Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Jamie Safir & Friends: Hampstead Jazz Club 1/11/2018


Hampstead has been an escape for townies seeking solace from the urban sprawl for centuries and has been a source of inspiration for many of the capital's greatest literary figures and artists. I'd say it's quite a probability that John Keats would have enjoyed a tipple at the Duke of Hamilton pub now housing a brand new jazz club in its basement.

It's an intimate and inviting space in the cellar or vaults of the pub and is run by Lateralize Ltd who are injecting new life into the british Jazz scene as typified by the talented house band that comprises of pianist Jamie Safir, drummer Will Cleasby and Michael Shrimpling on double bass.Safir's adroit playing was most noticeable on 'You Stepped Out Of A Dream' as was his take on Sinatra's 'What's New' with its beautifully lyrical piano intro.The scene was set for the first guest vocalist of the evening ms Judi Jackson. This intriguing singer who incidently,got her break via Snarky Puppy was certainly born to sing jazz and her rendition of the old Dietrich classic was spellbinding to say the least.How ironic then the title 'The laziest Girl In Town' !This gal is going from strength to strength and you can catch her later in the month as part of the exciting programme curated by the EFG Festival.

The ever urbane pianist Alex Webb, popped in too, to back greek cypriot songstress Drou, whose seductive tonal textures reminded me of Cleo Laine whilst playfully peeling of 'Lullaby Of Birdland' and Webb took full advantage of the swinging rhythm section to counteract the medium swing of the evening with some brashful boppin bebop! The evening was warming up and newcomer Luca Manning commanded respect with his rendition of 'The Masquerade Is Over' championed by the likes of Ian Shaw and Liane Carroll his jazz credentials are building up already Luca has been voted ‘Rising Star’ at the recent Scottish Jazz Awards and was also nominated in the ‘Best Vocalist’ category. There's a touch of the 'velvet fog' about him.

Within a stones throw from Hampstead tube station it would be well worth the saunter over and see for yourself what the club and the pub have to offer.In an age where venues are closing down it's heartwarming to see new ventures popping up - I think this one's got legs too.....
Words Emrys Baird

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