Jon Shenoy’s Draw by Four – 28 September 2018

Jon Shenoy: Draw by Four - 28 September 2018

The trouble, you see, is that “Jon Shenoy” is not a well known name. Jon’s Draw by Four band came and gave us a delightful evening of straight ahead jazz in which the blues influence was clearly heard throughout, and the far too small audience had a great time. Some were even moved to get up and dance!

Jon Shenoy played tenor and soprano saxes. Will Bartlett played the excellent Viscount Legend organ that sounded just about like a B3. Guitarist Sam Dunn had mastery of plectrum and classical technique. David Ingamells, depping on drums, delighted us last week with Kate Williams, and again in a different context last night. The music was partly Jon’s, partly standards, in a nicely balanced programme. The balance was interesting as many of the songs were chosen on the fly.

Jon has an engaging connection to the audience. He doesn’t rabbit on, but gives us the information we need for each song. He is very generous, providing lots of blowing room for the band. I liked all of his own tunes, and loved some of them: he is a fine composer and an excellent arranger. I liked the way he wrote for duos between most combinations of the band.

And a very good player. He wrote “A Salinas Song” for his daughter Salina. The song is in 3/4. Jon had a stunning solo and a great set of 4s with Sam, on tenor for this song. “Whiskey and Rye” (two spirits in the same song?) was another great tune with a fine solo on the soprano.

Will Bartlett is a considerable organist. He was featured on Leon Carr’s “Marriage is for Old Folks”. The intro and solos were special. Will had a lovely intro on Jon’s “Three for Tea”. His playing throughout was superb. In the opening song of the evening, the organ sound hits you and sets the tone for the whole show.

Sam Dunn stood quietly at the back of the stage, but played his ass off (as Peter King would say). His duo with Jon’s soprano on Jon’s “Sickert Tales”, sometimes doubling, sometimes counterpoint, I loved his solo on Arthur Schwartz’s “You and the Night and the Music”.

It was great to see David Ingamells back so soon. He is one hell of a drummer, big ears, great skill. Lots of great solos, In Jon’s “Pedal Power” he had an extended intro that put me in mind of Evelyn Glennie’s solos on snare. His playing behind Sam’s fuzzed guitar on Jon’s “Night Trip” was just great (as was Sam’s solo).

We wish Carole a quick recovery from her broken ankle, so she and Mike can be back with us at gigs.

Next week, the master saxophonist Paul Booth will be with us.
We have Paul on saxophone, Steve Hamilton piano, Dave Whitford bass, Andrew Bain drums. Ronnie Scott has likened saxophonist Paul’s style to that of the late Tubby Hayes – and John Fordham to the lyricism of Stan Getz and John Coltrane. A gig not to be missed.

Take care,

Dave

Kate Williams Quartet – 21 September 2018

Kate Williams Quartet - 21 September 2018

When musicians of quality arrive at the club with the intension of having fun, it is pretty well guaranteed that we will have fun too. And when the evening includes the nuance and thoughtfulness of Kate Williams and the power of Stan Sulzmann, we get a really great gig.

The band was Kate Williams on piano, Stan Sulzmann on tenor, Oli Hayhurst on bass and David Ingamells on drums.

Jazz musicians have that listening thing and care for one another: this habit was taken to its limits from the time the band arrived for the sound check through to the encore. After the hellos and hugs, they had a gentle discussion of what they should play, and how they should play each piece. The music itself was the medium for discussion as they played. It was wonderful to be a part of it.

David had not been with us since 2016. He came with the Philip Clout band and impressed us then. He plays the room beautifully, making mixing really easy. His accompanying is top drawer. He had excellent solos on the penultimate number, “Too Young To … (for heaven’s sake, Dave take better notes)” and Johnny Green’s “Out of Nowhere”, the latter all on toms. Lovely to see David back at the club.

