Monday, November 10, 2014


The keyboard, bass and drums trio format needs to have something special in the mix to give it its’ own character and charisma. Zeitgeist have managed to infuse their trio sound with colour and flavour not always familiar with that format to create something invigorating and intelligent. Essentially formed at Leeds College of Music in 2011, the band have recently played a number of dates across the country in Leeds, Manchester, Bath, Bristol, Leamington and Lancaster.  At the moment two tracks are available to stream via their website, “Mosaic” and “Plancks”. “Mosaic” seems to effortlessly blend the pulse of minimalism with the sprightliness of a well-rehearsed, tight trio. Moods shift and mutate throughout its’ duration with ease and efficiency. “Plancks” has an underlying tension and mystery about its structure, which almost gives the impression of it being a narrative to some fiendishly illicit intrigue. Leeds has a reputation for producing jazz that acknowledges many other genres including its rich DIY culture. Zeitgeist are upholding that tradition and taking it to new levels, which bode well for the forthcoming album release.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Paul Edis Sextet - “Mr Hipster” album review

Twelve months ago “Jazz Goes To Leeds” favourably discussed the Paul Edis “Not Like Me” and “There Will Be Time” album releases, and now, his latest release “Mr Hipster” is by no means a disappointing follow up. With a front line armoury of trumpet, tenor saxophone and trombone, the sound may be bigger and bolder, but the compositions and improvisations still hold that characteristic trademark of crispness and flair that we would come to expect from him. “The Timothys” and “Mr Hipster” are perky compositions that illustrate what this sextet is capable of. On first hearing these opening tracks one is drawn to make comparisons with the soundtrack music of Henry Mancini (even before the liner notes make reference to the Pink Panther). “Eastern” holds many of the tender qualities that we have seen from previous releases, but bolsters those romantic elements with a larger, more robust sound. The sentiment is still present, but the voice has become somehow richer. “Serial for Breakfast” has quirkiness reminiscent of some of the luscious Mingus big band arrangements. A number of these pieces would not look too out of place as film soundtracks, as can be evidenced on “Knight Errant” for example. Imagine a heat hazed desert panorama through which the man with no name rides enigmatically, and you get some idea of the images evoked. Imagine a 1970’s American police drama or Blaxploitation film and you get a feeling for “Lost In Translation”. Only the addition of wah wah guitar could complete the picture. The nod to the work of Charlie Mingus becomes more recognisable on “Ah Um” and “Better Than A Punch In The Face” with their strident motifs supported by flurries of brass. “Dorian Grey” has an almost sacred romanticism, which provides the perfect vehicle for some devotional brass and piano soloing. That romantic thread continues through the delicate, gossamer thin lines of “Missing You”. These pages have likened Paul Edis’ playing to that of Keith Jarrett, and here again we hear his playing rich with melancholy and sensitivity. The gracefulness continues with the albums closing “Vignette”. There is a desperate ache here; a sultry ache that comes from hours spent drinking alone in sleazy bars. Here really is the wonder of the music of Paul Edis, in that each piece is so utterly suggestive of mood and experience, and for many of us, that is the essence of why we seek out and engulf music.

Mention should also be made of the Alistair Graham cover caricature of Paul on the album cover. In an age when album artwork is a dying form, cheeky imagery such as this should be encouraged and congratulated.  The Paul Edis Sextet is visiting Leeds on September 28th for an afternoon show at Seven Jazz in Chapel Allerton, and I, for one, could think of no better way to while away a Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Autumn Winter Season in Leeds

