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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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