Preview: Sam Leak’s Aquarium

Preview: Sam Leak’s Aquarium – Kings Place, Saturday 11 December, 8pm
Preview by Thomas Gray. Photo credit : Barbara Bartz

Sam Leak shows few signs of winding down in the run-up to Christmas. He has just launched his new website (www.samleak.com) and this Saturday evening (11 December) he brings his group Aquarium to Kings Place as part of the The Base gig series (see left hand column). Keeping this momentum going into 2011, the group will soon be releasing their debut album on the Babel-Vortex label. It’s a highly impressive achievement.

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Like his fellow Royal Academy of Music alumni Gwilym Simcock, Ivo Neame and Kit Downes, Leak is a thoughtful and resourceful young pianist with a wonderful touch and avery sensitive ear to the overall ensemble sound. What is striking on a first listen to his new material is how he patiently develops his lines anduses space masterfully, resisting the temptation to throw all of his flashy licks into the pot at once as some other young pianists fresh out of college tend to do (that said, he clearly has chops in abundance to draw on when he needs it).

Leak has picked some of the cream of his peer group to help flesh out his attractive compositions: the outstanding James Allsopp on tenor sax and bass clarinet (confidently spanning territory between Stan Sulzmann and Evan Parker), Calum Gourlay on bass and Josh Blackmore on drums. Joining Aquarium on Saturday will be vocalist Rhiannon Bradbury, who sounds almost like Norma Winstone on ‘Shades of Grey’.

This is another great young talent who looks more than capable of helping to keep the Brit Jazz flag proudly flying well into 2011 and beyond.

Extracts from Sam Leak’s forthcoming CD on Babel-Vortex are HERE

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