Photo credit: Alina Peczek
Pizza Express Jazz Club, Tuesday 22 May 2012
I'm very pleased to announce that my Unit Of Resistance (the pun on my name completely intentional!) will be playing at The Pizza Express Jazz Club on Tuesday 22nd May. I have been working at this fantastic venue for many years as sideman to artists including Ian Shaw, Rebecca Parris, Karin Krog, Gregory Porter, Georgia Mancio, Dena DeRose and Tammy Weis. For my Dean Street debut as a bandleader I have three very special musicians joining me: Laurence Cottle on bass, Paul Stacey on guitar and Nigel Hitchcock on alto sax.
I have known all three of these musicians for nearly 20 years although we only played as a group for the first time in January when James Pearson invited me to programme five nights of music for the Ronnie Scott’s opening set. That week reminded me how much I enjoy band-leading, something I have been doing since the start of my career in 1990 but have neglected in recent years.
When I was offered a date at The Pizza Express Jazz Club it was another opportunity to play some of my favourite music with some of my favourite musicians.
Laurence is a phenomenal bassist and leads an incredible big band. I first heard him at The 606 Club with Jim Mullen in the early 90's. He has played with Bill Bruford, Pee Wee Ellis and Tim Garland among many others and is hugely respected as both a player and arranger. Laurie was in the first incarnation of my Unit Of Resistance and since then I have been lucky enough to work regularly with him with Claire Martin, Nigel Hitchcock and The Ronnie Scott's Allstars. Laurie is a team player on the bandstand, always supportive and creative with rock solid time and a unique soloing style.
I also first heard Paul at The 606 as an aspiring young drummer. He and his brother Jeremy were part of the furniture down there and were such an inspiration. In Paulʼs playing you can hear his love of jazz, blues and rock. He understands the totality of the music and not surprisingly has found great success as a producer to artists including Claire Martin, Oasis and The Black Crowes. Paul played in my trio for a couple of years and I'm delighted to be working with this brilliant guitarist again.
Nigel’s frightening facility on the sax has led to prestigious work with artists as diverse as Ray Charles, Stan Tracey and Robbie Williams.
A couple of years ago he asked me do some gigs with his Quartet in Scotland with Laurie and Steve Hamilton on piano. It was a fantastic musical experience: you never stop learning playing with someone of Nigelʼs calibre.
On the 22nd this formidable band will be perfoming a wide selection of tunes by John McLaughlin, Herbie Hancock, Kenny Garrett, Michael Brecker, Victor Feldman and Bill Stewart among others.
Expect a night of joyful improvisation and energy plus a surprise special guest. Come and join us - resistance is futile!