Hipster knees-up and avant detunery at Oto coming up from Fairhall & Hunter and Courvoisier & Halvorson

Cafe Oto in east London's Dalston district has pulled together a very imaginative programme of gigs for early-2022 on the avant side. In addition to regular names who play the club month in month out gigs that catch our interest include Adam …

Published: 13 Dec 2021. Updated: 8 months.

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Cafe Oto in east London's Dalston district has pulled together a very imaginative programme of gigs for early-2022 on the avant side. In addition to regular names who play the club month in month out gigs that catch our interest include Adam Fairhall and Johnny Hunter's Winifred Atwell Revisited on 9 January. Pianist Atwell (1914-83) was a huge recording star in the 1950s but now is largely erased from collective memory whose music brought together aspects of the honky tonk piano craze sweeping America with the music hall and pub piano traditions of Britain. 'Black and White Rag' by George Botsford is on Fairhall and Hunter's accompanying release a piece that Atwell recorded for a B side in 1952 and remarkably became a million seller becoming very familiar as the TV snooker programme Pot Black theme tune. Also included is 'Roll Out the Barrel' (also known as 'Beer Barrel Polka') written in the 1920s, Atwell recording the singalong as part of a medley that went into the top 10 of the pop charts in 1956.

After this hipster knees-up of a fling highlights in February include the visit of piano-guitar duo Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson whose recent album Searching For The Disappeared Hour is extraordinary. Halvorson's signature detunery and aching bluesy sense is hard set against the strict avant garde atonal empathy of Sylvie Courvoisier recording in a Mount Vernon, New York studio. These two formidable improvisers match and fuse as oblique lines intertwine and the duo discover new shared spaces to explore and then inhabit. They play Oto on 7 February.

Mary Halvorson, top left, and Sylvie Courvoisier

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Ilmiliekki Quartet, 'Aila,' (single) WeJazz ****

The latest pre-release track 'Aila' from the upcoming Ilmiliekki Quartet is marlbank's track of the week for 13-19 December. It's always an event when a European group of this magnitude and reputation releases an album and both this track and the …

Published: 13 Dec 2021. Updated: 8 months.

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The latest pre-release track 'Aila' from the upcoming Ilmiliekki Quartet is marlbank's track of the week for 13-19 December. It's always an event when a European group of this magnitude and reputation releases an album and both this track and the earlier 'Follow the Damn Breadcrumbs' transport us to their best work 2003's March of the Alpha Males.

Since then both the Finnish band's world class trumpeter Verneri Pohjola and drummer Olavi Louhivuori have established meaningful names for themselves internationally but it's when they play together under this group banner with pianist Tuomo Prättälä and bassist Antti Lötjönen that they are most in their element and soar to another level.

On 'Aila' which emotionally pushes heightened raw, tragic, dramatic buttons there is an epic majesty to their playing and Pohjola in his stark and extraordinary refurbishment of the Finnish pop band Karina's song finds a place a world away from the eerie atmosphere conjured creepily in the original. The IQ test result here achieves veritable Mensa proportions of engagement in the reconstruction and delivery of the song. Ilmiliekki Quartet itself is released on the WeJazz Records label on 11 February.

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