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Beats & Pieces Big Band

Beats & Pieces Big Band take the big band sound to places it’s never been before, with a distinctive blend of rocking energy and precise dynamics, infectious floorfilling rhythms and widescreen arrangements, and generous individual freedom and tight collective interplay. Embracing modern textures and techniques while acknowledging and celebrating their big band lineage, they’ve earned a reputation for a joyful interaction between audience and band, with songs to make you think, dance, laugh and cry.

This exciting ensemble led by composer/conductor Ben Cottrell boasts 14 musicians, many of them bandleaders in their own right, with each player’s distinct musical background and individual voice being key to the collective band identity. Such is the level of trust and friendship across the group that they perform entirely from memory, effortlessly switching between super‐tight ensemble playing and generous soloistic expression in the same way as a trio or quartet. A driving force of the vibrant Manchester music scene and one of the most striking ensembles of its kind, the group continues to win new fans and friends across Europe and beyond.

 

“Their new album Ten is an impressive blend of brawn and brain, irreverence and serious intent. Listen loud.” * * * * John Bungey, The Times

 

“Beats & Pieces remain a hugely exciting and vital presence on the UK jazz scene. They have lost none of their youthful energy, irreverence and verve and on this evidence are playing better than ever.” * * * * Ian Mann, The JazzMann

 

“…an irresistible energy, powered by Cottrell’s sly way of investing the familiar chords of jazz with a startling new energy … pleasingly ambiguous, hectic and calm at once … Beats & Pieces have come already come far in their 10 years, but they will surely go further.” * * * * Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph

 

“… the feel and dynamics of a small group and the force and impact of an orchestra … a bit more risk‐taking than your regular big band …” AJ Dehany, London Jazz News

16th January, 8pm at The Blue Lamp

Admission: £15, concession £12, students £5

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Stewart Forbes – Bebop Conservation Society

The Blue Lamp has a large omission in its history and that is to present one of Scotlands principal saxophonists, the great Stewart Forbes. He appeared recently with Colin Steele but never in his own right. This is now corrected with his “Bebop Conservation Society” band. The name says it all…pure bebop!

From concert hall, jazz club, jam session, recording studio, theatre and touring work, saxophonist‐multi‐instrumentalist, and mainstay of the Scottish and UK Jazz scene since the 1980’s, Stewart Forbes has recorded and performed with many of the top players and directors in the UK, Europe and the USA. With very broad musical interests, Stewarts work has encompassed not only jazz and big band music but orchestral concert performances with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Opera Orchestra and Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Also, in Scottish ‘traditional’ music Stewart has recorded with The Battlefield band, Allan Reid and ‘Run –Rig’

Included among the many international singers and artists Stewart has worked and recorded with are; Tony Bennett, Bob Hope, Kirk Douglas, Natalie Cole, Randy Crawford, Al Martino, Connie Francis, Dame Cleo Lane, Norma Winston, Kenny Rogers, Tammy Wynette and Glen Campbell, Lianne Carroll. Iain Shaw, Elaine Delmar, Madeleine Bell and Andrew Lloyd Webber & Sarah Brightman.

In Big Band and Jazz music Stewart has been fortunate to record and work for The BBC Big Band, The Don Weller Big Band, Echoes of Ellington Jazz Orchestra, Stan Tracey Jazz Orchestra, The New Squadronaires, Glenn Miller UK Orchestra, Chris Dean’s Syd Lawrence Orchestra and with jazz and big band arrangers Barry Forgie, Mark Nightingale, Clark Tracey, Pete Long, Malcolm Edmonstone, Kenny Wheeler, Adrian Drover and Pete Moore.

A special privilege for Stewart has been the opportunity to work for Musical Directors Billy May (Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra), Mike Abene (WDR Big Band, Germany) and has performed and recorded with jazz musicians George Shearing, Kenny Wheeler, Jimmy Deuchar, Jim Mullen, Peter King, Guy Barker, Louis Stewart, Henry Lowther, Martin France, Clark Terry, James Moody, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Lew Sollof, Adam Nussbaum, Andy Shepard, Gary Valente, and more recently with Maceo Parker (Ray Charles Tribute) and with Lianne Carroll and Iain Shaw. In 2015, at the Edinburgh International Jazz Festival, Stewart was featured clarinet and saxophone soloist with the Stan Tracey Orchestra (directed by Clark Tracey).

