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Preview: Two rare sightings for Michael Janisch’s Anniversary gig

PREVIEW: Michael Janisch presents on October 15th –
First House: Stan Sulzmann/Michael Janisch/Leon Parker
Second House: David Lyttle’s Dark Tales

Michael Janisch started producing/promoting/playing a monthly gig at the Pizza Express in September 2009. And the celebrations of the first anniversary will be on October 15th. Surely that’s a month late? Yes, but with a VERY good reason.

Mike and Sarah Janisch’s daughter Eliza was born in mid-September. And no gig in September has meant that mother, daughter, and also dad have been able spend some time together.

Mike talked to me about some of the memorable gigs from the first year. The appearance by the legendary Lee Konitz in May stands out first and foremost. I also remember a gig with an unbelievable quartet: Mike was alongside drummer Jeff Ballard, with Jason Palmer on trumpet and Julian Siegel on tenor saxophone making magic, reviewed HERE. Or the one with Jim Hart and Ralph Alessi more recently, in July. This is a great series, Mike makes a unique contribution to the London scene.

There will be two houses at the Pizza Express on October 15th, the first with that concentrated form the saxophone/ bass/ drums trio, the second adding a piano. Each band will play a 90-minute set.

First up is a rare sighting in London of Leon Parker, a legendary American drummer now based in Europe – above on video at Marciac with Jacky Terrasson’s trio. He is known for his minimalism, at various points in his career having dispensed with parts of the normal drum kit. Other pianists Parker has played with Brad Meldhau, Danilo Perez, Kenny Barron. The Pizza Express date will be with Janisch and saxophonist Stan Sulzmann. I am expecting an intensity to rival Joe Henderson or Joe Lovano in this format. And I hope it gets recorded.

For the second set, there will be a project assembled by the very inventive Northern Irish drummer/composer David Lyttle, I haven’t heard him live, but liked this quote about him from the Irish Sunday Tribune.

“Bidding fair for the title of Ireland’s hardest-working jazz musician, Belfast drummer David Lyttle has spent the last decade assiduously nurturing relationships with colleagues on the international scene, including leading groundbreaking American saxophonist Greg Osby and British firebrand Soweto Kinch.”

Completing the second line-up are pianist Robert Mitchell, plus another musician whose London appearances are infrequent, Tim Warfield. Warfield made a big mark on the New York scene in the 1990’s with Nicholas Payton. But, rather than New York, New York, he is now based in York, Pennsylvania. According to a 2008 JazzTimes interview, he values the proximity to his family, and can normally be heard in Baltimore, Philadelphia or Washington.

Full details of timings and pricings are on Michael Janisch’s website. The November gig will be with guitarist Mike Moreno, part of the London Jazz Festival. Bookings at Pizzaexpresslive.co.uk

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