Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Sultan Stevenson trio, East Side Jazz Club, Leytonstone ****

Playing a warmly heated upstairs room home to the weekly East Side Jazz Club - ''east London's premier jazz club'' is the slogan emblazoned on the club's banner livery - punters sit at waist high tables, vinyl spins before the gig, musicians play …

Published: 7 Dec 2022. Updated: 18 months.

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Playing a warmly heated upstairs room home to the weekly East Side Jazz Club - ''east London's premier jazz club'' is the slogan emblazoned on the club's banner livery - punters sit at waist high tables, vinyl spins before the gig, musicians play without any main overhead stage lighting and indeed in the second set it was practically darkness on stage apart from the twinkling of a few tiny reading lights that you could just about pick out by the bassist's feet. A first visit to this Leytonstone spot for the piano trio of Sultan Stevenson here taking to the club's very well tuned Yamaha upright with double bassist Jacob Gryn familiar from the last time marlbank caught the trio and a new drummer to us anyway in Joel Waters. The ex-servicemen's club room has a fairly low ceiling and the acoustics are pretty good with a well set up sound projection for tonight, the piano amplified by two microphones. Gryn's walking bass and ability to go into a double time feel at ease was striking early on while Stevenson who is a fine highly melodic writer who knows how to cater for a riff-groove alchemy spread around the trio was on sparkling form - his customised McCoy Tyner-like approach allied with varied material convincing from the get-go. First set tunes included 'Guilty by Association' and the sprawling 'Free' probably best of all and where the impressive Waters came into his own at the beginning.

On 'Safe Passage' which was out as a single with a horn section in 2020 there was easy rapport among the trio members and plenty of organic flow.

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After the raffle - one lucky gig-goer won a bottle of wine - Stevenson unveiled new material in the second set, a five-part suite, spreading out sheet music all around his piano while Gryn lined up his charts on the floor to the side in front of him. Sultan told us that he has a new album coming out on 24 March which features Denys Baptiste and that certainly is an exciting prospect. Wearing not one but two bucket hats towards the end he told us jokingly ''I just realised that I was wearing two hats all evening'' before removing one of the matching pair. ''Careful how you say that,'' quipped a heckler. A fine evening - the pianist just gets better and better. Review and photos: Stephen Graham

The entrance to the Leytonstone Ex-Servicemen's Club, the Social, home to the East Side Jazz Club located on Harvey Road, London E11, above. Joel Waters, top left, Jacob Gryn, Sultan Stevenson

FURTHER READING:

Pigfoot play East Side on 20 December

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Orphy Robinson, Matthew Bourne and Jake McMurchie to play the Bath Jazz Weekend

In the first significant UK jazz festival of 2023 Nod Knowles' Bath Jazz Weekend to be held once again at the Widcombe Social Club in the city returns in January. Last year's running was agonisingly aborted at the last minute given Covid …

Published: 6 Dec 2022. Updated: 18 months.

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In the first significant UK jazz festival of 2023 Nod Knowles' Bath Jazz Weekend to be held once again at the Widcombe Social Club in the city returns in January. Last year's running was agonisingly aborted at the last minute given Covid uncertainty at the time so these upcoming Capricornian days are all the sweeter picking up the thread again and keeping the faith given what had been planned. Topping the 2023 bill in a very strong free-jazz and improvised music flavoured curation is Dalston, east London, free form vibes legend Orphy Robinson MBE (Jazz Warriors, Courtney Pine classic Journey to the Urge Within, Blue Note rarity The Vibes Describes, Black Top, Malik and the O. G.'s). Orphy plays a Saturday solo set.

Significant too in the programming is the presence of the great free improviser, out of the Leeds scene, pianist Matthew Bourne. The Annette Peacock influenced player's Désinances was a masterpiece last year up there with 2012's career high water mark, Montauk Variations.

Michelson Morley saxophonist Jake McMurchie renowned for his work with maverick Bristolians Get the Blessing is heading to Bath with his quartet. Pianist Robert Mitchell's True Think, pianist Andrew McCormack, the Coltrane and Albert Ayler soaked Paul Dunmall quintet, Westbrookian accordionist Karen Street, violinist Theo May's Odd Unit and Rebecca Nash's Redefining Element 78 are also fine bookings. Pianist-composer Nash's Redefining Element 78 from which 'Osmium' is drawn is released by Michael Janisch's Whirlwind label on Friday.

FURTHER READING:

Orphy Robinson photo: Bath Jazz Weekend. Dates are 6-8 January. Festival website