Pretty novel idea, as part of the Ronnie Scott’s 60th Anniversary festivities spooling out this year, in that the club is to host a street party outside the club’s premises on Frith Street on Saturday 20 July. The confirmed line-up includes Pee Wee Ellis and his Funk Assembly, Nubya Garcia and a 7-piece latin-jazz band. Full details: here.
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Beefy brass and funked up Wu-Tang Clan from Steely Dan trumpeter Michael Leonhart.
Laid back samba from Duduka Da Fonseca and starry guests.
Airy electronica fashioned as if it were counterpoint by the very fine Aki Rissanen piano trio.
Murmuring to a tech equivalent of a cicada behind him, saxophonist Rob Cope paints all over the minimal background as a Gods of Apollo scene setter on ‘Sputnik’ the first of what is planned to be a three-part trilogy inspired by space.
Spoken word from the NASA archives spool out of the speakers at the beginning of ‘Human Spaceflight’ with pianist Elliot Galvin suitably modernistic sprawlingly effective behind the speech. There is a lot going on throughout the album and there is a certain danger that the concept will overpower the playing itself but luckily this does not happen mainly because the production and compositional techniques seem to be so very well thought through. Cope has a very human Iain Ballamy-like sound and his bittersweet soliloquies make this quite a personal statement and with Galvin, superb particularly on ‘Magnificent Desolation’, guitarist Rob Luft and drummer Jon Ormston around him there is a strong group unity and direction. Cope and chums launch the album tonight at the Vortex. Get yourself down there if you can.
There is a lot of really firing latin-jazz around at the moment including this nimble new album from former Mongo Santamaria pianist Bill O’Connell and the Afro Caribbean Ensemble who make their debut release together with Wind Off the Hudson (issued by the Savant label) on 26 July. Quite a line-up of a band including Andrea Brachfeld, Craig Handy, Ralph Bowen, Gary Smulyan, Alex Sipiagin, Conrad Herwig, Lincoln Goines, Robby Ameen and Roman Diaz. Tracks are: Wind Off the Hudson, Gospel 6, Jerry’s Blues, I Don’t Have the Answer, Oye Como Va, Perdido, Got Cha, Transition, C Jam Blues and Discombobulation.
Mark 29 and 30 July in your diaries... they make for a couple of chances to catch one of the most swinging soulfully bluesy jazz saxophone masters in the ideal circumstances of a small jazz club situation.
Now in his eighties Houston Person has more than 75 albums under his own name on Prestige, Westbound, Mercury, Savoy, Muse, and is currently with High Note Records. He has recorded with Charles Brown, Charles Earland, Lena Horne, Etta Jones, Lou Rawls, Horace Silver, Dakota Staton, and many more.
His latest record is I’m Just a Lucky So and So, from which his version of ‘Willow Weep For Me’ can be heard above, is released on High Note at the end of July. Hear him with his organ trio at Pizza Express Jazz Club, London. Remember: you only really learn deep down as a player or as a listener by hearing and experiencing the masters live. Tickets.