Sunday, 28 December 2014

Jez Mathews best gigs of 2014

Blue Eyed Hawk

It's getting near to the 2014 year end so it's "LIST TIME"! I asked around the independent Northern Jazz promoters for their most memorable gigs of the year - not only their own but anything in the North that had been a special occasion. They will be put up on the blog in the next couple of days (so send yours in...). I asked for three but Jez Mathews who promotes jazz at the Lescar in Sheffield writes...

"Errr…. Can I have six? I couldn’t choose, although I have put two of them together….. Sorry, a slight bias towards piano trios!

Enrico Pieranunzi at The Crucible/Sheffield Jazz and Michael Wollny Trio at Sheffield Jazz - two phenomenal pianists from Europe, one a legend, one a rising international star with one of the year’s best albums, with their trios - in contrasting settings, the intimacy of the Crucible Studio and the club atmosphere of the Millennium Hall. Both weaving magic for spellbound audiences.

Gogo Penguin at The Lescar Sheffield; a band on the crest of national acclaim, and Mercury Music Prize nominees, completely rammed the Lescar, and then some, and had turned the venue into a mini-rave by the time they tore into ‘Garden Dog Barbecue’ from their brilliant album ‘V2.0’.

Elliot Galvin Trio at Lancaster Jazz Festival, surely a future major star with a great young trio; music played with passion, wit and technical bravado, respectful of tradition, yet exploring new sounds and approaches. Wonderful stuff.

Hannah Brady and Pete Lyons, and Laura Cole, Seth Bennett, Pete Fairclough Trio, double bill at The Lescar Sheffield. Five musicians with strong connections to Sheffield, and a wonderful audience; demonstrating the breadth of possibility in a jazz gig; from Bach Two Part Inventions arranged for a sax duet, to a contemporary piano/bass/drums trio comprising three equal and eloquent voices, music full of space and improvisational verve.

Dave Kane/Seth Bennett and Blue Eyed Hawk at Fusebox Leeds; another double bill - the masterful double bass duo of Dave Kane and Seth Bennett in a fascinating low frequency conversation, full of twists, turns, moments of calm, and occasional shared jokes. Followed by one of the UK’s best new groups, featuring rising star Laura Jurd on trumpet, and the completely original vocals of Lauren Kinsella. Their ‘Aurora 5am’ is one of my favourite tunes this year.

Happy New Year!

Cheers, Jez."

More tomorrow!!

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