It's not often that I wish I could go back to school, but this one in heart of the Surrey Downs countryside is the stuff of dreams! Tonight's gig was a private 50th birthday party, but the setting was like a film set. Woldingham Girls school, with its mile-long driveway through a picturesque valley and grand stone entrance is also a superb wedding and function venue; the building and grounds are breathtaking. We played a 75 minute cocktail set and then moved to the banquet hall to play throughout dinner. On piano was the acclaimed Gareth Williams, myself, Matt Skeaping on drums, and also Rachael Cohen our featured impresario alto saxophonist, and on bass, long-standing member Oli Hayhurst. The hosts were delighted, the staff were welcoming and we sincerely hope we will be asked back for another gig there sometime. One for the scrapbook, that's for sure! Here’s what the clients had to say:
“We have had so many compliments on your great playing and choice of music. It could not have been any better! You really helped to create a warm and rich vibe and atmosphere and all the various other bits slotted into place very well. We could not be happier with the outcome! Thanks again and please pass a big thank you to all the guys”. Damian Wisniewski
This amazing setting in the RAC - swanky members club in the heart of St James, London - was the latest of our exploits, providing entertainment for the guests of a 70th birthday party. Amazing food, and we explored the labyrinth of rooms at the club, in the process discovering a billiard room with a long row of full sized tables, a cavernous 3 storey high ceiling over the enormous swimming pool, with beautiful tiled decor and huge towering doric columns. Very impressive. I think we went down well!
If you're in London tonight, head over to Ronnie Scotts world famous jazz club on Frith Street, Soho for a night of jazz with our alto sax player, Rachael Cohen. Joining her tonight, from New York, is legendary guitarist, Phil Robson. Check out the link on the Ronnie's website:
The Very Distinguished Nick Kacal (bass) and the Elegant Steve Coombe (trumpet). This month we teamed up with Nick and Steve Coombe to create a 1920's sound to accompany a swinging, dancing crowd at a wedding in Harpenden, Hertfordshire and then on to Brighton to play for the JATS (Jazz At The Seaside) Summer Weekender. There are no styles of jazz we can't cover!
Teaming up with Gareth Williams, piano and vocals, St. Margarets Church in Buxted, Sussex was the venue for a splendid fundraiser concert for the victims and refugees from the Syrian conflict. This amazing 13th Century church stands in the heart of the countryside, and attracted an audience from all over the South West. An inspiring evening of wonderful music and an attentive audience.
For our second year in existence we have done incredibly well on the private parties front. As the summer heats up, you might want to check us out playing live to see if we fit the bill for your summer ball, wedding or corporate do. Tonight at the Archduke Wine Bar in SE1, our drummer Matt Skeaping will be playing in a piano trio, with the amazing Alex Hutton tickling them ivories.
Elsewhere, you can catch Rachael Cohen, our alto sax player every Wednesday at Rays Bar, 95 Kingsland Road in East London. Check out her page and see what she's been up to at: http://rachaelcohenmusic.com/home/
.... and keep your eyes peeled for the Ronnie Scotts listings. She's often playing with her quartet at the Late, Late show on the main stage. Which brings me to our guitarist Tom Ollendorff who can be seen hosting the Late Show after George Benson at Ronnie Scotts on the 4th of July.
Oli Hayhurst, one of London's busiest bass players can be seen at the following dates and times:
7/6/16 Kate Williams Four Plus Three Watermill Jazz, Dorking
8/6/16 Kate Williams Four Plus Three 606 Club, London
10/6/16 Kate Williams Four Plus Three Leicester Jazz House
30/6/16 Sam Crockatt Quartet The Spin, Oxford
3/7/16 Jacqui Dankworth Hungerford Literary Festival
8/7/16 Hannes Reipler Quartet Con Cellar, London
9/7/16 Pharoah Sanders Quartet Ronnie Scott's, London
2/7/16 Pharoah Sanders Quartet New Morning, Paris
14/7/16 Pharoah Sanders Quartet Lodz, Poland
15/7/16 Julian Siegel Quartet Red Lion, Birmingham
16/7/16 Tim Whitehead Quartet Marlborough Jazz Festival
Paul Stacey, one of our other go-to guitarists, is so busy touring the world with Kurt Rosenwinkel (last time I spoke he was boarding a plane to Korea), that he's a rare sight in London these days, but if you're quick you can catch him tonight at the Vortex Jazz Club in Dalston playing with Fletch's Brew, and again, same band, playing at Ronnie Scott's tomorrow night, 10th June 2017, with Laurence Cottle on bass, Mornington Lockett on sax and the awesome Mark Fletcher, on drums.
Here he is, a few years back now, in that legendary comedy scene from 4 Weddings And A Funeral:
Catch our phenomenal guitarist playing with his trio tonight at the Vortex Jazz Club in Dalston, Address: 11 Gillett Square, London N16 8AZ
Phone: 020 7254 4097
Hanging out and playing at the legendary London jazz jam session at the Vortex on a Sunday night, with our sax maestro Rachael Cohen, and who should walk in, set up and start playing? Yes, Stanley Jordan! Amazing. We loved the sequins too! If you've never checked him out, here's a YouTube link:
Last month we teamed up with Amy Roberts, multi-instrumentalist and winner in the miscellaneous category of the 2015 BRITISH JAZZ AWARDS for a great evening at Pangbourne Working Mens Club. Look out for Amy, she's an up-and-coming star...
Saturday's outdoors gig in Kintbury, West Berkshire was a delight. A private fundraising event next to a peaceful churchyard, with the most beautiful self-sown baby cyclamen growing under the trees. It got a little chilly as the night wore on. Next time we'll pack our fingerless mits and thermals... Trombone was added to our list of possible instrument line-ups!