Saxophonist Tony Kofi’s award-winning Thelonious Monk tribute quartet, pianists Julian Joseph OBE and Zoe Rahman, Jazz FM Breakthrough Act, drummer Jas Kayser and internationally revered Danish bassist Jasper Høiby…are among the musicians set to appear in the first season of events at World Heart Beat Embassy Gardens, the vibrant new concert venue in the heart of Nine Elms. Feature by Rob Adams:
Launched in November and housing a music education centre and recording studio, as well as a state of the art, 200-capacity concert hall, the new building will enable leading music charity World Heart Beat to build on its track record of providing music education that is accessible to all social groups and will present an eclectic programme featuring some of the biggest names in contemporary jazz. (Address and booking link below)
The concert hall is the first new venue of its kind to open in London since Guildhall School of Music and Drama’s Milton Court Concert Hall in 2013. It is the first auditorium in the UK to install the revolutionary 360-degree d&b immersive Soundscape EnScene system and will enable all audience members to experience the same audio quality throughout the auditorium. Its aim is to provide an unparalleled experience for artists and audiences alike and the opening programme has been specially chosen to showcase the concert hall’s unique atmosphere.
Friday 20 January. Recognised around the world as an outstanding pianist, composer, broadcaster and musical ambassador, Julian Joseph opens the concert series with his hard-swinging trio featuring bassist Orlando Le Fleming and drummer Mark Mondesir. They’ll play original compositions as well as timeless classics from the jazz canon.
Saturday 21 January. The following evening, MOBO Award-winning pianist and Ivor Novello Impact Award winner Zoe Rahman brings her quintet to play her famously imaginative and exuberant music inspired by her British/Bengali heritage in a preview of her forthcoming album, due for release later this year.
Saturday 28 January. Tony Kofi formed his quartet to celebrate the music of Thelonious Monk in 2001 and the group has won the Best Ensemble prize at both the Parliamentary Jazz Awards and the BBC Jazz Awards while also making milestone appearances at London Jazz Festival and marking Monk’s Centenary in 2017. The quartet’s concert on Saturday 28 January is sure to be a hot ticket event.
Saturday 4 February. Renowned internationally for his power trio Phronesis, Danish double bassist Jasper Høiby returns to London with the trio Planet B on Saturday 4 February. Having sold out the Purcell Room with Planet B at EFG London Jazz Festival in November, the bassist is looking forward to making the most of World Heart Beat’s special atmosphere with this group full of ambition and vision.
Friday 10 March. A unique fusion of his Cuban heritage, African rhythms and modern jazz features in violin virtuoso Omar Puente’s Charanga Jazz Sextet on Friday 10th March. A charismatic performer, Puente brings the exuberance and irresistible grooves of traditional Charanga dance music that will appeal to the head, heart and feet in a rare opportunity to see and hear this line–up.
Thursday 16th March. An alumna of the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Jas Kayser has found herself drumming alongside her mentors Terri Lyne Carrington, Danilo Perez and Ralph Peterson and has performed a drum duet with Lenny Kravitz as well as featuring in bands with vocalist Jorja Smith and saxophonist Nubya Garcia. Her trio’s appearance on Thursday 16th March will be the perfect illustration of how she came to win both the Jazz FM Breakthrough Act award and the Parliamentary Jazz Awards Best Newcomer title in 2021.
Looking forward to this inaugural programme, World Heart Beat founder Sahana Gero MBE said, “I’m really excited about the fact that everyone we’ve booked has an international profile, or is at the cusp of breaking big. In the intimate setting of this new concert venue this is a really great chance for audiences to get up close with these artists in such an incredible acoustic space.”
World Heart Beat Embassy Gardens is at 3 Ponton Rd, Nine Elms, London SW11 7BD
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Categories: Feature/Interview (PP)