Commencing tonight at the Pizza Express in Dean Street, the F-IRE Collective’s Festival of New Talent will showcase what Time Out Magazine has called ‘the future of London jazz’. The presence of F-IRE Collective pianist and composer Dave O’Brien will be felt throughout the festival. O’Brien has hand-picked the groups playing for the opening night at Dean Street, and for the rest of the festival which is to take place at cult-1960’s hangout The Pheasantry on the King’s Road (also a Pizza Express venue) throughout next week.
Monday 24th: Dave O’Brien works part-time in his parents’ piano shop (Knightsbridge Pianos at Parsons Green). Not only does provide him with time and space for practice, but more importantly, it has proved to be a great opportunity for other pianists to come and jam with him. These jam sessions, featuring various piano personnel over the years lead quite organically to my first recommendation, the ‘Keyboard Kinship’ event. Featured alongside O’Brien are the talents of the fantastic Kit Downes, Empirical’s George Fogel, the in-demand Rick Simpson and Tom Rogerson who will be taking a brief break from his breakthrough electro trio ‘Three Trapped Tigers’ (you must check them out) to join the festival. Originally intended to take place behind closed doors at the piano shop in Parsons Green, they will be making use of organs, synthesisers and fender rhodes as well as the ‘regular’ piano. This meeting of minds will present music with a huge diversity of influence including, I am told, a version of David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ as played by British electronic music pioneer Aphex Twin.
Thursday 27th. Winning the Peter Whittingham award for jazz in 2006, O’Brien has concentrated on developing his own band Porpoise Corpus, who will be featured on Thursday (again at The Pheasantry). With a progressive rock sensibility, the band retains that exciting jam-band energy while executing O’Brien’s intricate and powerful compositions. Tom Ward and Tom Challenger feature on saxophones as well as French guitarist Jonathan Brateoff who will also be playing a set with his quartet on the same night, launching his latest CD ‘Mindscapes’.
Saturday 29th. The final night of the festival features bands with fine singers. Ben Davis, the cellist of Basquiat Strings, which gained a Mercury Music Prize nomination, brings his new collaborative project Portrait Bellevue to the Pheasantry. Featuring the enigmatic mezzo-soprano Fumi Okiji alongside the inimitable multi-instrumentalist Zac Gvirtzman on piano, this trio truly breathes a life into the oldest and deepest of jazz standards.
Following that, another Dave O’Brien group will take to the stage: Shadow Writing is a quartet playing some of the most progressive soul music in this country. Vocalist Neo Joshua of the in-vogue A cappella group The Boxettes fronts the band alongside co-shadow writers Rich Gold (gtr) and Ed Hiller (drums).
For full listings of the festival see our previous post on the festival
Pete Horsfall’s own band TALKING SAGES will be appearing tomorrow, Sunday 23rd, opposite Same Crowe’s ban. Talking Sages features freestyle MCs Bill Zoot and Twinky Blu Tac, with Pete himself, Dave Shulman on alto Saxophone, Ruth Goller, bass, Dave O’Brien, keyboards and Mike Clowes on drums.