Oli is a frequent and very welcome visitor. His solo on Jobim’s “Portrait in Black and White” was full of Latin emotion, partially due to the use of some beautiful extended double stopping. The same technique made his solo in Gershwin’s ” My Man’s Gone Now” very special.

Stan is a true powerhouse who is capable of great subtlety as well. His intro Arthur Shwartz’s “Alone Together” was breathtaking. All his solos were great, but on Kern’s “Nobody Else But Me” he really caught the ear.

You don’t get spectacular stuff from Kate. You get power where it is needed, and a big dynamic range. But mostly, you get beautifully imagined nuance and subtlety. The range of emotions she gave us on the Jobim was memorable. Her solo on Guy Wood’s “My One and Only Love” was lovely, as was the playing of the whole band.

I don’t know why they were surprised that the audience demanded an encore, but they though a bit, and decided on “Blue Monk”, and sent us home very happy.

Next week, someone new to Fleece Jazz. A young man who loves bebop named Jon Shenoy will be playing tenor and clarinet, with Will Bartlett organ, Sam Dunn guitar and Chris Draper drums. Press comments include “A total master of all his instruments …Shenoy can hardly contain the force of his own inventiveness. – Pete Long (MD. Ronnie Scotts Big Band).
“A unique multi-instrumentalist, he plays with sophistication, heart and soul and is equally eloquent on each1 – Claire Martin OBE
Another new name rocks the Brirish Jazz scene. Don’t miss this one.

Take care,
Dave

A good jazz deal if ever there was one (or two).

If you become a Friend of Fleece Jazz, your yearly subscription will give you a £4 discount on every gig you attend, and a bonus free gig after your Friends card has been fully stamped. Pretty good for £45, eh? Just see Peter on the megastore at gigs.

If you live a bit of a distance away, there is a special hotel deal. A double occupancy room, breakfast, and, oh yes, two jazz tickets, all for £109 is a pretty good deal. This is subject to availability. Call the hotel on 01206 262836.

Sarah Jane Morris and Antonio Forcione – 14 September 2018

Sarah Jane Morris and Antonio Forcione - 14 September 2018

We were very late getting into our rooms for this gig, so Samuel and I worked our butts off solidly until the audience started to come in. The sound check ended at 7:29:30. There was just enough time before the gig to eat and to finish some details, and then Sarah Jane Morris and Antonio Forcione came on to stage to totally take over our consciousness. It was half way through the second set that I realized that I wasn’t taking notes…

The first thing one was conscious of was the sheer power and emotion of Sarah’s presentation. The second thing was Antonio’s mastery of just about every guitar technique that there is. And then the third thing. The two of them are of one mind on stage, a perfect partnership.

They gave us a few covers, and quite a few with Sarah’s lyrics with Antonio writing the music to the poems. Some of them were from their new album, “Compared to What”. The title song featured in the second set. It was written by Gene McDaniels, but I remember and loved it as it was performed by Mose Allison. The two of them made it their own with amazing power and understanding of the tough lyric. It was recorded in 1969 by Roberta Flack, but it is unfortunately just as relevant today.

Sarah sings songs for which the words are the key. She delivers with range and power, often sprechgesang in style, always powerful.

Antonio gave us some solo pieces. The one that sticks in my mind is his “Alhambra”. I had heard him play it before at the club, and it had almost literally taken me back to my visit to Granada. So I thought it would be interesting to listen to it again. Three bars later and I was walking by the water pools in the Spanish sun. On a lighter note, (sorry), Antonio is a very good backing singer.

No, the evening was not one of total gloom and seriousness. There was lots of joy and fun in it. My abiding memory (and there will be one) will be the two working as one.

On Friday, a piano/sax quartet to die for. Kate Williams on piano brings the amazing Stan Sulzmann on saxes, Oli Hayhurst on bass and David Ingamells on drums.
“…crisp, incisive and totally at one with the rhythmic ebb and flow.” – “Williams has a quality rare among jazz composers: a musical vocabulary that’s all her own” The Observer *****