouncing, head thrust back with cavalier pride, he delighted the Twickenham Jazz Club audience. Always a favourite here, we gallivanted with his solos and danced with his daring. The reason for this positivity is that there is a new album on its way. Recently recorded with Asaf Sirkis and Yuri Goloubev, the central themes of the CD are embedded in the rich folk history of England.

Kelvin Christiane - Tenor Saxophone
It was a first entry in my sketchbook for Dave Green (bass) and exciting to capture Matt Fishwick (drums) once again. His last visit here being with New York altoist Mike DiRubbo in November 2013. Fishwick with a posture any super model would die for, was deliciously tight and unyielding on 'Caravan'. Direct might be the best way to describe his penetration. Between each steely thrust, Borbely danced an eastern odyssey. A romantic flow which erupted tiny geysers in the mind.

Matt Fishwick - drums
Between the alto breezes, Mihaly Borbely gave us the purity of his soprano on 'Round Midnight' and a delicate homage to Nature's beauty on Táragotó (Transylvania Blues). A TJC night wouldn't be complete without a fast-paced injection from Kelvin Christiane. This time John Coltrane's 'Giant Steps' gave our host a chance to park his finesse and catapult the finale with force.

Although this a was night built on standards, it still had ambition. There was a technical sparkle that will see Mihaly Borbely return I expect to these shores and it will be interesting to see how he was received at his second British date (St Bartholomew's Church) with the Paul Busby Big Band.


Wednesday 22 October 2014

The Scene of Crime House - Kingston

The Scene of the crime
Between sketching musicians in late night haunts I enjoy stepping into the daylight occasionally. Earlier this month (13/10/2014) I was invited into a Scene of Crime House in Kingston to see what goes on in a property with such a macabre title. Despite looking like any other semi-detached house this one contains various types of mock crime scenes, including burglary, arson, assault and sexual crime. Students have to pick up evidence carefully and transport it back to the labs for preservation and analysis. After only 2 weeks of lectures in this academic year , it was time for the Kingston University MSc Forensic Analysis students to put some of their theories into practice.

Dr. Baljit Ghatora
I was going in blind to this situation. My imagination was a fertile ground for all kinds of brutal scenarios. The students beside me transformed themselves into white clad investigators. All personal fashion hidden under these clinical bodysuits. As a group they looked like a group of snowmen who had just completed a particularly successful slimming regime.

After a pep talk from tutor, Dr. Baljit Ghatora, the group leader Mitchell opens the door of the kitchen and enters alone. The rest of us stand outside. What will he find inside? We shift nervously from foot to foot, although it might be the chill in the house that keeps us moving.

All is quiet. We stare at the white kitchen door. Everything is a blank except our minds.

Documentation and Communication are the key to gathering all the information at this crime scene. Hopefully we'll avoid any unexpected surprises too. As Mitchell walks out he tells us, "There are signs of a struggle".

As we enter together, the scene before us is surprisingly underwhelming. Yet in the hands of the four members of this Forensic team a story unfolds that is anything but tiresome reading. Small relationships between items and location suggest twists in the narrative. Denise spots fingerprints on the window pane. Someone didn't use the door (which is locked) to get in or out, or both.

There are a number of things that look out of place, a chair knocked to the floor, a length of orange rope that is too small to be of any practical use. Then there are objects that shriek of burgeoning meaning and potential, like a set of knifes. Even more telling is that there is one missing.

As the scene is explored the team analyse what they find and what they think has happened. What appeared at first a largely benign room is now full of possible plots and sub-plots. Analysis though plays a minor role for the next 30 minutes as Denise photographs the room from every angle while Merve and Regina gather evidence.

The crime scene team
Tension though hasn't been suppressed totally with all the measuring, bagging and boxing. Another sweep of this crime scene reveals that a door, presumed padlocked, is in fact open. The lock has been tampered with or recently prised apart. We all draw in our breaths as the door is slowly pulled ajar. Fortunately (or possibly unfortunately) a dead body doesn't jump out. There is no ghost train jack-in-the-box to scare us. It must be very rare to find a metaphorical or even literal 'smoking gun' and it was time to return to the documenting of evidence rather than detective work.

The relationship between the four students came under pressure in this highly technical situation. It was clear that a working and personal relationship would need to develop if this was going to me a successful team in the future.

I'm hoping to return to the scene of the crime to see if this is the case when the delights of 'assault' and 'murder' scenes await me next year. Who knows I might even have a still life to draw. A very still life.


On November 5th from 5-7pm I will be exhibiting a series of paintings, drawings, sound recordings and films that have been inspired by the Simulated mental health ward at Kingston University and St Georges, University of London.
The 'What's Real is home' exhibition will be at the Scene of Crime House, 14 Fassett Road, Kingston Upon Thames, KT1 2TF



Thursday 16 October 2014

The Healing - Childhood Home EP launch

Jim Moreton - The Healing
The Healing launched their latest EP, 'Childhood Home', at the Gladstone Arms on Saturday night (11/10/2014) with a short, yet complete set. A wash of genres awaited the sardined audience as they jostled under the vermillion lights of this popular Borough haunt.

Ariel Moreton
Harmony Vocals
Jim Moreton is the driving force on guitar and lead vocals. He traversed the opening songs as though on a transcontinental road trip. Expansive vistas stretched on either side, enough space for minds to wander. There were sparks in the words though and a smouldering of meaning. A tinder that ignited latent sentiments.

Sam Thiery - Bass
'No Virtue' was the central point of the performance. Jim Moreton parked his wandering country drawl at the door and gave us his passionate best. The bass of Sam Thiery was felt fuller and stronger. There was an imbalance in the cramped condition between drums and bass and it was the latter that was often called upon to smooth the way. This was a mere temporary glitch. Listen for yourself at where you can download the EP for free.