23rd January , 8pm at The Blue Lamp

Admission: £15, concession £12, students £5

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Mindaugas Stumbras

Mindaugas Stumbras is a Lithuanian jazz guitarist based in Glasgow, a new generation jazz musician who plays both modern jazz and contemporary music. Mindaugas plays with the finest international jazz musicians all around the Europe as well as top flight Scottish players such as Tommy Smith, Alyn Cosker, Mario Caribe, Fergus McCreadie and Graham Costello.

 

Mindaugas Stumbras ‐ guitar

Fergus McCreadie ‐ piano

Michelangelo Scandroglio ‐ bass

Mattia Galeotti ‐ drums

30th January, 8pm at The Blue Lamp

Admission: £15, concession £12, students £5

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Jazz Main

JazzMain was formed in 2003 by tenor sax player Nick Gould, together with some of Scotland’s most hard working jazzers playing a range of jazz, swing, soul and latin music in and around Edinburgh and Glasgow – for the sheer love of it! Since then they have been performed at events and functions all over Scotland and in Ireland.

 

Nick Gould (sax)

Kevin Dorrian (drums)

Steve Grossart (Keys)

Iain Harkness (bass)

6th February, 8pm at The Blue Lamp

Admission: £15, concession £12, students £5

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Martin Kershaw Quartet

As a 2019 Scottish Jazz Awards Best Instrumentalist nominee and perennial Blue Lamp favourite Martin Kershaw returns with his world‐class quartet, featuring Kershaw on saxes, Paul Harrison (piano), Andrew Robb (bass) and Alyn Cosker (drums). The music ranges from the hauntingly lyrical to the blisteringly energetic  ‐ at once accessible and challenging, and performed with utmost skill and imagination by a supremely talented line up.

“What lifts Martin Kershaw head and shoulders above other commanding, technically flawless saxophonists is his canny gift for melody” **** City Life

13th February, 8pm at The Blue Lamp

Admission: £15, concession £12, students £5

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Norma Winstone Trio

This is a real coup for us to get probably the UK’s finest and best regarded jazz singer with her own trio on stage at the Blue Lamp.  With her will be Kit Downes on piano and Mike Walker on guitar.

Norma was born in London and first attracted attention in the late 60s when she shared the bill at Ronnie Scott’s with Roland Kirk. Although she began her career singing jazz standards, she became involved in the avant‐garde movement, exploring the use of the voice in an experimental way and evolving her own wordless approach to improvisation. In 1971 she was voted top singer in the Melody Maker Jazz Poll and subsequently recorded her own album Edge of Time for Decca, which although long deleted has now been re‐released as a CD on the Disconforme label. In the late 70s she joined pianist John Taylor and trumpeter Kenny Wheeler to form the group AZIMUTH, which was described by Richard Williams of The Times as ‘one of the most imaginatively conceived and delicately balanced of all contemporary chamber jazz groups.’ In recent years Norma has become known as a very fine lyricist, writing words to compositions by Ralph Towner, and Brazilian composers Egberto Gismonti and Ivan Lins (who has recorded her English lyrics to his song Vieste). She has a special affinity with the music of Steve Swallow, and has written lyrics to many of his compositions, most notably Ladies in Mercedes, which has become a standard.

Her voice has become an important part of the sound of Kenny Wheeler’s Big Band, and can be heard in this context on the ECM double CD Music for Large and Small Ensembles which also features John Abercrombie, Dave Holland, Peter Erskine and John Taylor. She continues in the forefront of British jazz and was nominated again in the 2007 and 2008 BBC Jazz Awards for best vocalist. She was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2007. In 2009 she was awarded the Skoda Jazz Ahead Award in Bremen for her contribution to European jazz.

