Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Toulouse Lautrec Jazz Jam: Kennington, London 31/3/14

Carmen: Toulouse Lautrec Jazz Jam - Kennington, London 31/3/14
Carmen: Toulouse Lautrec Jazz Jam - Kennington, London 31/3/14 Ted Emmett: Toulouse Lautrec Jazz Jam - Kennington, London 31/3/14 Ike Leo: Toulouse Lautrec Jazz Jam - Kennington, London 31/3/14 Toulouse Lautrec Jazz Jam - Kennington, London 31/3/14 Toulouse Lautrec Jazz Jam - Kennington, London 31/3/14 Toulouse Lautrec Jazz Jam - Kennington, London 31/3/14 Carmen: Toulouse Lautrec Jazz Jam - Kennington, London 31/3/14

This is one of the most happening jams in townâ€Â¦this is no backend of a boozer type vibe, but a highly polished affair with a good PA and a light show! The music is solid too and the players are great. There's a very supportive atmosphere and if you're looking to sit in, all instruments, including singers are made most welcome. Congenial host, Master of Ceremonies & bad jokes, Jason Lyon (a local jazzer of some repute), runs the session every Monday with his top flight house bandâ€Â¦including Al Gibson on double bass and in demand drummer Gabor Dornyei. Most weeks they also have special guests feature, which in the past has included Tony Kofi, Brandon Allen and Quentin Collins.

Tonight saw trumpeter Ted Emmett kick proceedings off with a highly lyrical version of "Laura", his flugel sounded particularly good / ballads sound great on it. Flugelhorns don't generally hold as high a range, so screaming bebop doesn't exactly fit, yet it can be done (Freddie Hubbard on flugelhorn for example) however I digressâ€Â¦

Joining Ted on tenor sax was the fiery Ike Leo with his hard bop approach proving to be the perfect foible to Emmett's flurries. Ami Rothenberg's propulsive drumming was a particular highlight, a man who clearly enjoys his job spurring on bassist Gibson who took the cue to take flight too.

Pianist Benjamin Croft, my favourite accompanist and a truly gifted musician by far, proved to be a blessing as he rescued the striking looking but temporarily derailed Gheniyo on that old evergreen "Summertime." His melodic approach is second to none, displaying his captivating chemistry of tonal fragility, resourcefulness and his naturally innate leanings towards swing keeps things bubbling along and interesting.

Things were hotting upâ€Â¦enter Carmen looking great in a yellow coat and pink head scarf. This lady has style and injects a bristling energy with her earthy Ma Rainey / Big Mama Thornton version of "Hound Dog" cutting through the extensive jazz blowing, demonstrating there is nothing contrived about her bluesy yearnings with the group's languid feel featuring the choppy rolling, New Orleans piano style of regular attendee Marcus Hill. Raw and visceral Carmen most definitely cuts the mustard!

This is a great place to unwind, it's full of old school gallic charmâ€Â¦no wonder I spotted the Rt. Hon. Ken Clarke MP and minister of jazz, enjoying himself - he knows it's a good hangout, whether you are a muss or a music lover. The food and drink is pretty good too and there is 20% off your bill if you participate - can't be bad! House set starts at 9pm and the Jamâ€Â¦10pm onwards. A great way to start the week daddio!

PHOTOS: ARCHIBALD LEACH
Words Emrys Baird

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