What's happening: UK jazz news & selected gigs for January
The Vortex saga marches on
'Save the Vortex' campaign goes from strength to strength: Rock wrinkly Charlie Watts has agreed to be patron of the Vortex Jazz Foundation, the new charity set up to save Stoke Newington's seminal jazz loft
Another celeb expressing an interest in the club is Elton John, who allegedly assumed his alter ego after saxophonist (and Vortex regular) Elton Dean…
as part of its fundraising effort to raise £100,000 by March, the club has organised a special benefit concert on January 10 at Ocean in Hackney, with some of Britain's "jazz royalty" - over 40 musicians on stage during the course of the evening, including Cleo Laine and John Dankworth, Stan Tracey/Clark Tracey's Ellingtonia Tribute, Stan Sulzmann Big Band, Carol Grimes with all-star band led by Steve Lodder
Further benefits planned over coming months include a follow-up concert on March 7, also at Ocean (the cause of the club's original re-location problems) with a line-up to include a Vortex "mega big band" to be co-led by Eddie Parker and Huw Warren.
Jazz goes to the movies
So welcome after all the pre-Christmas excitement – snuggle down at the National Film Theatre on the South Bank with your beloved (or not) for their January season of rare jazz films - 'This is Jazz' - largely made up of long lost tv shows: BBC's 'Ellington in Europe', Wes Montgomery, Dave Brubeck, Woody Herman, and Tony Bennett with Count Basie: Jazz 625's Dizzy and Monk: and from Grenada's 'Chelsea at Nine' (ah, those were the days) Billie Holiday, Ella and Sarah Vaughan, also with Basie: plus ABC's Coleman Hawkins, Oscar Peterson and Ben Webster.
Selected London gigs
Brad Mehldau and Henri Texier and their respective trios share the bill at the Barbican on Jan 29: Flora Purim & Airto Moreira do their usual New Year stint at Ronnie Scott's (21 - 9)
The redoubtable Paolo Fresu appears with Stan Sulzman at the Vortex (24) and Nikki Yeoh's at the Jazz Café (15) Humphrey Lyttelton at the Bull's Head (also 15) and at Pinner Parish Church (19)
Steve Williamson graces the Jazz Café (16), followed by John Hendricks of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross fame (17 – 19)
New venue Bush Hall in Uxbridge Road features Matt Wates Sextet (18), Huw Warren (25)
Flavia's new flava
Robbed of the Central Bar just as she was building it into a notable new jazz venue, feisty Flavia Brilli bounces back with a new venue - on a boat!
The Battersea Barge Jazz Club opens on Jan 4th with the Gilled Atzmon 4tet and there will also be Sunday lunchtime sessions featuring Jim Watson on keyboards and Orlando Le Fleming on
bass: bookings to date are Alan Barnes (Jan 13th) Damon Brown (20th) and much talked -about tenorist Renato D'Aiello (27th):: Jonathan Abbott ::
The Battersea Barge is moored at 9 Elms Lane (tel
020 7498 0004)
UK jazz tours of note
Imaginative New York piano maven Uri Caine returns to Britain in trio for a non-stop series of dates arranged by Tony Dudley-Evans of Nu Notes, taking in the Vortex (3rd) Bristol (4th) Leeds (5th) Nottingham (6th) Kendal (7th) and Birmingham (8th): one of Britain's most important pianists John Taylor embarks on an intensive CMN tour with his trio (Marc Johnson bass, Joey Baron drums) and the Creative Jazz Orchestra (including Julian Argüelles and Iain Dixon on reeds): Queen Elizabeth Hall (23), Bristol (24) Liverpool (25) Birmingham (26) Basingstoke (27) and Sheffield (28)
Speaking of tours and their management, revered jazz label Candid have set up a new management company, Air, to fill the gap that bedevils the jazz world, i.e
Air is headed up by Marc Connor, whose wide-ranging energy rivals that of our great leader, and aims to co-ordinate tour management and media coverage to the greater good of musicians (and their record sales)..
Contact Marc on 00020 8741 3808...
Jerwood gets into jazz
Major arts benefactor Jerwood Foundation makes a palpable move towards jazz with a series of commissions for new solo works from 7 young composers at Wapping Hydraulic Power Station curated by Steve Shepherd, producer of the BBC's 'Jazz on 3' programme
Performances (they're free, folks) include Orphy Robinson (Jan 3, 5, 7, 8) cellist Ben Davis (Jan 9, 12, 16, 18, 19) and tuba maestro Oren Marshall (Jan 10, 11, 14, 15, 17)
Rumour has it that Jerwood are also considering opening a Jerwood Jazz Space to match the one already established in Southwark by the foundation to benefit the world of contemporary dance.
UK jazz gigs for February
Jazz diva Carmen Lundy is scheduled to come to Ronnie Scott's in February: the singer has a new album of nine originals out on Justin Time and is backed by a band that includes her brother, bassist Curtis Lundy, long-time associate Bobby Watson on alto sax and rising star Mark Shim on tenor
Also in February, Michael Brecker brings new compositions and an all-star large ensemble on a five-concert British tour arranged by the Arts Council's CMN as part of their 30th anniversary [www])
Kenny Baron, Billy Cobham and Ron Carter are reunited in trio at the QERH on Feb
22 and another formidable trio, Tim Garland/Geoff Keezer/Joseph Locke bring their 'Storms and Nocturnes' repertoire to Soho's Pizza Express Jazz Club followed by a short UK tour.