REVIEW : Mads Mathias UK debut at Pizza Express Dean Street

Mads Mathias at Pizza Express, February 2015
Photo credit: Cat Munro

Mads Mathias
(Pizza Express Dean Street, 24th February 2015. Review by Brian Blain)

Any misgivings about ‘gloomy Danes’ or the angsty introspection of original songs were swept away right from thr opening bars of Denmark’s Mads Mathias’s astonishing UK debut show in front of a jam-packed Dean St. Pizza Express on Tuesday, when we were treated to an electrifying evening of what can often be boring mainstream jazz from a singer, who also contributed a fair number of tasty tenor saxophone moments, who is clearly influenced by the master Kurt Elling. All the material apart from Stardust and a supersonic Tea For Two which closed the evening with scat that didn’t make you cringe,was written by this truly gifted artist and ,incredibly, it sounded like a programme of standards,with nice harmonic structures and good strong melodies that didn’t sound like pastiche or nostalgia.

Peter Rosendal, Mads Mathias at Pizza Express, February 2015
Photo credit: Cat Munro

Although they had only met earlier iin the day for the first time this was the kind of non tricksy material that allowed the rhythm section – Dave Ohm, Colin Oxley and Andy Cleyndert– to produce comfortable ,but not complacent, swing feels all built around Cleyndert’s great time. On tune after tune his great bass ‘walk’ intro’s with Mads’s stunning piano player,Peter Rosendal laying down subtle comping chords,beautifully placed in just the right places allowing Oxley and Ohm to breathe and lift Mathias up on a magic carpet of of beautiful swing time exposition: a masterclass in the classic art.

Mads Mathias, Andy Cleyndert at Pizza Express, February 2015
Photo credit: Cat Munro

The divine Georgia Mancio duetted with Mads on the title track of his new album, Free Falling, just before the break and though slightly shambolic the sheer sense of mutual pleasure and good humour seemed to spread over everyone in the room. Serious musicians sparking off each other and clearly having a great time is always one of the best experiences you can get in this music and thiis was such an occasion. Come back asap.

Mads Mathias, Andy Cleyndert, Georgia Mancio at Pizza Express, February 2015
Photo credit: Cat Munro


Thu 26th Feb – Watermill Jazz Club, Dorking
Fri 27th Feb – Pizza Express Music Room, Maidstone
Sat 28th Feb – The Cinnamon Club, Altrincham, Cheshire


Categories: miscellaneous

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