Tag Archives: Tom Finlay

Edinburgh Jazz Festival 2012 in Videos: Classic Jazz Orchestra

To read my review of this concert, click here

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The Forecast for October

October is set to be a very good month, jazz-wise, with outbreaks of world-class music and mirth up and down the country thanks to a short British tour by US clarinettist and saxophonist Ken Peplowski.

The main opportunity to hear him will be at the fifth Lockerbie Jazz Festival (www.lockerbiejazz.com) where he co-leads a septet with fellow clarinettist, saxophonist and raconteur extraordinaire Alan Barnes on Saturday 2nd. This all-star line-up (which also features the wonderful trombonist Roy Williams) will be playing an all-Ellington programme. If their Thelonious Monk-themed concert of two years ago is anything to go by, this will be a real treat.

Peplowski and Barnes lock horns again on Sunday 3rd, for a more informal afternoon concert. Other likely highlights of the Lockerbie weekend include Carol Kidd’s show, Alan Barnes’s gig with Jim Mullen’s Organ Trio and a gig by the Scottish trad band The Batchelors of Jazz.

And to celebrate the festival’s fifth birthday, there will be a special event on Saturday 2nd – an all-day extravaganza entitled Take Five, featuring a continuous stream of jazz (23 concerts; 100 performers) on five different stages in the centre of town – for Β£5. More details on the website listed above.

Other dates in the Peplowski itinerary include:

OCTOBER 1st: The Classroom, Nairn, in the morning & The Newton Hotel, Nairn, in the evening, both duo gigs with pianist Tom Finlay. For more info or tickets, contact Ken Ramage on 07968 495350.

OCTOBER 5th: Pizza Express, Dean Street, London (0845 027017), 8.30pm. Peplowski joins forces with the excellent baritone and tenor saxophonist Karen Sharpe, plus stellar rhythm section of John Pearce (piano), Dave Green (bass) & Steve Brown (drums) for one night only!

OCTOBER 7th: Smalls, Caxton Arms, 36 North Gardens, Brighton (01273 725866), 8pm. With Mark Edwards (piano), Steve Thompson (bass) & Piers Clark (drums).

OCTOBER 8th: Hanley Castle High School, Church End, Hanley Castle, Upton-Upon-Severn (01684 593794). With John Pearce, Dave Green & Steve Brown.

OCTOBER 10th: Jazz Matters at The Stables, Stockwell Lane, Wavendon, Milton Keynes (01908 280800), 11.30am. Ken talks about his Desert Island Discs.

OCTOBER 10th: Jazz Caravan, St Andrews Hall, St Andrews Road, Chesterton, Cambridge (01223 293068), 8.30pm. With John Pearce, Dave Green & Bobby Worth.

OCTOBER 11th: New Woking Jazz Circle, All Saints, Woodham Lane, Horsell, Woking (01932 406242). With Alan Barnes, John Pearce, Dave Green & Steve Brown.

OCTOBER 13th: Concorde Club, Stoneham Lane, Eastleigh (0238 061 3989), 9pm. With Alan Barnes, John Pearce, Dave Green & Steve Brown.

OCTOBER 14th: Harri’s Jazz, Bagster House, Walton Lane, Shepperton (01784 435396), 8.30pm. With John Pearce, Dave Green & Steve Brown.

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Edinburgh Jazz Festival: The Piano in Jazz

The Piano in Jazz, The Hub, Edinburgh
****
The days of the old Pianorama concert (in which most of the pianists in residence at the jazz festival would each play a 20-minute set, one after the other) may be gone, but the Piano in Jazz gig on Friday afternoon was the next best thing. As with Pianorama, it offered an eclectic mix of pianists – two very contemporary and one mainstream – but unlike the earlier format, they didn’t all play solo.
First up was the hot young London pianist Zoe Rahmann who didn’t chat, but let the piano do the talking, playing continuously throughout her allocated 30 minutes. Rahmann let one piece flow seamlessly into the next, and revealed a graceful, elegant style in the process. She ended with a masterful interpretation of the beautiful Ellington number Single Petal of a Rose before handing the stage over to American pianist David Berkman who was featured in a duo setting, with Scottish alto star Laura Macdonald.
Their wide-ranging programme highlighted their rapport and the pleasure they get from playing together. Highlights included the mesmerizing Ornette Coleman number Voice Poetry and and energetic take on John Coltrane’s Giant Steps which gave Macdonald especially something of a work-out both musically and physically.
The inclusion of local pianist Tom Finlay provided a contrast since his trio set had more appeal to the swing-oriented jazz fan. Accompanied by Americans Eric Harper (bass) and Ed Metz Jr (drums), Finlay dished up a hugely enjoyable and varied set including such gems as the jaunty Delaunay’s Dilemma and an eloquent What’s New which made great use of Metz’s classy drumming.

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Edinburgh Jazz Festival: Festival of Swing

FESTIVAL OF SWING, QUEEN’S HALL
*****

It may be 83 years old, but the beautiful old tune Creole Love Call is certainly getting a work-out at this year’s Edinburgh Jazz Festival. And not only that; she’s the belle of the ball. On Tuesday, for the second consecutive night, Duke Ellington’s gorgeously smoochy ballad inspired some magical playing, this time an exquisite clarinet duet by Bob Wilber and Alan Barnes, with Howard Alden’s guitar evoking the famous growls on the original recording, and Ed Metz Jr adding a dash of the oriental with his cymbals.
Actually, it was one of many highlights of a concert which could easily have turned out to be an all-star shambles as there was no Dick Hyman this year to coral the participants (who also included saxophonists Scott Hamilton and Joe Temperley, trumpeter Duke Heitger, bassist Eric Harper and pianist Tom Finlay) into an orderly ensemble. However, what it did have was the equally senior Bob Wilber as leader, and it worked a treat.
The first set was entirely composed of Ellington and Ellingtonian numbers and what was especially pleasing was the fact that we weren’t short-changed on the full, nine-man band front: often at these all-star gigs, there are a couple of crowd-pleasing numbers by le tout ensemble at the start and thereafter it’s a series of individual soloists playing with the rhythm section.
On Tuesday, although smaller bands emerged within the bigger band, there was plenty of tout ensemble action – on such knock-out numbers as hard-swinging The Jeep is Jumpin’ and a laidback Squeeze Me, and, in the second half, on a sensational All of Me and a thrilling Hindustan, one of several tunes which stirred memories of Wilber’s great Soprano Summit band.

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