Jazz at Future Inns

Date: Thursday,26th March2015
Time: From 8.30pm onwards
Venue: Jazz@FutureInn
Tickets: Adults:£5.00. Students: £3.00

Freight — Craig Crofton, tenor and soprano saxes, Martin Jenkins, piano, Greg Cordez, double bass, and Rich Laws, drums

‘Freight is that rare thing, a jazz band with a group identity. One might see it as retro, but that would only be a part of it, one dimension. True, there are plentiful elements of 50s jazz: propulsive walking bass, hi-hat timekeeping on drums, a swing groove from all four that just won’t quit, but it is not a self-conscious appeal to old folks who pine for the good old days of jazz. This is jazz by four highly skilled young-ish players who have been through it all, from Free to Electronica, World to Hip Hop; 50s jazz is just a part of the panoply of music laid out before us in this Age of Information.

The diamond at the core of Freight is Martin Jenkins’ writing. His tunes are certainly informed by the greats, particularly Thelonious Monk, but they easily stand on their own. They are melodic, thematic, memorable and clearly jazz tunes with complex harmony, rich inspiration for improvisation. There is no easy way to explain why one person’s tunes are superior, they just carry an authority and integrity that sets them apart, that makes them seem like they must have been written before. Martin Jenkins’ tunes have that quality. His playing is unique as well, big chords reminiscent of Errol Garner, Shearing-like soft touch, and a Monkishness not just in chords but in playing with rhythm.

We have been watching Craig Crofton play for 15 years and he has always stood out because of his intensity, his big tone (no Wayne Shorter acolyte here) and his willingness to push boundaries. The passing years have added a maturity that does not detract from the other qualities, but gives them perspective. He has few equals in the ability to structure a solo, create a dramatic arc from start to finish. He also has few equals in the rhythm of his playing: his notes cascade out with great attention to their placement in time – and not always in the same rhythm. His technical chops are awesome. His lyricism has grown, too, a reminder of what a great ballad player John Coltrane was. Craig is unique, a passionate player in a cerebral world.

Bassist Greg Cordez plays on the same exalted level with deep, rich tone, and contributed one composition, Camilla Rose, Mingus-like and lovely; it wouldn’t be a bad thing to hear more. Rich Laws immersed himself in a style of drumming that existed before Tony Williams, and was terrific in it. How many times have we heard a drum solo on cymbals? It is a style that he showed has plenty of life and plenty of swing in it.’

John Pearce
Date: Thursday, 2nd April 2015
Time: From 8.30pm onwards
Venue: Jazz@FutureInn
Tickets: Adults:£5.00. Students: £3.00

Born in Bristol, John Pearce began learning the violin at the age of seven and has since performed in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Japan as well as at venues in London including the Royal Albert Hall, St. Martin in the Fields and St. Johnís, Smith Square.

He has performed live as a soloist on BBC radio and television and has given world premieres of works by composers such as Sir Richard Rodney Bennett. He regularly appears as a soloist, most recently performing the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Stroud Symphony Orchestra and gives duo recitals with pianist and composer Motoki Hirai. Festival performances have included the Cheltenham Music Festival, the Bath Festival and the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival.

John had the honour of receiving an award from the Former Parliamentary under Secretary of State for an outstanding contribution to music and was awarded a scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music where he studied with Gyorgy Pauk, later continuing his studies privately with Bela Katona.

He was also part of the Live Music Now scheme that was developed by Yehudi Menuhin as a musical outreach organisation and John continues to give masterclasses and music workshops throughout the country.

His own work as a jazz musician has led him to collaborate with Pete Judge, James Morton, Ian Matthews, Gary Alesbrook and David Newton and he is also looking forward to developing a future duo project with guitarist Alex Hutchings.

Simon Spillett Quartet
Date: Thursday, 9th April 2015
Time: From 8.30pm onwards
Venue: Jazz@FutureInn
Tickets: Adults:£5.00. Students: £3.00

Described by the late Humphrey Lyttelton as “formidable”, Simon Spillett is a British jazz saxophonist who leads his own quartet featuring John Critchinson (piano), Alec Dankworth (bass) and Clark Tracey (drums). He has won several awards for his music, including the tenor saxophone category of the British Jazz Awards (2011), Jazz Journal magazine’s Critic’s Choice CD of the Year (2009) and Rising Star in the BBC Jazz Awards (2007). Other celebrated jazz leaders and bands with whom he has worked have included Sir John Dankworth, Stan Tracey, Peter King and The Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra. He has recorded three albums, Introducing Simon Spillett (Woodville Records, 2007), Sienna Red (Woodville Records, 2008) and Square One (Gearbox Records, 2013), all of which have received highly favourable reviews in both the specialist and national press. His festival, concert and club appearances across the UK have included sold-out gigs at Ronnie Scott’s and the Brecon Jazz Festival and he has broadcast on BBC Radio 3′s Jazz-Line Up with his own band.