The Season has started again! Here is the first of our listings in and around Leeds...
If you know of any other venues and clubs please let us know!
Jazz in Leeds (Seven Jazz) - Autumn/Winter Programme
Seven Jazz in Chapel Allerton Leeds have announced their Autumn/Winter programme which starts off with the Chapel Allerton Festival Jazz Sunday on 31 August in Regent Street and runs through to the Christmas Party at Inkwell on Sunday afternoon 21 December with the Nicola Farnon Trio
2014 marks the seventh anniversary of Seven Jazz – the club started on the 30 September 2007. Seven Jazz now run international fortnightly concerts on Thursdays at Seven Arts and weekly showcase events for local bands at both Seven Arts and Inkwell, along with two fortnightly jazz workshops for musicians and a jazz choir. Since 2007 Seven Jazz (which is run by volunteers) has run over 500 gigs. In 2015 will embark on yet another venture, the Leeds Jazz Festival

The Leeds International Jazz Concert series at Seven Arts includes appearances from the Nigel Price trio with Alex Garnett (our Seventh Anniversary party) on Thursday evening Oct 2nd, a rare appearance from one of the finest jazz pianists in the world, Enrico Pieranunzi with his trio on Thursday evening Oct 16, the first performance of Indo Jazz saxman Jesse Bannister’s new band “Play Out” that features pianist Zoe Rahman on Thursday evening Nov 6, a rare Leeds appearance by Julian Siegel /Phil Robson’s band “ on Partisans” on Thursday evening Nov 20th and finally the legendary Stan Sultzmann with his band “Neon” on Thursday evening 4 December.

The Sunday afternoon showcase gigs feature international rising stars too - the likes of saxman Dan Shout from South Africa, guitarist Steve Buckley with “Wagon Train” (Steve was the first musician to appear at Seven Jazz in 2007 so it is good to see him back), the legendary Leeds improv pianist Matt Bourne in a trio setting with Gary Jackson on bass and Sam Hobbs on drums, the “Eyes Shut Tight” Trio and Sam Gardner’s “Samadhi” featuring top Polish saxman Krzysztof Urbanski and Dutch based pianist Dominic J Marshall – also the last gigs Sam will do in Leeds before moving to London Details of all of the gigs can be found on the Seven Jazz website and are listed below. The evening international concert series start at 8.30pm, and the Sunday afternoon showcase gigs run between 1 and 4pm; ticket prices are detailed on the website; evening gigs are typically £16/14 concessions with a £5 standby ticket for full time students, Sunday lunchtime gigs are £7/5 concessions.

International Evening Jazz Concert Series at Seven Arts :
Thursday evening Oct 2 Nigel Price trio with Alex Garnett: 8.30pm @Seven Arts £16/14
Thursday evening Oct 16 Enrico Pieranunzi trio: 8.30pm @Seven Arts £16/14
Thursday evening Nov 6: Jesse Bannister’s “Play Out” – 8.30pm @Seven Arts £16/14
Thursday evening Nov 20 : “Partisans” 8.30pm @Seven Arts £16/14
Thursday evening Dec 4 : “Neon” Quartet 8.30pm @Seven Arts £16/14

Showcase Jazz gigs in Chapel Allerton
Thurs evening 4 Sept: Jazz Concert to launch the National Centre for Race Walking sports charity 8.30pm @Seven Arts £10/8
Jean Watson’s Jazz Collective, the JoeLuca Ensemble and Will Powell’s “Short Stories”: 

Sunday afternoon 14 Sept: Ros Lewis and friends – 1.30pm @Inkwell £7/5
Sunday afternoon 21 Sept: Dan Shout+Martin Longhawn trio –1.30pm Seven Arts £7/5
Sunday afternoon 28 Sept: Paul Edis Sextet -1.30pm @Seven Arts £7/5
Sunday afternoon 5 Oct: Matt Parkinson Quintet@Inkwell £7/5
Sunday afternoon 12 Oct: “The Jazz Worriers” 1.30pm @Seven Arts £7/5

