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Ronnie Scott’s April-June programme includes Joe Lovano Trio Tapestry, Donny McCaslin, Fergus McCreadie…

Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club recently announced their concert season from April to June. Among the performers are Joe Lovano, Donny McCaslin and Fergus McCreadie. Charles Rees writes…

Joe Lovano. Photo credit: Craig Lovell.

Joe Lovano , one of the titans of the saxophone, will be back in London in May.

Lovano’s emergence as an international soloist in the early ’90s single-handedly triggered a revolution among tenor saxophonists, whose approach had been dominated by the powerful, bright sounds of Michael Brecker, Bob Berg and Steve Grossman for over a decade.

Lovano at the time brought something new to the table: the clarity and technical precision of those aforementioned players, yet with a tone much less abrasive; more akin to that of Lester Young and Stan Getz, mixed in with a healthy dose of Joe Henderson. His recordings on Blue Note during that era are among the finest in recent years: albums such as Landmarks, From the Soul and Quartets: Live at the Village Vanguard, not to mention his several recordings with the John Scofield Quartet.

His fans were therefore disappointed to learn that the UK had been left off his recent European tour. Theories began circulate that the decision was related to the pandemic, to Brexit, or to a plethora of other geopolitical conundrums. The good news is that whatever the issue was has been resolved — Joe Lovano is set to appear at Ronnie Scott’s for a two-night residency on 19 and 20 May as part of his second post-pandemic European tour. He is joined by pianist Marilyn Crispell and percussionist Carmen Castaldi, both of whom appeared on his most recent record, Garden of Expression (reviewed for LJN by John Bungey), some of the music from which they will be touring.

Donny McCaslin. Publicity photo.

Donny McCaslin is probably best known as one of the musicians handpicked by David Bowie to play on his award-winning final album, Blackstar. Extended improvised solos, the likes of those on tracks such as “Dollar Days”, “I Can’t Give Everything Away” and the title track, are rare among the mainstream rock releases of today. They serve as an example of what Bowie saw in the saxophonist: a player easily categorised as a ‘jazz’ musician, yet one with a clear rock/metal influence — one need only listen to his album Blow. (Motéma, 2018) to realise this. McCaslin is coming to Ronnie Scott’s for just one night on Saturday, 28 May. He is joined by Jason Lindner on keyboards, Tim Lefevre on bass, and Nate Woods on drums.

Fergus McCreadie. Photo credit Dave Stapleton.

Scottish pianist Fergus McCreadie first gained national attention during the 2018 BBC Young Jazz Musician final. He has since taken Europe’s jazz scene by storm, performing extensively and releasing his well-received second album Cairn (Edition, 2021). One of the unique angles of McCreadie’s music is the sound which is redolent of his Scottish heritage, which he has blended with the rich jazz tradition. His new album, Forest Floor, will be released in April. The album launch will be at Ronnie Scott’s on 19 April with his trio featuring David Bowden on bass and Stephen Henderson on drums.

Other performers include Jamaican pianist Monty Alexander, French/American vocalist Cyrille Aimee, British saxophonist and composer Tim Garland, and American multi-instrumentalist Philip Lassiter. Full list below.

FULL LIST OF APRIL TO JUNE DATES JUST / ANNOUNCED AND OPEN FOR BOOKING

APRIL
Monday 4th April (5.30pm) Henry Spencer’s Juncture 
Monday 4th April (8.30pm) Rory Ingham’s Trombone Assembly 
Thursday 5th May The Blessed Rains present: The Music of Toto 
Wednesday 6th April (5.30pm) The Haggis Horns 
Wednesday 6th April (8.30pm) Josef Akin 
Thursday 7th April – Saturday 9th April Monty Alexander 
Monday 11th April James Morrison Quartet 
Tuesday 19th April (5.30pm) Fergus McCreadie Trio 
Tuesday 19th April (8.30pm) Slowly Rolling Camera 

MAY
Sunday 1st May Myra Melford`s Fire and Water Quintet 
Tuesday 3rd May (5.30pm) Laila Biali 
Friday 6th May Kahil El’Zabar Quartet 
Saturday 7th May The Lovers of Invention – tribute to Frank Zappa 
Tuesday 10th May (5.30pm) Emma Rawicz ‘Incantation’ 
Tuesday 10th (8.30pm) Nikitch & Kuna Maze 
Wednesday 11th May (8.30pm) Canadian Jazz Collective 
Sunday 15th May Natalie Williams’ Soul Family 
Monday 16th May Cyrille Aimée 
Thursday 19th and Friday 20th May Joe Lovano ‘Trio Tapestry’ 
Friday 27th May Philip Lassiter 
Saturday 28th May Donny McCaslin 
Sunday 29th May W3 Funk Sessions 
Monday 30th May Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra 

JUNE
Wednesday 1st June (5.30pm) Tim Garland – Vigil Songbook 
Friday 3rd June Janette Mason – Wall to Wall Bowie 
Wednesday 8th June (5.30pm) Steve Hunt’s Elektrik Market 
Saturday 11th June (8.30pm) Binker Golding 
Friday 24th June Azymuth 
Sunday 26th June W3 Funk Sessions 

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