Wednesday, January 01, 2020

EFG Jazz Festival 2019

London. November-2019

A busy few weeks packed with music from the EFG Jazz Festival plus other gigs.

Jan Garbarek Group at the Royal Festival Hall
London. Sunday 17-November-2019.

John Lewis in The Guardian writes: "Amid celebrations of the ECM label’s 50th anniversary, the Norwegian saxophonist delivered some compelling exploratory solos"
This gig, however, was a marked improvement on his performance seven years ago with a similar quartet, largely because the band is now dominated by its charismatic percussionist, Trilok Gurtu. His entertaining solo spots (on tabla, cymbals, gongs, squeaky toys and even a bucket of water) take centre stage, but he also pushes Garbarek into his most garrulous and exploratory solos, both on tenor sax and on bamboo flute. It’s closer to the ECM spirit, and all the more compelling for it. Full review...

We had good seats in a box just above the aforementioned entertaining percussionist.

Antony Gormley at the Royal Academy.
Piccadilly, London. Tuesday 19-November-2019.

We enjoyed this exhibition, I find his work playful and accessible, slightly tongue-in-cheek.

Skye Sherman in The Guardian writes: "From its primordial gloop to the iron baby in the courtyard, Gormley’s show chronicles human progress. But is he really the right person to tell the story of us all?"
This is a seriously handsome show with plenty of crowd-wowing art that aims to put “the visitor centre stage”, yet also underlines his project’s sticking points. [...] It turns out there’s something in here for everyone, and that’s a problem. Gormley’s musings about bodies and being are too unfocused, and ultimately too polite, to land the political punches they attempt. Where’s the tension? Where’s the real debate? Full Review...
Hermeto Pascoal at Ronnie Scott's
Soho, London. Tuesday 19-November-2019.

We were due to go straight from the Gormley exhibition to Ronnie Scott's but Mary was feeling unwell so we wimped out. The concert was sold out so there was no problem in returning our tickets, getting a credit note and going home straight from the Royal Academy for a quiet night in.

Chrissie Hynde at the Royal Festival Hall.
South Bank, London. Sunday 24-November-2019.

Not the Chrissie of "... and the Pretenders" but a more ballady, crooner Chrissie of "... and the Valve Bone Woe Ensemble". We listened to her latest album as preparation and were not that enthused. Live we had the same reaction, great voice but just not really our style. Sorry, Chrissie.

Emeli Sande (Ben Monteith) at the Eventim Apollo
Hammersmith, London. Monday 25-November-2019.

We had seen Emeli before so were looking forward to her set. What took us by surprise was the excellent support act, Ben Monteith. A busker from Glasgow, a talented singer / songwriter with great stage presence. He was discovered as part of a TV series on BBC Scotland hosted by Emeli. Apparently she was sufficiently impressed with Ben to invite him to be her support act for her European tour.

Mario Biondi at Ronnie Scott's
Soho, London. Tuesday 26-November-2019.

Our third time of seeing Mario.

This time along with our friend Cathy who originally introduced us to this performer. Excellent seats and an excellent concert.

Phew, that's a fair bit of concert going!

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