Live review

Jazz Leeds Festival 2019

Jazz Leeds Festival 2019
(Various venues, 18-21 July 2019. Photographs and report by William Ellis)

I’ve just spent the weekend at the Jazz Leeds Festival – now in its 3rd year with a top international line up and leading UK musicians – and a fringe featuring some very talented local established and emergent musicians. The main venues were The Wardrobe and Leeds College of Music – the contrast of concert hall and club vibe was appreciated – each lending a context that added to their events.

Andy Sheppard (and Espen Eriksen) (Photo © William Ellis)

The weekend opened with Andy Sheppard (who tells me he now lives in sunny Lisbon!) playing with the Espen Eriksen Trio and set a very high bar which was consistently reached over the next couple of days.

The Shai Maestro Trio (Photo © William Ellis)

I particularly enjoyed the piano based trios – Shai Maestro is aptly named, I’m sure not the first one to write that…. There was an almost organic development of some of the pieces. The seeds of a rhythm tapped out on the piano case and warmed into life by drummer Ofri Nohemy and the joyful Jorge Roeder on bass and on-the-fly melodic playing by Shai. Jazz!!

Jean Toussaint, one of the Windrush Jazz Celebrants… (Photo © William Ellis)

…and another, Rod Youngs (Photo © William Ellis)

Windrush Jazz Celebration – headed up by Trevor Watkis more than did justice to the compositions of the great Jamaican trumpeter as they explored the Music of Dizzy Reece.

The Electric Lady Big Band’s horns waiting to be blown (Photo © William Ellis)

Jimi Hendrix is my original musical hero – and Denny Ilett’s Electric Lady Big Band‘s exploration of Jimi’s masterpiece Electric Ladyland double album was a gig I’ve wanted to attend since their launch last year to mark the album’s 50th Anniversary. It was a very memorable concert, energy, exuberance and a deep feeling for the spirit of music was felt through the colourful arrangements.

A welcome contrast was the collaboration between vocalist Brigitte Beraha and pianist Frank Harrison – a perfect pairing, beautiful pure sounds of romance and melody.

It was great to be back in the saddle shooting concerts. I’ve missed the excitement of the moments in performance – and all that crawling around at the front…. Looking forward to the next one – Jazz Leeds Festival 2020.

LINK: William Ellis website

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