Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis featuring Wayne Shorter, Barbican, London

From February 2016. The first night of the latest Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra residency, this was a very special occasion because to find Wayne Shorter on a stage together anywhere with Wynton Marsalis is not an every day event by any means. …

Published: 16 Nov 2019. Updated: 19 months.

From February 2016. The first night of the latest Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra residency, this was a very special occasion because to find Wayne Shorter on a stage together anywhere with Wynton Marsalis is not an every day event by any means.

Skain was sat by drummer Ali Jackson at the back in his customary place within the trumpet section, Wayne of course sat up front near the piano, the saxophonists in the orchestra you could tell slightly in awe and admiration in a line fanning out beside him.

The 82-year-old Miles Davis and Weather Report giant of jazz played on most pieces, the evening filled with his many classic compositions, and there was a certain democracy in the arranging of his music as quite a number of the 15-piece orchestra – Victor Goines, Walter Blanding, Ted Nash, Vincent Gardner, Marcus Printup, Chris Crenshaw, Carlos Henriquez, Ali Jackson, Sherman Irby and Wynton himself – contributed to the shape and style in their input.

The second set opened with ‘E. S. P.,’ probably the pick of the whole evening, in terms of ensemble rapport speaking of which there’s a lightness of touch in all sections, power only when needed and such swift response to tempo and volume, the texture like silk or sable, the switches from saxes through trombones, reeds and flute skimming across the air to the rhythm section all part of a pulsing flicker and shimmer. The main rhythmic pull and push was left to Henriquez, whose arrangement of ‘The Three Marias’ let the music breathe and murmur.

Wynton name-checked Wayne very respectfully many times, sometimes referring to him by his first and last name, sometimes “Mr Shorter” and the Newark-born great, switching from tenor which he began the concert with on ‘Yes or No’ from JuJu to soprano for large chunks of the concert the tenor coming back sometimes. His soprano playing was just beautiful at times, containing that oblique sense of mystery and musical alchemy that for decades he has conjured so uniquely, the beauty in his interpreting even the most naked of notes so striking and unforgettable.

Stephen Graham

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Tomorrow's Warriors Rich Mix jam, London

From February 2016. At Rich Mix in Shoreditch on the Bethnal Green Road, the new Tomorrow’s Warriors jam began with a quartet on the bandstand, the sound of Jackie McLean, as interpreted by four fine young new players who have been nurtured over the …

Published: 16 Nov 2019. Updated: 19 months.

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From February 2016. At Rich Mix in Shoreditch on the Bethnal Green Road, the new Tomorrow’s Warriors jam began with a quartet on the bandstand, the sound of Jackie McLean, as interpreted by four fine young new players who have been nurtured over the years by the Harrow-based artist development and jazz education-centred organisation, ringing out.

In it the very naturally gifted pianist Charlie Stacey, a 20-year-old Old Etonian former student of philosophy at Princeton, part of the Tomorrow’s Warriors family since long before his teens, growing up on the bandstand, and sounding, even looking, a little inescapably like a young Jarrett say circa Life Between The Exit Signs.

On alto saxophone was Cassie Kinoshi from the all-female band Nérija who made me think of Tia Fuller a bit – the young Londoner’s style, like the Beyoncé saxophonist, speaks to you, not as out there in terms of timbre, but just as communicative and bop-conversant: the tone tender and warm, a confidence in her stage presence that is converted into performance.

On double bass was Rio Kai, tall and lean with dreads down to his waist, coming from a bass guitar background, getting his ear in well on standup bass by a couple of numbers in.

And completing the quartet, who impressed as a group most of all rhythmically on George Adams’ ‘City Gates,’ a piece the 1980s Adams/Pullen quartet used to play, was Patrick Boyle on drums sounding a bit like Eric Ford of Streatham jam-grounded band Partikel.

The quartet kicked things off with a couple of Jackie McLean numbers: one of these, ‘Melody for Melonae,’ from Let Freedom Ring, was the pick in terms of directness and shape.

Jammers joining after a couple of short sets included Journey to The Urge Within bassist and Tomorrow’s Warriors artistic director Gary Crosby, tweaking the sound down after a quick word with the desk and briefly discussing an F pedal point on ‘Donna Lee’ with a very young ridiculously talented guitarist Tjoe Man Cheung who came on with him, later joined by a couple of saxophonists. There was still plenty of light left outside on a warm drizzly day as a red bus swished by glimpsed in the stageside reflection… and the music played on.