He has also worked as a writer, contributing articles to magazines including Jazz Journal and Record Collector and has acted as a consultant for a number of jazz record labels, in which capacity he has written booklet essays for over seventy albums.

Simon is joined by George Cooper on piano, Will Harris on bass and Matt Brown on drums.

Date: Thursday, 16th April 2015
Time: From 8.30pm onwards
Venue: Jazz@FutureInn
Tickets: Adults:£5.00. Students: £3.00

Poised Swedish piano, an irrepressibly swinging Italian rhythm section and searing French sax combine to deliver trumpeter David Mowat’s ‘ exceptional compositions’ (The Musician magazine). BEJE also involving Anders Olinder on piano, Pasquale Votino bass, Paolo Adamo drums, Julien Alenda alto sax, is Bristol’s clarion for a polis of the cosmos. It’s a blast in the ear for all who would separate this sceptred isle from the continent. Fresh modern jazz with Balkan, Brazilian Middle Eastern and New Orleans inflections feature in ‘BEJE bites’ their second album launched tonight.’

There’s a lively groove round every corner. The energy of the collective, the fluency of the players are all immediately evident” Listomania

Ear-twisting incisive soloing atop the dynamic group playing of David’s exceptional tunes” (The Musician)

Impressive multi-national line up” Andy Hague

A fine representation of the melting pot that is the contemporary music world” Tony Benjamin

Date: Thursday, 23rd April 2015
Time: From 8.30pm onwards
Venue: Jazz@FutureInn
Tickets: Adults:£5.00. Students: £3.00

EMU (previously known as Kurfuffle) are an exciting and original instrumental quartet who fuse jazz, electronic and groove and dance music with a twist of eastern influences.

“Using the band members’ Eastern European and Mediterranean cultural backgrounds as inspiration, Kurfuffle produces amazing sounds, mixing exotic warbling notes with evocative jazzy overtones. Every piece is varied; one minute it could be slow-paced and dreamy, the next, pounding along with a driving beat.”

Full review here:

Band members:
Sam Lewis – Saxophones
Alan Keary – Electric and double bass
Liviu Gheorghe – Piano and Synths
Alan Taylor – Drums

John Law’s New Congregation
Date: Thursday, 30th April 2015
Time: From 8.30pm onwards
Venue: Jazz@FutureInn
Tickets: Adults:£5.00. Students: £3.00

John Law’s New Congregation, featuring Jake McMurchie, Will Harris, Mark Whitlam

Promoting John’s new, stunning double CD release These Skies In Which We Rust, the quartet will be playing John’s original tunes, compositions that roam freely between different genres and influences, drawing not just on jazz but classical, rock and electronica as well. Compositions that can be both complex and challenging as well as simple, melodic, accessible and hard-hitting. John will also be adapting his music to fit this special new formation, drawing on the vast experience of these three new members, who have themselves forged, over many years touring and recording, their own unique blend of jazz, rock and electronic experimentation.

John Law says: “I’m hoping for an evening of surprises, where my tunes will go completely new ways I never thought of..!”

“One of the UK’s most imaginative and versatile jazz pianists.” International

About the new recording These Skies In Which We Rust:
“…another high-water mark in Law’s career.” All About Jazz 2015.

“…combining the vocabularies of jazz and classical in a singular and seamless way, coalescing improvisational surprise and a deep elegiac musicality…” All About Jazz 2011

“…so full of joy that it can renew your faith not just in jazz, but music itself.” Phil Johnson, Independent on Sunday 2011

“One of this country’s most imaginative pianists” The Times

“When he records for ECM he’ll become a star” Jazzthethik, Germany

“…technical bravura with crystal clear, fast passagework coupled with a sovereign command over everything that is pianistically possible. You wonder if there is actually anything that this pianist cannot do.”Jazz Podium Germany 1997

For the full gig list, please visit Jazz at Future Inn.