Sunday afternoon 19 Oct: Steve Buckley’s 'The Wagon Train' -1.30pm @Inkwell £7/5
Sun afternoon 26 Oct: Matt Bourne, Gary Jackson, Sam Hobbs - 1.30pm @Seven Arts Sunday afternoon 2 Nov: Nicki Allan/Rod Mason quartet - 1.30pm @Inkwell £7/5
Sunday afternoon 9 Nov: “Eyes Shut Tight” - 1.30pm @Seven Arts £7/5
Sunday afternoon 16 Nov: Johnny Hunter quartet - 1.30pm @Inkwell £7/5
Sunday afternoon 23 Nov: Sam Gardner’s “Samadhi” - 1.30pm @Seven Arts £7/5
Sunday afternoon 30 Nov: Zoe Gilby Quartet - 1.30pm @Seven Arts £7/5
Sunday afternoon 7 Dec: Robin Porter Quartet - 1.30pm @Inkwell £7/5
Sunday afternoon 14 Dec: Autumn Jazz Café - 1.30pm @Seven Arts £7/5
Sunday afternoon 21 Dec: Nicola Farnon Trio - 1.30pm @Inkwell – our Xmas Party £7/5

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Chapel Allerton Festival

Text- Steve Crocker from Seven Jazz Leeds writes…

“This year the Chapel Allerton Festival in Leeds features the Leeds Youth Jazz Rock Orchestra, just back from a tour of South Africa, bassist Simon Read's new Octet with rising trumpet star Laura Jurd, Richard Ormrod’s seven piece ska tribute to John Coltrane  “A Dread Supreme”, trumpeter Enrico Marchesi’s brand new edition of his salsa band “Bourbon et Tequila” and the nine piece blues band led by guitarist Al Morrison- the  Blues Experience. All these dates are on Sunday 31 August - the music starts at 12.30pm and finishes at 5.30pm and costs only £3 in the famous festival buckets.

Elsewhere in the festival weekend there are appearances from The Abstract Hip Hop Orchestra (Friday evening 29 August 9pm) and Chunky Butt Funky (Saturday evening 30 August 9pm) plus Leeds jazz singer Tessa Smith directs the new Festival Community Choir on the Saturday afternoon main stage at3.15pm

Mark Beirne-Smith from Jazz Goes to Leeds writes....
This is a fabulous Jazz Festival which I have been to a couple of times, with some of the best local acts performing... It should be on everyone's calendar.

Below is a pic of Spear, from 3 years ago, who will be performing this year with A Dread Supreme.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Ilkley Summer Festival Jazz Day


This year Ilkley Summer festival are very excited to be hosting a JAZZ DAY on Monday August 25th (Bank holiday Monday) in The Studio on the Grove as part of their music weekend, where a large 200 seater marquee will be filled to the brim with exciting Jazz music and next year, with your support, it might just become a Jazz Festival…!

  There have been many requests for much more quality jazz in Ilkley over the last few years. Established Jazz artists such as Claire Teal, Claire Martin and many others have performed in Ilkley to deeply appreciative audiences and far from being stuck in the past, jazz is a constantly developing genre where artists past and present are continually working on new and vibrant projects. Yorkshire is very lucky to have an immense amount of jazz talent both established and emerging new faces.  The Jazz Day is a celebration of Yorkshire’s exceptional Jazz heritage.  It is also a bit of an experiment, as if this day proves to be a big success it could well turn into a fully fledged Jazz Festival next year. 

The day starts at 10.30 with a 2 hour Jazz Workshop, free of charge and open to all abilities, run by two exceptional Jazz musicians Adrian Knowles (double bass) and Ben Lowman (Tenor Saxophone).  

Ben Lowman’s Django Project opens the day’s music at 2 pm. This talented ensemble ‘specializes in playing Gypsy Jazz with a unique twist. They perform tightly arranged covers and originals in a French Gypsy Jazz style. The band have beautifully intertwined melodies with a steaming hot rhythm section, combining to create a rich, driving authentic sound! They are heavily influenced by artists such as Django Reinhardt, Martin Taylor and Birelli Lagrene and aim to bring the style out of the lime light around the UK.’  

