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Lined up for Jazz Line-Up : J Gwizdala (29 Apr) and M Speake (20 May)

Jazz Line-Up has recorded two programmes in the past week. Looking for one of those irrelevant and specious common links…..here are two world-class players who were both born in years ending in an “8” in outer London boroughs: saxophonist Martin Speake hails from Barnet, US-based electric bassist Janek Gwizdala, he’s from Mitcham.

1) For broadcast on 29 April is a set recorded at the Jazz Bar in Edinburgh feaaturing Janek Gwizdala – Bass, Gary Husband – Keys, Bob Reynolds – Sax and Louie Palmer, Drums. This is the band whose London gig was enthusiastically reviewed for us by Rob Mallows

2) For broadcast on 20th May is a lovely programme recorded in Kings Place Hall Two. Martin Speake played a short gentle, mellifluous set in duo with guitarist Colin Oxley – as featured in the album above.  A highlight was a beautifully paced Besame Mucho. Then a quartet set with Barry Green on piano, Chris Hyson on bass and Tom Skinner on drums.

Hall Two of Kings Place now definitely has the right vibe for this kind of intimate gig, and one could sense that all the players were in the right frame of mind from the start. Martin Speake had been inspired by the call to devise a programme for Jazz Line-Up to write some new compositions. He said the inspiration had taken a while to come. But there is no doubt: it did. These new tunes will bear repeated playing, listening, pure class.

I thought the two three-four numbers were stunningly good, and brought out the poise, balance and musicality of this group, particularly bassist Hyson, who was neatly grounding the three in every bar with an elegantly stated, deftly placed first beat. Folksong for Paul, dedicated to Paul Motian, and Keep in Touch both had me thinking as the tunes ended that I wouldn’t want to miss out on hearing them again. The broadcast is already in the diary 

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