Missed most completely during the Pandemic is Soho spot the Pizza Express Jazz Club. We thought that the Dean Street shrine was coming back in the autumn but it's currently in hibernation until the spring.
The first time that I went to the club was around 1989, it was an even smaller spot then. I went with a couple of Scouser mates who were up like me for hearing Harry ''Sweets'' Edison (1915-1999). I had heard of Sweets before a bit but this was a deep learning experience in prospect I guessed beforehand but might prove craic too. It did, certainly a toddy for the body. How he finished the set and walked to the bar for his break playing and sing saying the song that he wrote with Jon Hendricks 'Centerpiece' blew me completely away mainly because what he just did was as natural as breathing and swung til the cows might even begin to first contemplate coming home.
So long before the Pizza, which got to be a bigger place space wise in the 1990s, re-opens, it's good to listen to a record to be released tomorrow on Michael Janisch's Whirlwind label that was warmly sound engineered in the club two years ago by Luc Saint-Martin, the peerless in-house sound engineer of the basement spot over many recent years.
I liked 'Search Me' drawn from Live at London Jazz Festival: Road Tales and there are more pre-release tracks available just as good. As previously mentioned on the album John O'Gallagher is a Webern expert, his sound always has a bluesy ache to it and a thrusting energy.
Leader Jeff Williams, a legend, Konitzian, and is always worth listening to live and on record. Josh Arcoleo was on Andrew McCormack's Graviton last year and was mentored in his early playing career by Pee Wee Ellis. Lasserson is well known for his work with Ethan Iverson and was on Loredana that came out on Babel last year.
The more I'm with you pretty baby
The more I feel my love increase
I'm building all my dreams around you
My happiness will never cease
But nothing's any good without you
Cause baby you're my centerpiece
Places like the Ross Dines-run Pizza are carbohydrates, you, the night and the music and much more. From Charli Persip (RIP) on that 1958 record Sweetenings with Sweets when you think of the trumpeter's taste in sticksmen, to Jeff Williams in the club more recently just a couple of years ago all of the above, Soho is not remotely the same. And don't we all rue the loss during these pallid online-only London Jazz Festival days. SG