Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

The Euro jazz club scene: top 10 gigs

1 Anna Maria Jopek Jassmine, Warsaw. Tonight. Singer Anna Maria Jopek - whose work with Pat Metheny on Upojenie ('Ecstasy') [Warner Jazz Poland, 2002] was a Polish language and to us Eurojazz vocals jazz classic of the noughties - has already sold …

Published: 13 Jun 2024. Updated: 36 days.

1 Anna Maria Jopek Jassmine, Warsaw. Tonight.
Singer Anna Maria Jopek - whose work with Pat Metheny on Upojenie ('Ecstasy') [Warner Jazz Poland, 2002] was a Polish language and to us Eurojazz vocals jazz classic of the noughties - has already sold out this superbly curated Warsaw club whose programming this year reflects state of the art international jazz up close and personal ridiculously well.

2 Pablo Held trio feat. Melissa Aldana Unterfahrt, Munich. Tonight.

3 Liv Monaghan Sunset, Paris. Tonight.

Very stylish, credible, Irish singer Liv Monaghan's First Light is new on the Alto Figaro label. Monaghan's sound compares liltingly with the great Christine Tobin and is worth gravitating to if hitherto unfamiliar with the Paris based chanteuse.

GIG OF THE WEEK

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Derek ''Harry Shearer'' Smalls' missus on cracking form - Judith Owen, above. Enjoy the new direction in New Orleans based Welshwoman Judith's own jazz odyssey. Photographer: unknown

Oh, please have some pity

I'm all alone in this big city

I tell you I'm just a lonesome babe in the wood

So lady be good to me

— George and Ira Gershwin, 'Lady Be Good'

4 Judith Owen Blue Note, Milan. Tomorrow night.

Powerful singer Judith Owen's tremendous new tradtastic live album Comes Alive is a must. Note the pantomime season hasn't come early but jazz vocals delivered with a twinkle, panache and a wry wink steam in right on time. Nailing the jump jive feel of 'Caldonia' just another gem to zone in on as the band respond terrifically - ffs it's the great Carmen Lundy drummer Jamison Ross doncha know at the kit tramping it down beautifully. Caldonia, Caldonia, what makes your big head so hard? I love you, I love you just the same.

5 Jeanfrançois Prins and Jean-Paul Estiévenart The Music Village, Brussels. Saturday 15 June

Supremely classy sounds from a guitar-trumpet led band, so cool it hurts, Eurojazzing on a Saturday night in the unofficial capital of Europe from the masters Jeanfrançois Prins and Jean-Paul Estiévenart who journey into the cool of the night conveying the sounds of Miles and more to the still game Bruxellois flâneurs who are savvy enough to place jazz, as well as perhaps a spot of hunger pang sating moules et frites, at the top of their agenda for starters this weekend.

6 María Grand Quartet Bird's Eye, Basel. Tuesday 18, Wednesday 19 June

Innovative Swiss saxist María Grand has top US vibist Joel Ross whose Nublues blew us away this year in her band for these Basel dates at the Bird's Eye. Grand's Anohin with Marta Sánchez issued by Biophilia released earlier this year is also very collectable however much a bit bats it certainly seems at first blush to be - but ain't at all - cher ami.

7 Michael Wolff Le Duc des Lombards, Paris. Wednesday 19 June and Thursday 20 June

Remember the very classy Live at Vitello's? Nuff said. But certainly worth getting the Eurostar over to catch the US pianist paying tribute to Bill Evans here to locate Wolff in the top company of bassist François Moutin and drummer Jeff Boudreaux. Make it a two night stay why not. Who needs the football which will be dominating all media everywhere in Europe soon. Groan. Find escape and emotional rescue where you can duking it in here for sure as a start. Jumpers for goalposts? Marvellous.

8 Nils Kugelmann Trio Bix, Stuttgart. Friday 21 June

Munich born bassist-composer Nils Kugelmann playing Stuttgart with his Stormy Beauty trio

9 Étienne Mbappé's Countryside Baiser Salé, Paris. Fri 21 June. Free entry

10 Nikki Iles & MUK.jazzorchestra Porgy & Bess, Vienna. Saturday 22 June

The John Taylor influenced English pianist, composer and bandleader Nikki Iles' Face to Face with the German NDR Big Band last year was a huge highlight. Here Iles collaborates with the big band of the Viennese university MUK - Musik und Kunst Privatuniversität der Stadt Wien (the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna).

Jeanfrançois Prins and Jean-Paul Estiévenart, pictured, photographer unknown, modulate to a Blue Note Mode when they play Brussels this Saturday night.

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Julius Rodriguez, Evergreen, Verve ***1/2

Los Angeles based pianist Julius Rodriguez here with originals and a cover of Dijon's 'Many Times' joined by guests such as Keyon Harrold, Nate Mercereau and avantist Georgia Anne Muldrow whose appealingly moody vocal features on 'Champion's Call' …

Published: 13 Jun 2024. Updated: 36 days.

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Los Angeles based pianist Julius Rodriguez here with originals and a cover of Dijon's 'Many Times' joined by guests such as Keyon Harrold, Nate Mercereau and avantist Georgia Anne Muldrow whose appealingly moody vocal features on 'Champion's Call' streaming along with 'Mission Statement' ahead of the album's full release tomorrow. Crossover sounding - meaning it's far from purist jazz but certainly has lots of strong content particularly built from the ground up via bass lines from Philip Norris - the now 25-year-old New Yorker's Let Sound Tell All stood out in 2022 as this latest in its even more accessible way also does among the large array and spread of quality jazz about at the moment. What we mean by accessible is that Evergreen - nothing to do with the Paul Williams/Barbra Streisand song of the same name covered winningly by Alma Micic recently or indeed the Jun Iida original either by the way - has plenty of radio friendly R&B stylings to it. And there's plenty of groove. There is a school of thought that claims that current jazz either runs on a groove/riff alchemy or it operates instead on freer structures. Certainly if you subscribe to that view then Evergreen is the former. Silky licks say on 'Around the World' sit up and practically grin at you. Trumpeter Alonzo Demetrius is great on this track and you get a persuasive sense of flow the more up tempo the band sound ventures forth.

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Julius Rodriguez, photo: Atiba Jefferson

Playing jazz since he was a pre-teen encouraged by his Monk loving dad, this latest album of the artist sometimes known as Orange Julius was produced by Tim Anderson. Rodriguez dropped out of Julliard to tour with rapper A$AP Rocky and the African-American of Haitian descent's undoctrinaire approach to genre revels in its hookily sunny dimension, a feeling shared stylistically a bit with Jon Batiste. Evergreen doesn't grab us as much as Let Sound Tell All did because the material on that earlier work had more impact. But put it this way if suddenly you saw the name Julius Rodriguez on a poster online somewhere advertising a gig down the street at some local spot you'd be there like a shot to run along to hear this new generation keys kingpin in the making show what he can do on the stand straight away. Final word - fine saxist Nicole McCabe figures winningly on a couple of tracks including Rodriguez tune 'Mission Statement'. McCabe's Mosaic we got a kick out of and chilled to recently. Synth wiz Nate Mercereau also makes his presence felt on the same track.