20th February, 8pm at The Blue Lamp

Admission: £18, concession £15, students £5

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Martin Speake Quartet

Alto saxophonist Martin Speake continues his collaboration on this anniversary tour with US pianist Ethan Iverson since first meeting him 30 years ago in Banff, Canada. They toured and recorded as a duo featured on My Ideal playing standard ballads just before Ethan toured the world with The Bad Plus. 17 years later after Ethan left The Bad Plus they performed and recorded again in 2018 as a quartet with Fred Thomas and James Maddren. For this 2020 tour they are joined by US drummer Jeff Williams and well known Scottish bassman Calum Gourley.

 

Martin Speake is one of the UK’s most prominent alto sax players. An award winning musician Martin has been at the forefront of the UK jazz scene since the mid 80s. His projects are many and diverse and include personal interpretations of the music of Charlie Parker, free improvising, playing standards with his quartet and Indian music with Dharambir Singh and Sarvar Sabri. He has recorded 23 CDs under his own name, including the internationally acclaimed ECM release Change Of Heart with Paul Motian, Bobo Stenson and Mick Hutton and includes work with the likes of Loose Tubes, Bhavani Shankar, Stan Tracey, Bob Wilber, Don Weller, Jim Mullen, Ronan Guilfoyle, Jim Rattigan, Phelan Burgoyne, Alex Maguire, Sam Rivers, and Airto Moreira on a massive cv.

 

US‐born pianist and composer Ethan Iverson is probably best known as a founding member of the iconic New York based band The Bad Plus, a game‐changing collective who the New York Times described as “…better than anyone at melding the sensibilities of post‐60’s jazz and indie rock.” During his 17‐year tenure TBP performed in venues as diverse as the Village Vanguard and Carnegie Hall and collaborated with the likes of Joshua Redman, Bill Frisell and the Mark Morris Dance Group.  A powerful yet thoughtful and lyrical player, Ethan has also appeared with International jazz artists of the calibre of Billy Hart, Ron Carter Tom Harrell, Victor Lewis, Chris Potter and Ravi Coltrane. As a composer, in 2017 he scored “Pepperland” for the Mark Morris Dance Group and in spring 2018 premiered Concerto to Scale with the American Composers Orchestra.

 

London‐based double bassist and composer Calum Gourlay is known for his deep warm tone, controlled execution as both a supporter and improviser, and rock solid time and pulse. Born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1986, he began his musical journey playing the cello in primary school and by the age of fourteen started the double bass, having developed a serious interest in jazz and improvised music. Gourlay’s talents were noticed by many of Scotland’s premier artists, and as a result he became the first bassist selected for the then ‘brand new’ Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra as well as other ensembles. Since then he has become a mainstay on the London scene while performing with the Kit Downes Trio, The Tommy Smith Group, Will Vinson, The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra featuring Joe Lovano, John Scofield, and Kurt Elling, Martin Speake, Martin Kershaw and Sheila Jordan. He also writes for his own big band, which has a monthly residency at the Vortex in London.

Born in Mount Vernon, Ohio, Jeff Williams began his professional jazz drumming career in New York in 1971. By 1972 he was playing with Stan Getz, followed by Dave Liebman and Lookout Farm through 1976. His other associations include Joe Lovano, Lee Konitz, Paul Bley, Bill McHenry, Ethan Iverson, Tony Malaby, Leo Genovese and a host of others. Since making a second home in London some years ago Jeff has performed with Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone, Martin Speake, Nikki Illes, Olie Brice and more, in addition to leading his own bands, whose members have included Phil Robson, Kit Downes, Finn Peters, Josh Arcoleo, Sam Lasserson, John O’Gallagher, Duane Eubanks and John Hébert.