At 4 pm Ilkley welcomes the New York Brass Band (NYBD) all the way from York! This exuberant and uber talented band have really been making a name for themselves over this last couple of years and play a mixture of Jazz Standards and pop classics in the New Orleans style of Jazz.  New York Brass Band are North Yorkshire’s only contemporary New Orleans inspired Brass Band. Hailing from the ancient streets of York the band are part of a funky brass revolution that is sweeping the UK. Inspired by Rebirth Brass Band, Soul Rebels, Hot 8, Youngblood and Brassroots, NYBB pack a powerful punch of relentless drums, rumbling tuba and wailing horns… nothing kicks a party into gear like the sound of this smokin’ New Orleans Mardi Gras Jazz Band, so put your dancing shoes on for this one!

To close the day at 7.30pm Beverley Beirne’s Stripey Animals headline the evening slot. Beverley Beirne is a jazz singer fast becoming known for her ability to innovate as for her stunning voice.  A truly gifted interpreter she sings a captivating mix of jazz standards and exciting interpretations from other genres.  She has sung at festivals around the country including Marsden Jazz Festival and Callander Jazz & Blues Festival.  Beverley is also due to be appearing at the prestigious Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho (August 18th) with Saxophone legend Duncan Lamont and acclaimed London singer Esther Bennett.  
For the Jazz Day, Beverley is excited to be performing her new project The Stripey Animals, with exceptional northern musicians Ben Lowman (Tenor Saxophone), Adrian Knowles (Double Bass) and Matt Parkinson (Drums, Congas, Percussion).  The band do not include chorded instruments, following the format of Gerry Mulligan and Ornette Coleman's earlier works, but with the inclusion of a vocalist.  Thoughtfully chosen songs from rock, pop and musical theatre are amongst jazz standards and some originals to create exciting, edge of your seat performances!  Something different!  


Website details:
For more information and current updates also check the face book page

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Big Easy – “The Big Easy” album review

Amongst a certain cohort of music aficionados there is an interest in a genre known as “electro swing”. Essentially this incorporates the rhythms and atmosphere of early swing giants and fuses them together with contemporary beats to produce, in many cases, an exhilarating and electrifying sound.  The Big Easy, from Leeds, have gone straight back to the early swing sound of Louis Armstrong and Louis Prima and given it a modern yet authentic make over. On this recording the band incorporates Jon Scully on trumpet and vocals, Troy Faid on guitar and vocals, Chris Lloyd on piano, Thomas Maddison on double bass and Laurence Marshall on drums. The mood from the very outset on “It’s the Rhythm in Me” is one of a group of musicians coming together, playing the music they love, and drawing the listener into their world with enthusiasm. Arguably the mood softens on such eternal jewels as “I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance”, but the overall mood is one of unbridled joy and love for the music. “St Louis Blues” is given a laid-back tango feel that helps to infuse new life into a well-known tune.
The production is tight and crisp and allows each player individual voices room to be heard. The soloing is virtuosic without appearing self indulgent, and augments rather than detracts from the melodies. Many could argue that the production is almost too sterile for the type of music that is showcased here, but that is irrelevant if the listener fully contextualises these pieces.  Nina Simone’s  “My Baby Just Cares for Me” is another tune that has been covered and reinterpreted in many ways on numerous occasions, but somehow The Big Easy have given it a prevailing flavour whilst remaining faithful to the original mood. Lovers of popular music who had their interest in swing music piqued by the recordings of Joe Jackson and the like, would be well advised to broaden their acquaintance with The Big Easy. In many ways, without the contemporary vocal, the passive listener would be hard pressed to date this recording at all.
Swing music has infiltrated many peoples lives, whether they like it or not, for many years in films, television and modern sampling techniques, so the music here should not be too unfamiliar to most. As advertised on their website, The Big Easy are available to play pubs, clubs, private parties and weddings. On hearing this release the listener can appreciate how the band can give any event a dose of infectious and enthusiastic playing which not only acknowledges their love of swing, but also brings it to a twenty first century audience in a setting that they can fully understand.  And with a live setlist that can incorporate the music of Dr John, Dusty Springfield, Van Morrison, The Beatles and Mae West, there is a realisation that the musicianship here does not end with swing, but encompasses influences satisfyingly far-reaching. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Preview René Marie – 23rd April 2014 Howard Assembly Rooms Leeds

