Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

This week's top Eurojazz club gigs

Magnus Lindgren and John Beasley play Stuttgart on Thursday night. Julian Sartorius Moods, Zurich Tuesday 21 May New peaks? Drummer percussionist Julian Sartorius launches Domodossola – Weissmies. Jesse Cook Porgy and Bess, Vienna Tues 21 May

Published: 20 May 2024. Updated: 33 days.


Magnus Lindgren and John Beasley play Stuttgart on Thursday night.

New peaks? Drummer percussionist Julian Sartorius launches Domodossola – Weissmies.

Both shows are sold out. Stacey Kent's latest album 2023's Summer Me Winter Me had arrangements by the duchess' husband saxophonist-flautist Jim Tomlinson the anchor the album relies on. Tracks mine a classic era where jazz became the soundtrack of arthouse films and a certain very classy nostalgia was included for no extra charge. Opening with a breezy version of Michel Legrand and the Bergmans' 'Summer Me, Winter Me' Stacey sings in French on another Legrand classic 'La Valse des Lilas' and again you land on one of the chief plus points on a Stacey Kent record: that stately feeling of a lost era and a tempo that takes all the time in the world. Jacques Brel's 'If You Go Away' is sung in two versions, one in English one in French. Quintessential Stacey Kent then - and while not a classic in her discography (for these go to The Changing Lights or Dreamer In Concert first) this move to new label Naïve still means business as usual for a remarkable singer who has a sound completely her own.

The acclaimed US singer Jazzmeia Horn was certainly formidable guesting on Orrin Evans' The Red Door on the 2023 released song 'Big Small.'

US saxist/singer Camille Thurman plays the Swedish capital's foremost jazz club with trumpeter Wallace Roney Jr., pianist David Bryant, bassist Paul Beaudry and drummer Darrell Green.

Playing from Butterfy Effect this stellar duo - US pianist John Beasley best known for his MONK'estra - jump up to speed with his Resonance label 2021 Hear and Now Best-of perhaps but hear Beasley with reedist/flautist the Swede Magnus Lindgren most relevantly together on 2021's work with the SWR, the local Stuttgart radio station jazzband's Grammy winning album, Bird Lives.

Tribute to Sarah Vaughan on the centenary of Sassy's birth from acclaimed east London singer Zara McFarlane and erstwhile Hackney jazz club Kansas Smitty's clarinet kingpin Giacomo Smith.

Huh? Abacaxi is Portuguese for pineapple, natch.

Acclaimed alto saxist-composer Caroline Davis' Köln concert at the Stadtgarten is a must - Davis is with pianist Julian Shore, bassist Chris Tordini and drummer Allan Mednard

The vibes are the lead instrument on Following the Sun given this is the formidable French jazzer Alexis Valet's record recently released - he leads an all-star Stateside group. Everyone is well known on it and the album recorded in the US is more than the sum of its illustrious parts. Tenor saxist Dayna Stephens - Gratitude proved a key record of Stephens' in recent years - pianist's pianist Aaron Parks (whose input was also significant on Gratitude), double bassist Joe Martin and drummer Kush Adadey - who is on the new Blue Note Ethan Iverson album Technically Acceptable - complete the quintet of players. Following the Sun was recorded in a studio in the New York borough of Queens in 2022. The album sports an ultra hip approach but does not try too hard. Originals of Valet's - who shakes and vacs to put the freshness back compositionally - played beautifully by everyone land in a melodic 21st century blissed out take on progressive hard bop. So if you like Jalen Baker whose Be Still we chilled to last year these sounds are perfectly compatible and rub along wonderfully. With Valet and Stephens in Barcelona the band is completed by pianist Tony Tixier, bassist Ameen Saleem and drummer Adam Arruda.

On a Cape Town crusade - seek out pianist Nobuhle Ashanti.

Not a club (but near a few) happening en plein air in reliably surreal Brussels, it's hip to be square.


Oh, what a line-up. Featuring the swish swingalongadingdong Stepping Stones (Cellar Live) line-up of His Higness sans orb and sceptre Dave of the sax joining Canadian pianist-leader Sean Fyfe, bassist Luke Fowler and drummer Matt Fishwick (who displayed consummate sticksmanship with saxist Alex Merritt on 2022's Mind-Ear-Ladder).

Walk Away legend vibist Bernard Maseli is in the house.