“The rapport between Speake and Iverson itself is a thing of exquisite beauty.” Downbeat Magazine

“Speake is one of the most interesting and rewarding alto saxophonists now playing jazz on any continent”…Jazz Times

“Ethan Iverson is….endlessly resourceful….there’s never a moment when he isn’t either launching a new idea or expanding on one”… The Guardian 

27th February, 8pm at The Blue Lamp

Admission: £18, concession £15, students £5

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Haftor Medbœ & Gunnar Halle – Danish Songs

A real Northern Jazz experience tonight with two great musicians.  Haftor Medbøe (guitar) and Gunnar Halle (trumpet, voice and electronics) join creative forces in the presentation of a programme of music inspired by the Danish poet Martin N Hansen. A son of the tiny island of Als on the east coast of Denmark, Hansen’s poetry contemplates a bucolic life of times past, casting its gaze on love, belonging, and nostalgia. The project features finely woven re‐interpretations of musical settings of Hansen’s verse attributed to a variety of composers from the first half of the 20th century. Across the material, Medbøe and Halle seek to translate the texts into a suite of tone‐poems, in which the story‐telling spirit of the original dialect verse is given new life and fresh perspective.

 

Haftor Medbøe was born in Norway but has for many years been resident in Scotland where he holds the posts of Jazz Musician in Residence and Head of Humanities & Culture at Edinburgh Napier University. Haftor has released albums with his eponymous group on Linn Records, and Fabrikant Records, with Norwegian compatriots Espen Eriksen and Gunnar Halle on Losen records, and more recently with Swedish pianist Jacob Karlzon and power‐trio Will of the People on Copperfly. http://www.haftormedboe.com

Gunnar Halle is a Norwegian trumpet player living in Oslo. In April 2015 the first album in his name, Istanbul Sky, came out on German label Ozella Music, and since then he has been touring with his own quartet. In recent years he has also played with Mari Boine, Eivind Aarset Sonic Codex, Berke Can Ozcan, duo with Espen Eriksen, Pierre Dørge & The New Jungle Orchestra, Lars Andreas Haug, Josefine Lindstrand, and Solfrid Molland.

5th March, 8pm at The Blue Lamp

 

Admission: £15, concession £12, students £5

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Aki Remally & Fraser Urquhart – Gil Scott Heron Song Book

Extraordinary guitarist and vocalist Aki Remally and outstanding young pianist Fraser Urquhart join forces to pay homage to Gil Scott‐Heron with . They delve deep into the work of the revolutionary poet, jazz musician and rap pioneer whose lyrics expressed views on politics, culture and social injustice ‐ expect a whole lotta funk, jazz and soul tunes from Gil Scott‐Heron’s repertoire.

So for those who don’t know much about Gil, a brief history: A poet, jazz musician and rap pioneer who used mordant lyrics to express his views on politics and culture, throughout his 40‐year career, Scott‐Heron delivered a militant commentary not only on the African‐American experience, but on wider social injustice and political hypocrisy.

Gil lived by this creed and throughout a magnificent musical career, he helped people again and again, with his willingness and ability to articulate deep truths, through his eloquent attacks on injustices and by his enormous compassion for people’s pain.’

12th March, 8pm at The Blue Lamp

 

Admission: £15, concession £12, students £5

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Tina May & Brain Kellock – Oscar and Ella

Ella Fitzgerald was the greatest jazz singer of all and to celebrate her centenary last year, the UK’s leading jazz vocalist Tina May and her world class accompanist, Scotland’s own pianist Brian Kellock revisited the classic meeting between Ella and piano giant Oscar Peterson for an enthusiastically received national tour. We’re delighted to welcome them to the Blue Lamp to open our new Autumn season with a reprise of their Ella & Oscar show because reports of the tour told us that the duo was absolutely flying, creating freshly minted versions of songs including April in Paris and Midnight Sun every night.

Tina May has sung with a kaleidoscope of talents including the great American jazz players Nat Adderley, Joe Henderson, Kenny Clarke and Ray Bryant, whose songs she wrote lyrics for and recorded with Bryant himself at the legendary Van Gelder studio in New Jersey. Her latest album, Cafe Paranoia, a tribute to the hippest of hip jazz singers, Mark Murphy, has received unanimously warm praise. Her great friend and musical sounding board, Brian Kellock is the creative master sought out by Stanley Turrentine, Scott Hamilton, Sheila Jordan, Carol Kidd and many more as their accompanist of choice and is revered for his long‐running partnership with saxophonist Tommy Smith.

Consummate singing, supreme musicianship and two natural onstage personalities combine in an evening of musical magic.

19th March, 8pm at The Blue Lamp

 

Admission: £18, concession £15, students £5

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