Pizza Express Steinway Festival- Joe Stilgoe’s picks

The Pizza Express Dean StreetTwo Steinways Piano Festival runs from April 15th to 18th. The line-up is so strong, In fact, I can’t see a single weak link in the programming.

So I was curious to find out which of the gigs pianist/singer Joe Stilgoe (above) really gets enthusiastic about.

Stilgoe himself is playing opposite fellow singer-pianist Anthony Strong on the late show on Saturday 17th (Doors open 10pm). And he tells me he’ll be playing a real broad selection of songs from Hoagy Carmichael to Cole Porter to Dave Frishberg and Johnny Mandel to Harry Nilsson, with originals by Joe and Anthony and some serious stride piano duetting, echoing the mighty Erroll Garner and Fats Waller.

We talked first about John Taylor, playing on Friday, and on stupendous form on Plushmusic’s TV channel (CLICK ON THE PICTURE). “John Taylor is Britsh jazz royalty. He always gives me that strong sense of composition as he improvises. Of all the pianists in the UK, John Taylor has the most of what’s great about Keith Jarrett. That strong, classically inspired melodic line.”

And then, in the same lineage there’s Gwilym Simcock, on the early set Saturday, before Stilgoe’s set. “Probably the most gifted young pianist in the country, if not the world. He’s sickeningly good.” And the pairing of Tom Cawley and Kit Downes for the Friday early set: “Their duo CD, Homely is a great album., and their matching beards are something to marvel at.”

For verve and sheer technique, Joe Stilgoe also recommends Joey Calderazzo and Julian Joseph on the Thursday night. “They make a fascinating pairing. Julian Joseph came a number of times to Southampton where I was a student at the University. He was an early inspiration for me as a rookie jazz pianist, and seeing those sausage fingers flaying the keyboard is something else. And then there’s Ian Shaw, a great friend, with the mighty Liane Carroll (late show Friday).”

“But really you should just come to my one.”

The full festival programme is as follows (tickets HERE :

Thu-15-Apr : Julian Joseph & Joey Calderazzo
Show Time 7:30pm / Doors Open 6:00pm

Thu-15-Apr (late): Julian Joseph & Joey Calderazzo
Show Time 10:30pm / Doors Open 10:00pm

Fri-16-Apr : Tom Cawley & Kit Downes and John Taylor & Richard Fairhurst
Show Time 7:30pm / Doors Open 6:00pm

Fri-16-Apr: (Late) Ian Shaw & Liane Carroll
Show Time 10:30pm / Doors Open 10:00pm

Sat-17-Apr (Lunch): Younee & Alex Hutton and Kate Williams & Robin Aspland
Show Time 1:30pm / Door Time 12:00pm

Sat-17-Apr Gwilym Simcock & Aaron Goldberg and Robert Mitchell & Kaidi Tatham
Show Time 7:30pm / Doors Open 6:00pm

Sat-17-Apr (late):Joe Stilgoe & Anthony Strong
Show Time 10:30pm / Doors Open 10:00pm

Sun-18-Apr (Lunch): Bojan Z & Baptiste Trotignon
Show Time 1:30pm / Door Time 12:00pm

Sun-18-Apr: Yaron Herman & Gary Husband
Show Time 8:00pm / Doors Open 6:30pm

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