A new jazz venue opened on Friday: Friday Jazz at Ladbroke Hall. Report by Lavender Sutton
There’s a new venue in town tucked away just south of the Grand Union canal in Notting Hill. The historic Ladbroke Hall boasts an upcoming ‘Friday Jazz’ Series. The first night was on 22 September, and the series continues through the autumn season with an eclectic and exciting programme of both established and up-and-coming musicians.
Ladbroke Hall has been a historic landmark here since 1903, originally built as the state-of-the-art Clément-Talbot Motor Works. A partnership that was born out of the Earl of Shrewsbury and Talbot’s love of Clément Cars. The result became Britain’s first purpose-built car factory.
Despite its uses being mostly practical and ordinary (from armoured car manufacturer during WWI to repair centre in the post-war era) Lord Shrewsbury designed the building to resemble the stately homes that he and his clients would have been accustomed to living in and thus Ladbroke Hall maintains the most beautiful structural design.
With that in mind, fast forward to co-founder Loic Le Gaillard’s vision to transform the space into the Carpenters Workshop Gallery and the Sunbeam Theatre. All of the fantastic features of the original building design are showcased and now juxtaposed with carefully curated art pieces, sculpture and design elements that make this a contemporary hub for social and creative gathering. It’s advertised as “a stage for artists, writers, musicians, architects and creative thought leaders” and their mission statement is to “welcome maverick, bright, curious and kind people”.
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And the first Friday Jazz event did just that. It was a buzz of excitement with a wide variety of locals, art supporters, friends of the community and curious newcomers. The helpful staff guided people to their seats down the iconic staircase, suggesting the most unique cocktail or suitable wine, dressed in mechanic boiler suits, as a nod to the history of the place.
This first performance featured the programme’s curator, Zhenya Strigalev, on tenor and alto saxophone, and his trio: Tim Lapthorn (piano), Oli Hayhurst (bass), and Shane Forbes (drums) along with a selection of very special guests.
Le Gaillard introduced the evening with a speech about his connection to the jazz world. Brought to the music at a young age by his father (who was also in attendance) he had spent many years visiting Ronnie Scott’s when Ronnie Scott was still alive. His dream to create a space for jazz lovers to come and celebrate the music in that same way is now realised.
Strigalev’s band started off the evening with a familiar Glenn Miller tune which featured Sean Payne on alto saxophone and the two saxophonists impressively playing unison lines as the audience watched on in amazement. Soon after, he invited some of his other special guests to the stage. Soweto Kinch brought his undeniable spirit as he joined on tenor, and the 3 saxophones continued to wow the crowd with whispers about their formidable talent.
The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly newcomer vocalist Lucy-Anne Daniels. From Leeds and still studying at the Birmingham Conservatoire, her stage presence and charisma lit up the stage as she performed some interesting renditions of classic standards like After You’ve Gone and I’m Old Fashioned. She had an ease about her, interacting with the other musicians with beautiful phrasing and a deep understanding of the lyrics. The second set continued with a varied selection of original music from Strigalev and more familiar standards, with lots of musical banter and inspiring solos from all.
The upcoming programming at Ladbroke Hall certainly considers something for everyone.
FORTTHCOMING FRIDAY JAZZ EVENTS AT LADBROKE HALL
- On 29 September, flautist Gareth Lockrane’s quartet featuring Nadim Teimoori (tenor sax), Jim Watson (piano), Florence Moore (bass), Steve Brown (drums) will perform some high-energy original music.
- October boasts Baptiste Herbin and Richard Mannetti (6 Oct), Giacomo Smith (13 Oct), Zhenya Strigalev (20 Oct)
- The Jean Toussaint Quartet will play on 27 Oct.
- Continuing on into November, Mozes Rosenberg and Giacomo Smith will be performing some legendary gypsy jazz as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival (10 Nov)
- Ian Shaw will be gracing the stage with his solo show ‘When Bowie Met Joni’ (24 Nov).
Ladbroke Hall have set their sights high to present the best of the best in Jazz in one of the most interesting designer venues in the city. For a stylish, upmarket alternative to Ronnie Scott’s, it’s most definitely worth a visit.
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