Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

Welcome To B&S



Aaron Liddard: Pizza Express, Holborn, London 10/08/2023

AA1 Aa3 Aa4 Aa4 Aa6 Aa6 Aa7

Fresh from his sell-out shows at Ronnie Scott’s, sax colossus Aaron Liddard, continued his onslaught this time at the plush branch of Pizza Express in Holborn. Another great venue to showcase his current album "Nylon Man". Critically acclaimed his music is a potpourri of musical ideas, blending tough rhythms, that incorporate Hard-bop, Cuban and Brazilian grooves dosed with funk and heavy jazz attitude.

Tonight, Liddard led with a steadfast presence and pitched straight in with surging sax solos and general bonhomie whilst crafting some clever stage business and audience participation. (On ‘Manana’ more about that later)

As well as Latin lushness funk isn’t very far away either, the taut beat on "Apple & Pears" gives way to some extremely funky goodness with a nice gritty guitar solo, also some synth wizzardy and then juicy slap bass thrown in for good measure. The beguiling Giulia Marelli was up next with the sumptuous-sounding "Snow Drops" It’s a beautiful melody and the lilting 12/8 picked up when Liddard’s strident tenor solo kicked in. She also delivered the necessary on "Beautiful" where she soared supremely with poise and gravitas.

Special guest Cuban violinist Omar Puente, fresh in from Havana on the day, added some spicey sauce on "Manana" especially when Liddard joined in egging him on triumphantly. The high octane interplay is widely apparent, especially on the closing belters, ‘My Kinda’ and the ferocious ‘Cat Food’.

Suffice it to say, Liddard and his band remind you of just how fun live music should be, there is joy, optimism (some hippy-dippy stuff) and pure playfulness in their performance. The kind of thing you would expect when players like these are well-honed and on it. Don’t be fooled by their party-style antics either, as their music is characterized by a notable level of maturity and metered out with sophisticated touches.

Words Emrys Baird

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

Join the B&S Mailing List

Blues and Soul on Twitter