Pop: Jazz & Blues

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Baritone saxophonist Alan Barnes and pianist David Newton combined on one of the most enjoyable albums of last year - the low-key, yet arresting Below Zero on Concord. That would be reason enough to venture out to the Pizza Express Jazz Club, Dean Street on Tuesday, but these are highly proficient performers with a wealth of other material up their sleeves. They are therefore worthy substitutes for Art Farmer, the lyrical trumpet player who takes a night off from his lengthy Dean Street run with the Stan Tracey Trio, from tonight until Monday and then again from Wednesday until the end of the week.

If it's more of an upbeat sound you require, then head for Camden's Jazz Cafe, where the original organ great Jimmy Smith is in residence from Monday. Now in his 70s, the man who pretty much defined modern organ playing with a series of Blue Note releases in the late 1950s and early 1960s can still fill a dancefloor.

Meanwhile, at Ronnie Scott's, Frith Street, Nnenna Freelon, a young singer influenced by the jazz divas Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan as well as vocal groups such as the Chi-Lites, makes her debut appearance from Monday to Saturday. Freelon netted an early champion in the Marsalis patriarch, Ellis, and has lately won the approval of Herbie Hancock, who performs on her version of his early classic, "Maiden Voyage", the title track of her recent Concord album.

Tomorrow, Ian Shaw, the fine singer who often teams up with Claire Martin, is at the 606 Club, Chelsea in advance of his fourth CD in three years, while Tuesday sees former Ronnie Scott pianist John Critchinson at the same venue. A strong week for the Lots Road club sees South African pianist perform his appealing brand of township jazz on Thursday.

On Friday, The Space in West Ferry Road follows up shows by two distinctive Brits, Django Bates (above) and John Taylor, with a performance by acclaimed baritone saxophonist John Surman. Now a mainstay of the ECM label, he can also be heard in a more 1970s context on two recent reissues of his material.

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