Denys & Dennis
October is Black History Month, stimulating two major manifestations from the Black British Jazz community. Firstly, a suite by saxophonist Denys Baptiste, "Let Freedom Ring" incorporating Jazz, gospel, blues and Afro-Cuban music with poetry. Secondly, Dennis Rollins's "Griots & Garage" a musical exploration of the African Diaspora, combining dance elements with musical soundscapes. Both pieces come as a tour and a CD and both reference Martin Luther King's timeless "I have a dream" speech, not unsurprisingly as this is the 40th anniversary of that rousing declaration.
Major shock on the London jazz scene has been the abrupt exit of Pizza Express Jazz Club manager/ programmer Peter Wallis, who had quietly and effectively built up the venue to be a major challenge to Ronnie Scott's. The Soho Club was both a flagship for the extensive Pizza Express fast food chain and also something of an anomaly if the new owners of the enterprise have no particular jazz interests. In a uncharacteristically emotional message to his friends in the jazz world the normally reserved Wallis started "It has been a magical 10 years, stacked high with memories that are the stuff of dreams."
Regina Carter at the Royal Festival Hall (10th), Abdullah Ibrahim Trio (25th), Tim Garland/ Jo Locke/ Geoff Keezer bring together their terrific trio to Pizza Express Jazz Club (8th-12th): rare chance to see Hammond guru Brian Auger at Jazz Cafe (18th).
Get out of town:: Jonathan Abbott ::
Stacey Kent launches her new album "The Boy Next Door" with a marathon 18 concert UK tour. Preston introduces its own "Feast of Jazz & Blues" (Oct 14-19) with Humphrey Lyttelton, Zoot Money, Otis Grand, Alan Barnes, Stan Tracey & Steve Melling (01772 712 861). Peterborough Jazz Club presents high-energy US vibist Joe Locke with Dave O'Higgins (31st), Sheffield welcomes Steve Williamson (17th) and [b)Soweto Kirnch[/b] appears at Manchester's "Band on the Wall" (9th) and at Bath (18th).
October tours of note
"Snapshot of Paris" captures the next wave of afro-beat DJ's, chanson, electronica & left-bank jazz with Steve Arguelles, Benoit Delbeca, Frederic Galliano and Guinean singer Hadja Kouyate (London 27th, Leeds 28th, Nottingham 29th, Bracknell 30th, Liverpool 1st, Birmingham 2nd). And top UK jazz singer Norma Winstone takes an impressive band on the road with "Shorter Stories", a celebration of Wayne Shorter's music. Band includes pianist Robert Mitchell, Saxophonist Julian Siegel and bassist Michael Mandesir (Birmingham 10th, Norwich 13th, Nottingham 15th, Bradford-on-Avon 17th, Oxford 18th and York 23rd).
Coming in November, the London Jazz Festival (14th-23rd) with headliners Bobby McFerrin, Dianne Reeves, Oumou Sangare, E.S.T., Courtney Pine, Mingus Orchestra, Danilo Perez, David Sanborn, Yellow Jackets, Rabih Abou-Khalil, Randy Weston and Verve's piano prodigy Jamie Cullum.