Beginning with the Scott Hamilton Quartet's At Pizza Express Live in London, PX is a new Pizza Express record label to issue recordings drawn from their creation in the restaurant chain's live London music venues Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho, Pizza Express Live in Holborn and The Pheasantry in Chelsea. The idea is to release albums from both new artists and established acts spanning jazz and soul plus vintage releases from the venues' archives.
Long time popular draw at the Soho club US tenor saxophone eminence Scott Hamilton is joined for this upcoming release by his revered longstanding UK band of pianist John Pearce, double bassist Dave Green and drummer Steve Brown who have been playing together for two decades.
Hamilton's history with the Dean Street club goes back even further because he has been playing Pizza Express for 40 years - the majority of the basement club's lifetime. The club opened in 1975 and in the 1990s expanded in size.
Ross Dines, above in the club office: photo marlbank, speaking to us on the phone, explained that the label will release ''a few'' recordings each year. The span will be ''diverse but not too eclectic''. A long-time music manager for the chain, Dines, a sound engineer by training, will be A&Ring, Tim Debney of Fluid Mastering is doing the mastering when needed. ''Some acts will have done the mastering themselves,'' Ross explains. And the formats that PX will issue under are streaming/download, CD and vinyl. The music from the releases, he says, will then be played over the PA at the chain's 400 restaurants. Physical distribution is by the Kent based Proper while Absolute Label Services will take care of digital and Music Glue ecommerce.
Liner notes for the initial release are by the music team's Joseph Paice while Ross defers to saxophone icon of the UK scene Dave O'Higgins for ''sound advice, great ears and understanding'' and explains how he has visited Dave and Dave's wife - the saxophone playing forensic pathologist Judith - in their studio ''geeking out'' over different mics. Ross had pitched the idea of PX to the chain's board dwelling on the ''exciting value proposition'' of the venture who then greenlighted the project.
The cover of the Scott Hamilton Quartet's At Pizza Express Live in London (above) - detail from the cover art, top. Scott Hamilton returns to The Pizza Express Jazz Club in London for a 5-10 April residency. Click for details
MORE READING AND LISTENING:
- Dean Street Nights - 2014 album review