With both Sam Thiery (bass) and Nicolas Py (drums) in the furthest corner I managed only impressionistic sketches. Sometimes though they come in handy to explain a players demeanour. Thiery has the straightest of backs while he plays, in fact so straight be bends the opposite way that you would expect.

Nicolas Py - drums
Nicolas Py in contrast, was a ball of energy in a space far too small to contain him. Hunched over, with shoulders somewhere near his ears, he fired hard and raw volleys into the Gladstone throng.

Their final tune 'I heard it through the grapevine' could furnish me with many a pun to finish this post. You though, don't need anything as arbitrary as my hearsay to tell you to visit their website Or see them for yourselves at The Spice Of Life on 12th November 2014.


Monday 13 October 2014

Neil Cowley Trio by Mike Russell

There is so much exciting music being played all over the UK that here at Art of Jazz we're featuring the work of guest artists to run alongside our usual London centric fare . Today we welcome the talents of artist Mike Russell.

Mike attended the Neil Cowley Trio gig at Brighton Dome Corn Exchange on 9th October 2014. The trio were presenting their most recent recording Touch and Flee. Listen to and buy the album on Naim records -

Mike Russell writes,
"I listened to the music, I closed my eyes and this is what I saw."

Neil Cowley Trio - Touch and Flee
by Mike Russell

Mike Russell is an artist and author living in Brighton and Hove. He is currently creating an exciting small publishing company which will be unleashed upon the unsuspecting public in 2015 and will reside here: so watch that space! 

The Neil Cowley Trio still have dates on their tour.
14th October - Birmingham, CBSO Centre
18th October - Manchester, RNCM
23rd October - Derry, Derry International Choral Festival


Friday 10 October 2014

Peacock Affect - George Holman

Peacock Affect - George Holman
It was a short set at The Water Rats in King's Cross last Wednesday 08/10/2014. George Holman is also known as Peacock Affect. He's from Exeter. His tunes are emotional and thick with the gravy of human condition.

Peacock Affect - George Holman
Originally Peacock Affect was the name of the band he wanted to start but he was very much alone on the stage when I sketched him. He played in the dark, he wore dark clothes and his new romantic fringe was the curtain call to the promise within. His words were buried much deeper than any 80's unisex fop. They nestle amongst the old romantics like Shelley and Byron in their melancholia.

His name Peacock Affect incenses the grammar police. People dissect its meaning. People listen to his tunes. People tell him to cheer up or say it touches them like nothing has touched them before.

I spoke with George after the performance. He was nervous that he would wear out his favourite songs. He said "Last year I wrote nine songs, this year I wrote two. I have to be in the right mood".
The mood sums itself up perfectly with his lyric for the song The Middle 'We all die in the end,
But at times I want to die in the middle, But now I think it's the end."

I wish George had played his set all over again. Starting at the beginning and finishing at the end.
Time enough to sink yourself into his existential middle.


His dates this month are -
14th Oct, The Abbey Tavern, London
15th Oct, The Green Room, Sheffield
16th Oct, The Dublin Castle, London
18th Oct, The Eagle, Salford...
20th Oct The Unicorn, Manchester
24th Oct,  Indietro Secret Festival, Brighton

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Alex Garnett & Brandon Allen Quartet

Alex Garnett - Tenor Saxophone
Last Thursday (25/09/2014) at the Twickenham Jazz Club was more about the double act of tenor saxophonists Alex Garnett and Brandon Allen than anything else. Yes, they were capably supported, but this was a case of the duo employing the Zulu 'Horns of the Buffalo' offense to break our post-summer malaise to smithereens.

Brandon Allen - Tenor Saxophone
I have admired Garnett since seeing him a year ago at the Whirlwind Festival and his charm, then as well as now is earthy and real. It was not lost on the Twickenham faithful either, TJC webmaster Lister Park commented "there's a certain understated arrogance behind the 'cheeky chappy' persona". The stomping Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis' tune 'Foxy' epitomises Garnett's mixture of punch and drawl. While Brandon Allen whipped us up, chopping hard, knee knocking and straining just on the end of his lyrical leash it was Alex Garnett that egged him on. More than naughty schoolboys they were men with a passion to take risks.

David Ingamells
Alex Garnett has a new album on the way from his Bunch of Five crew (inc. Tim Armacost, Liam Noble, Mike Janisch, and James Maddren) called Andromeda. I can confirm that this isn't a homage to the Greek beauty who was chained naked to a rock to sate a monster appetite but the galaxy which is 2.5 million light years from earth. A galaxy which is approaching us at 68 miles a second and is equal in force to the bullish Alex Garnett.

Pete Whittaker - Organ
Pete Whittaker gave us more of what we had been waiting for. Squelching our feet in the oozing cool of Illionis Jacquet's 'Embryo', it even resulted in some spontaneous hip action from Messrs Garnett & Allen. Consistently it was Brandon Allen which caught the eye. A rich and expressive solo on Billy May's 'Somewhere in the night' was backed up by an exuberant and hard-hitting whack on the aforementioned 'Embryo'.

Kelvin Christiane
Tenor Saxophone
In the gloom I grabbed a quick black & white sketch of David Ingamells and Kelvin Christiane. The latter played angry and mean, as though he had something to get off his chest. The three tenors on the stage were faster and more furious than their operatic counterparts. Although this may not be much of a compliment, despite Placido Domingo been known as Pitbull on the classical concert circuit.


Next up at Twickenham Jazz Club 7th October - Kelvin Christiane Big Band, 16th October - Mikhaly Borbely (Hungarian Saxophonist) with the excellent Mike Gorman Trio, 30th October -Sarah Moule.