Music: The week in Jazz May 29 – June 4

Tony Benjamin, May 29, 2017

It’s a tough choice for lovers of jazz piano, this week, with two excellent practitioners on offer at the same time on Sunday (4). Last seen hereabouts in her duo with Courtney Pine the ebullient Zoe Rahman (above)brings her lyrical and fluent playing to the Lantern, while the scintillating David Newton Trio  appear at the Hen & Chicken. It’s a tough call – both are multi-award winning players with effortless grace – but what might swing it could be that Ms Rahman’s in a double bill with ex-Empirical trumpet hot-shot Jay Phelps’ Quartet. But, if the choice really is too much for you, you could always head down to Leftbank for some boogaloo from Allen Henderson & Magee.

And it’s a toss-up for jazz guitar fans on Wednesday (31) when Indigo Kid Dan Messore (above) comes to Canteen and The Fringe features Denny Ilett in established fave Moscow Drug Club. Given the strong style contrast between MDC’s gypsy swing sound and Dan’s spacious contemporary approach, however, it’s less of a tough call.

Keeping an eye on the ‘world music’ angles there’s a couple of tempting nights this week, namely Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Benin (Lantern, Thursday 1) and Tonto Malembe (Canteen, Friday 2 & No 1 Harbourside, Saturday 3). The Orchestre has a 50 year history of pan-African fusion and vigorous live shows (albeit with a 30 year gap!) and this revived line-up includes three original members. Tonto Malembe (above), by contrast, was founded in 2014 by a group of London-based Venezuelan exile musicians who cooked up their own free-flowing blend of Tropicalia, jazz and psychedelic funk. It’s heady stuff and, naturally, it’s highly danceable as is the Latin-funk fusion of Snazzback who will also be at Canteen on Thursday (1).

There might be dance-friendly moments at The Fringe on Monday (29) but it’s not to be counted on. Their monthly free music session welcomes back radical Lithuanian saxophonist Dovydas Stalmokas (above), described on their Facebook page as ‘a unique fireball of invention’ – something well born out by his Soundcloud offerings.

It’s good to see Andy Hague (above) bring back his Silverado project to the Bebop (Friday 2). This themed celebration of the deceptively catchy music of the great Horace Silver is a fine tribute and an ever-enjoyable experience, not least for the frontline combination of Andy’s trumpet with Kevin Figes and Ben Waghorn on sax. Gary Alesbrook’s trumpet is one element in the Duval Project sound (Future Inn, Thursday 1) but this sophisticated soul-jazz project, fronted by ace vocalist Marie Lister, is very much more than the sum of its parts. Fans of the classic Great American Songbook, however, should catch suave singer James Lambeth with his classy quartet in the foyer of the Colston Hall on Friday (2).

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