Zara McFarlane (pictured top) & clarinettist/saxist Giacomo Smith in Le duc des Lombards sing and play ever so Sassily in Paris on Thursday and Friday nights


This week's top UK and Ireland jazz gigs

Iain Ballamy The Flute and Tankard, Cardiff Tuesday 21 May Charlie Moon O'Regans, Dublin Tues 21 May Launching Charlie Moon Sings & Plays singer-guitarist Charlie Moon is accompanied by double bassist Barry Donohue. Shirley Smart Trio Lescar, …

Published: 20 May 2024. Updated: 33 days.

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Launching Charlie Moon Sings & Plays singer-guitarist Charlie Moon is accompanied by double bassist Barry Donohue.

Cellist Shirley Smart with pianist John Crawford whose new album Room for Dancing was released in the spring and percussionist Demi Garcia Sabat. Smart and Sabat were ace with Nikki Yeoh playing the music of Maurice El Medioni at Crazy Coqs last year.

Sold out.

The sax player known for his work with Gregory Porter playing from Roots to Branches. With pianist Idris Frederick, bassist Dean Torrey and drummer Ken Salters.

Sold out. The highest profile Scottish jazz musician since Tommy Smith first emerged, Scottishness is important in the grace notes, accents and naturalistic influences that pianist-composer Fergus McCreadie weaves in to his piano trio settings. Look no further on new album Stream than 'Driftwood' for proof. A very solid release up there with Cairn, McCreadie is a natural and newcomers can start right here or go back to his most acclaimed record Forest Floor for more. David Bowden on double bass and Stephen Henderson on drums again excel within team McC. The hymnal 'Mountain Stream' is just one of several tracks that reward repeated play.

2023's Purple / Black Vol 1 (Whirlwind) proved not at all a thundering chops fest on steroids because it is thoughtful, highly intelligent sounding developmental small group play from a quartet of significant players. Much preferable to Preston/Glasgow/Lowe's Something About Rainbows pianist/keyboardist Kit Downes on the record sounds different here, far more pared back than usual although he occasionally slips off the leash. David Preston - also known for his work with singer Ian Shaw in one of Shaw's best periods - renders 'Susie Q's' warm and Frisellian as is 'Salem Ascending' with its lovely woozy harmonising interplay between Preston and Downes. But there is also a lot of prog verging on mondo Holdsworth or areas too that border on jazztronica ('Cassino Dream') where Preston breaks through deliciously with some choice licks. The drummer here is Seb Rochford who with Downes has delivered one of last year's best albums A Personal Diary. The two contribute a lot in a group size here twice as large and where the writing is not Rochford's but Preston's - and valiantly questing it is too. Six-string bass guitarist Kevin Glasgow is a formidable player and completes the quartet. This setting isn't about showing off: tunes are quite oblique and intriguing rather than intense and fraught. You might not get all that this album has to offer on a first listen but patience is certainly rewarded. The best groove from Rochford is on 'Cassino Dream' but groove is only part of the panoply of approaches this inventive album dips in and out of.

By now some six years since we have had a new ECM album by the iconic British saxophonist and bass clarinettist John Surman, who turns 80 this summer, Words Unspoken is a beautiful, resonant, quartet album that, like its predecessor, Invisible Threads, was recorded at the Rainbow in Oslo. American vibist Rob Waring who like Surman lives in Norway is once again in Surman's band but both are joined for the first time by British guitarist Rob Luft and by Norwegian drummer Thomas Strønen. It's all very pared back and softly conveyed containing a pastoral, naturalistic feel shaped around robust motifs that are delicately unpeeled harmonically by Luft and Waring while Surman himself weaves weighty explorations around the themes with both a gravitas and a sense of grace and playfulness as active ingredients. Certainly up there with some of Surman's best work in a long and distinguished career and one of 2024's top jazz albums.

The Northern Irish drummer best known for his work with the great American vintage jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux and rocker Brandon Flowers of The Killers, Darren Beckett also figured mightily on Live in Arklow, a standout album from George Colligan with Dave Redmond in 2020. Appearing down under Dean Street at the Pizza with bassist Dave Whitford (good with Paul Booth on Travel Sketches) and Irish bebop loving saxist Riley Stone-Lonergan, who is on the upcoming pretty superb Bag of Bones track Onwards and Upwards issued by 577 on No One Gets Saved Beckett gelled well with swinging Irish guitarist Lee Meehan last year on the terrific tip of the hat to dear Oscar in the title, Some of Us Are Looking at the Stars.

A marvellous night for a Moon dance at O'Regans in Dublin tomorrow as Charlie Moon - top - sings and plays Chet