New York drum master, Ari Hoenig is coming to the UK for a tour in February with a trio featuring our very own guitarist, Tom Ollendorf. He will be playing at the Vortex Jazz Club in London on February 13th. As well as running his own acclaimed ensembles, Ari has played for such virtuosi as Kenny Werner, Chris Potter, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Herbie Hancock, Joshua Redman, Gerry Mulligan, Joe Lovano and many more besides. He has a regular residency at Smalls Jazz Club in Greenwich, NY: check it out here: https://youtu.be/vRN7w-ApfiU. In addition, check out Tom's Beautiful Bach Bedroom Broadcast here: www.facebook.com/tom.ollendorff/videos/1984273848299027/
The regular first Wednesday of the month gigs with Mark Aston and friends has changed its venue to the Strawberry Hill Golf Club. A much bigger capacity room, with double-sided bar, warmer, more comfy surroundings and vastly improved acoustics was a fantastic choice, but also a bit of a punt for Mark. As it happened, this gig SOLD OUT with a waiting list of over 20 people hoping for last minute cancellations! This was an absolute STORMING gig, with Mark on tenor sax, Ben Cummings on trumpet/flugelhorn and vocals, and John Pearce on piano... What a night!
Tuesday night sessions at the George and Dragon resumed in style, with Jazz Royalty kicking off the proceedings: Alan Barnes on Alto Saxophone, accompanied by Dave Jones on bass, Alan Berry on Keys, and myself Matt Skeaping on drums. An exciting start to the year!
A week before Christmas saw us playing at The Ned - a former bank, now Hotel, restaurant and club all in one, perched on the corner of Bank Junction in the City of London. With Alex Hutton on piano, Alec Dankworth on bass and Kate Winter, vocals. This was a first for The Cocktail Hour - stunned at the cavernous size and luxury of the venue. Several live bands on rotation throughout the day and evening. Just like I imagined it was in most London Hotels in days gone by....
My first Masonic Lodge booking... To be added to the ever-growing list of interesting gig settings. The venue: a modern hotel in Winchester. The event, a Freemasons 'Celebration of Women' day - at least I think that's what they said. There were some peculiar songs, some memorable speeches, a colourful toastmaster, and an evening of cocktails and jazz, with vocals by Monika Ramstein.
A wonderful evening of jazz at Spike's Place Jazz Club, with Jo Fooks and Al Nicholls on Tenor Saxophones. Newly refurbished music room in the Saffron Hotel, in Saffron Walden. A bit of a treck round the M25 and almost 3 hours of traffic to get there, but worth the effort. I must say, the highlight of this gig, apart from playing with magnificent musicians, was that cup of tea at Birchanger Green Motorway Services on the way home. Phew!
The monthly jazz sessions at The Clocktower Pub in Teddington continue. Last week saw the appearance of a contra alto clarinet, the latest piece to enter Mark Aston's instrument collection. A deep, powerful beast of a sound! The first Wednesdays of every month - evening starts at 8pm, and tickets for the next event can be bought here: https://www.tickettailor.com/events/marksmusic
From the 27 November 2018 a revitalised jazz night at the lovely George and Dragon pub (currently being refurbished) in Thames Ditton will see the drummer and some of the other band members making a weekly appearance. The food is great, the location quaint, and the popular Tuesday night jazz has a buzzing atmosphere. Starts 8:30pm, High St, Thames Ditton, KT7 0RY
Earlier this month, the now long-established monthly residency at The Clocktower Pub in Teddington High Street saw Alan Barnes joining the band for a be-bop extravaganza! Salt Peanuts, Anthropology and Yardbird Suite were just some of the jazz standard favourites of the era that we covered...
I grew up in the 70's on the same road as this legendary music venue, and would ride my bike to stand outside and hear the likes of Stan Tracey and Don Weller, and it's still going strong. Standing room only at the Bulls Head, with Alex Hutton on piano, and Sandy Burnett on bass.
The ongoing adventures of London Jazz Cocktailers