Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Leo Blanco @ Sage Gateshead...

Review of Leo Blanco's sensational gig at Sage Gateshead last weekend is now available online at Jazz Journal.

I'd been a bit ambivalent about going along until Rob Adams dropped me a line a couple of days beforehand. I'm glad I did, because it was easily up there with the most absorbing and sustained solo piano performances I've ever seen - right up there with memorable sets by Joachim Kühn, Marilyn Crispell, Keith Tippett and Michel Petrucciani for sure.

Image courtesy of leoblanco.com


Couldn't resist weaving in that reference to José Mourinho in the closing paragraph - I gather that Leo has been branded a George Clooney lookalike in the past, but for my money the special one seems far more fitting.

I've finally filed my Soweto Kinch interview, which I hope will be in the August edition of Jazz Journal, and next I'm psyching myself up for the marathon of transcribing my recent 70 minute conversation with Verneri Pohjola. Turning such an interesting and wide-ranging conversation into an article worthy of his considerable talents won't be easy, but I can think of far worse things to be doing...

Fred


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Gateshead 2013...

Here's a quick link to my round-up (and what an epic it is!) of this year's Gateshead International Jazz Festival. Lots of great music, mostly a result of its Northern European theme, and I bagged interviews with Soweto Kinch and Verneri Pohjola which I'll be writing up for Jazz Journal in due course.

Pohjola was by far and away the revelation and star of the festival for me. I'd listened to his ACT discs, and actually reviewed his Ilmiliekki Quartet several years ago. None of that had really prepared me for the deep and fully rounded artist that I heard here, and his performance with Jens Thomas on the Saturday evening has had a bit of a depth-charge effect and now seems strangely better than the the riveting performance I saw at the time. 




Still horrendously busy - hence the lack of new posts - my work-related college course does at least end in about 6 weeks time, which should free up some time again. A premature celebration to mark the passing of the last ever course of study that I agree to undertake will be marked at Ronnie's in early May when we'll take a trip to catch Mike Stern with Bill Evans...