Jack Davies writes:
This Sunday April 1st will mark two years since the start of Jazz @ the North London Tavern. The night was either the idea of Jon Ormston, or of Tom Taylor (I think they still argue about who is to blame), and the three of us have been putting on a band a week since then, only breaking for summer and the Christmas holiday.
Two years ago the Tom Millar Trio opened proceedings, followed by the Mark Crown Quintet. We have carried on in a similar vein, trying to give gigs to as many of the great players coming out of conservatoires as possible, as well as bands led by more seasoned British jazz musicians. Watching my peers play every week confirms beyond any shadow of a doubt that conservatoires are producing a generation of inspiring creative musicians.
The variety and scope of the young London scene is incredibly impressive, and we are lucky enough that these players seem to be happy to come down and play at the NLT. I should list a few examples which immediately spring to mind: Tom Challenger recently brought his new outfit Brass Mask to the NLT – a joyful, explosively engaging modern New Orleans-type brass and reed band. Bassist Chris Hyson really made a mark with his brand new project a few weeks ago. His compositions are incredibly beautiful, meaningful music. Joe Wright’s Octet (in the video above) is always one of my favourite bands to see – his writing shows incredible inventiveness, craft and thoughtfulness.
We have also been lucky enough to get some of the big names in British jazz to come and play. Stan Sulzmann appeared with Reuben Fowler’s Octet, Julian Siegel made an appearance last week with James Maddren’s band, and we have also had regular gigs from Henry Lowther, Martin Speake, Paul Clarvis, Barry Green, Liam Noble, Nick Smart, amongst many others.
For our first birthday last year we asked James Allsopp to do his solo set, and we followed that with Richard Turner’s ‘Tuesday Workshop’, a new band he had just started. I will always associate the NLT with Rich, as he was so supportive and played there a lot – as often as we could persuade him to. This year we welcome another two of our favourite bands to mark the occasion: Liam Noble and Paul Clarvis’ duo and Barry Green’s Babelfish.
With no budget to work with we really rely on word of mouth and the support of our regular audience members. You can join our Facebook group for updates on the upcoming gigs, and we do honestly have some of the best in British jazz every week. Despite all the debates, our entry price is still a recession-proof £5, and the downstairs bar serves lots of very nice beers.
I hope you can come down and celebrate two years of great gigs with us on Sunday.