Cadogan Hall presents 18 concerts as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival, this year celebrating its 25th anniversary and the music of jazz legends and showcasing the work of emerging new talent. The line-up features artists such as the Tomasz Stańko Quartet, Malija, Eliane Elias, the Kevin Fitzsimmons Quartet, Dee Dee Bridgewater and three concerts in one day dedicated to jazz genius Thelonious Monk from Jonathan Gee, Tony Kofi, Charles Tolliver and an all-star ensemble.
Trumpeter Tomasz Stańko opens the Festival’s concerts at the Hall on Friday 10 November: when this seminal figure in European jazz meets the cutting-edge New York trio of pianist David Virelles, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Gerald Cleaver, it producers darkly atmospheric soundscapes and surging bursts of rhythm. The evening also involves saxophonist Duncan Eagles piloting his ever-evolving band Partikel, the sound of which has evolved from their core acoustic trio to subtle electronic shades.
On Saturday 11 November, pianist Michael Wollny, accordionist Vincent Peirani, saxophonist Emile Parisien and vocal gymnast Andreas Schaerer come together to not just cut loose from the boundaries of jazz, but doing it in a way which energizes the genre. Violinist Adam Bałdych and pianist Helge Lien join their heady mix of jazz, Polish and Norwegian folk music with these four stand-out individual talents from the ACT Records roster.
In Ella Fitzgerald’s centenary year, 1957: A Jazz Jukebox on Sunday 12 November features the superb musicians from the Jazz Repertory Company performing a selection of songs from her Duke Ellington Songbook; two great albums with Louis Armstrong Ella and Louis Again and Porgy and Bess as well as other highlights. The Pete Long Orchestra, with vocalists Iain Mackenzie and Georgina Jackson, also feature. Genre-bending trio Malija begins the week on Monday 13 November by performing music from its new CD Instinct along with repertoire from the previous album The Day I Had Everything. Expect in-the-moment improvisation, tango, bluegrass and abstract grooves delivered with flair and playful abandon. In the evening, Mediterranean Gypsies brings together two groups who alternate between playing together and separately: David Peña Dorantes and his trio and, in a rare British concert, Taksim Trio, playing Ottoman instruments such as the duduk, the baglama and the kanun.
The afternoon of Tuesday 14 November sees Moscow Drug Club performing tracks from their latest album Voodoo Queen alongside songs from earlier recordings whilst in the evening, charismatic pianist and singer Eliane Elias plays a rare London concert with a brand-new album Dance of Times, which celebrates the centenary of samba. It blends her Brazilian roots and sensuous, alluring voice with trademark, dynamic instrumental skills.
Relive the exhilarating evening at Pizza Express Jazz Club during which singer/songwriter Kevin Fitzsimmons recorded his long-awaiting new live album Working Day & Night on Wednesday 15 November as he and his band perform it in its entirety. Later that day, Ben L’Oncle Soul and Julie Biel offer a wild celebration of everything that’s thrilling about the classic soul revues, with all their great songs. It combines Kanye-West style R&B and Motown groove with a great, way-over-the-top live show.
Thursday 16 November sees iconic jazz vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater bring the sound of her new album Memphis…Yes, I’m Ready to Cadogan Hall, alongside alto-saxophone band leader Camilla George’s mix of her African roots, Caribbean ancestry, calypso, Afrobeat and hard bop. The unique collaboration between acclaimed jazz pianist/composer Kate Williams and the Guastalla String Quartet take to the Culford Room in the afternoon with repertoire including material by Bill Evans, Cole Porter and A.C. Jobim as well as originals by Williams.
Bringing at least ten different guitars with them, Pete Oxley and Nicolas Meier, of the Oxley-Meier Guitar Project begin their second extensive tour of the year with this gig in the afternoon of Friday 17 November. Restaurant critic, Masterchef judge and long-time jazz pianist Jay Rayner launches his quartet’s first live album A Night of Food and Agony which brings together songs about food and drink and stories about his mother, agony aunt, Claire Rayner. The band is made up of Jay, his wife, vocalist Pat Gordon-Smith, saxophonist Dave Lewis and bassist Robert Rickenberg. Singer and trumpeter Peter Horsefall preludes this with a special set.
The Guy Barker Jazz Orchestra and Southbank Sinfonia celebrate Miles Davis’ 1959 Kind of Blue on Saturday 18 November: Barker’s fascination with Miles’ music is transformed into a very personal insight into the emotional depth of Miles’ original recording, re-created for orchestra and big band. Pianist Stefano Bollani showcases his love of Naples in a performance that resonates with the heart and soul of a city full of contrasts, with a quartet that includes composer and saxophonist Daniele Sepe, one of the greatest exponents of Naples folk music, alongside clarinettist Nico Gori and drummer Bernardo Guerra.
The Festival’s concerts at the Hall come to a close with Jonathan Gee, Tony Kofi and Charles Tolliver leading an all-star ensemble through the complete works of jazz genius Thelonious Monk. He remains a seminal figure in the evolution of contemporary jazz and this event re-visits a previously landmark Festival project, playing all Monk’s songs in a day, with each of the three concerts inspired by a classic Monk album as well as recalling collaborations with the likes of Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane and Gerry Mulligan. The icing on the cake is a re-creation of Monk’s milestone 1959 Town Hall concert with music written for a ten-piece band, led by the charismatic trumpeter, arranger and founder of Strata East Records Charles Tolliver, who attended the original concert as a teenager, and who has re-constructed the original music from his treasured, original LP. Tolliver’s restaging responds in breath-taking form to the tensions and energies that made the first performance so electric – a combination of individual and group interaction, infused with Monk’s fusion of African-American rhythms, solo virtuosity and orchestral sweep.