For fans of vocal jazz this has to be a concert ‘not to be missed’, her recent album ‘I Wanna Be Evil (With Love to Eartha Kitt)’ is her 10th, and was selected #4 Top Jazz Vocal Release of 2013 by NPR critics poll

London Jazz News said ‘If this is what René Marie can do in a studio, the live experience will be quite unforgettable’ and the lucky people of Leeds can see her live in Leeds as one of only two UK dates this year at the Howard Assembly Rooms on 23rd April.

I have known about Rene Marie for a few years now as she features alongside the some of the best current American Jazz singers, in the US charts and internationally.  I have my tickets booked and hope to see you there.

The below is from her press release:

René shares more about her inspiration for the project.
‘Eartha Kitt is one of America’s strongest iconic figures. She was an inspiring artist, a strong woman and an essential activist in different ways. She was homeless when she first moved to New York City yet became a star. She was a sensual and powerful woman in a man’s world at a time when most women were in the background, not front and centre. She was a black actress in Hollywood at a time when most black actors were given subservient roles yet here she was – Catwoman.  She challenged President Johnson on the Vietnam War and paid a price for her outspokenness. She unabashedly shared her sensual self and her fierce self and was just herself – simply Eartha. That alone, I have learned, can be the most radical act, especially if you are a woman. As Eartha states in one of her famous ‘Kittisms’: The price you pay for being yourself is worth it.’

René too is unabashedly herself, winning many fans for her audaciousness but also receiving strong criticism.  Her well-known medley of “Strange Fruit” and “Dixie” wowed many but also stirred the pot on America’s history of slavery and Southern race relations. Her choice to sing the black national anthem, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” (set to the melody of the “Star Spangled Banner”) when the Mayor of Denver John Hickenlooper asked René – one of Denver’s high profile resident artists at the time – to open the State of the City address in 2008 spurred a significant backlash, right wing criticism and even death threats.

Yet René stood strong. Her daring makes her one of America’s most interesting and compelling artists. So do her influences. Her style incorporates a distinctly American mélange of jazz, soul, blues, folk and gospel and an innate theatrical ability to interpret a song deeply and live its truth. An actress as well as a vocalist, René starred Off-Broadway in New York City October 12-13 and 18 and 20, 2013, as part of the All for One Theatre Festival at the Cherry Lane Theatre in a one-woman play she wrote. In typical fashion, she raised eyebrows just with the title itself – “Slut Energy Theory – U’Dean.” The meaning becomes clear and intensely significant as the audience – and critics alike – find themselves transformed by her play about U’Dean, a woman on a painful yet sometimes funny journey from sexual abuse to self-esteem.

René also is a woman of great strength and humour who walked a similar journey. Married at 18, a mother of two by 23 and a Jehovah’s Witness, she only occasionally sang. When her husband of 23 years issued an ultimatum to stop singing or leave, she chose music over the turbulent marriage and self-released her debut Renaissance in 1998 and toured as Ella Fitzgerald in a regional play. She began experiencing a whirlwind of success rarely seen in the jazz world, winning over critics; receiving awards such as the Best International Jazz Vocal CD (besting Cassandra Wilson and Joni Mitchell) by France’s Academie Du Jazz; gracing the Billboard charts multiple times; and becoming a headliner at major international festivals. A gifted songwriter, her previous Motéma release, Black Lace Freudian Slip, features blues-heavy originals. Her label debut, Voice of My Beautiful Country, is an ambitious celebration of Americana and a striking display of her incredible ability to forge connections between songs most would never think to merge.

For René Marie, success means shining attention on important issues in America and on bold artists like Eartha Kitt who helped change America’s landscape for the better. René has become one of those bold artists. It’s hard to believe it all started after she turned 40.

For Tickets

For More about René Marie

Or Check her You Tube channel: