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Review : LJF opening night launch

Steve Coleman
Drawing by Geoff Winston. All Rights Reserved.

Jazz on 3/ London Jazz Festival opening night launch
(Ronnie Scott’s, 11th November 2011. Review by John L Walters)

The Jazz on 3 festival launch gig at Ronnie’s was bookended by two exceptional performances: the superb tuba-player Oren Marshall; and singer Gregory Porter, who deserves every bit of hype  thrown his way.

After a short steampunk solo (sadly off-air) that pushed the tuba through a phalanx of effects, Marshall’s Anglo-Ghanaian Charming Transport Band kicked off a highly entertaining evening, which can beheard on the BBC’s iPlayer until 18 Nov2011.


Oren Marshall
Drawing by Geoff Winston. All Rights Reserved

In between were sets by Steve Coleman‘s inscrutable trio Reflex (Marcus Gilmore, drums; Cuban pianist David Virelles). Coleman’s appearance was a career high point for presenter Jez Nelson, clutching a treasured piece of Coleman vinyl from the 1980s. Nelson asked the saxophonist about the advantages of playing in a trio. ‘We get to play more,’ said Coleman.

He was followed by the curious punk-prog-thrash of Guillaume Perret’s Electric Epic [playing at C.A.M.P. next Wednesday], whose intricately stacked layers of noise gave me a feeling of déjà entendu.

Gregory Porter
Drawing by Geoff Winston. All Rights Reserved

That criticism might be levelled at Gregory Porter, whose opener, a perfect reading of the Carmichael-Mercer standard Skylark, wastimeless. Yet Porter is completely contemporary, transcending eraswith an audacious, high-octane version of Wayne Shorter’s Back Nile and ending with a funky, full throated 1960 What?, prompting  a no-holds-barred performance from the venue’s own trio of JamesPearson, Sam Burgess and Dave Ohm.

londonjazzfestival.org.uk

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