PREVIEW: Alex Wilson and Marc Halbheer (London Latin Jazz Festival, Pizza Express Jazz Club, Sep 27- Oct 1)

Madrid Edition. L-R Miguel Linares, Dany Noel, Marc Halbheer

There will be a certain symmetry about the opening and closing concerts of this year's London Latin Jazz Festival. The opener on Tuesday 27th September will present Marc Halbheer's Madrid Edition with special guest Alex Wilson. The closing concert on 1st October "Alex Wilson & Friends" will have Swiss Drummer Marc Halbheer as guest. Sebastian found out more about the background from both of them: 

Swiss-born drummer Marc Halbheer has not played in the UK since a visit here with the Vienna Art Orchestra in the 1990's, and yet on the continent - he divides his time between Madrid and Switzerland - he is an extremely influential player and teacher, and even...inventor. His London trip will even present a brand new invention for drummers, the “DRUFO” which will be exhibited for the first time at a trade fair the weekend before he comes here for the Festival. (nothing online until 23rd September)

Halbheer's formative period was in Los Angeles where he spent nearly four years between 1988 and 1992. He went there with a long-standing friend the cellist and composer Martin Tillman who has stayed there and been successful as a film composer. Halbheer studied in LA with two former members of Frank Zappa's bands, Ralph Humphrey and Ed Man. “The LA experience for me was important for me. Most of what I did after that came from my time in LA and from the connections made there.” On his return to Switzerland he was asked to start the percussion and rhythmics course at the Lucerne Conservatoire, and has been department head since then. He has appeared as drummer and percussionist in a wide range of live, recording and film contexts.

The project he is bringing to London, his Madrid Edition is the result of intense study of flamenco and of its inter-relationship with other music which he has been pursuing for a number of years, notably studying and playing with the doyen of flamenco artists – with whom Dave Holland also went to unlock the secrets of the tradition, Pepe Habichuela “Pepe is the head of one of the Flamenco clans. With him the music goes back seven generations! Once I started to find the connections. I began to understand where jazz comes from – slaves, travelling,the diaspora.” It is all interconnected. It opened up new perspectives on the music I know, the music we think we know.”

The Madrid Edition has Paris-born Flamenco guitarist Miguel Linares, a regular member of the Rafael Aguilar group , and Cuban bass player & singer Dany Noel

Artistic Director of the London Latin Jazz Festival ALEX WILSON writes

"Cuban piano royalty, new generation salsa-soul, flamenco-jazz, cutting edge Cuban son and an Indian vocalist have all been infused into the fourth edition of the London Latin Jazz Fest 2016.

I believe the festival nights now are known as events to go for intense, passionate music, experienced close up. Concerts performed by world-class artists, many of whom are active in London (important to us) mixed with international guests for something really quite unique. So check out our listings and buy tickets to see the Cuban virtuoso pianist, Ivan Melon Lewis, the passionate flamenco jazz of Madrid Edition, the youthful take on Cuban traditional music with Son con Swing, new generation salsa by Edwin Sanz and yours truly on the Saturday leading a closing night with many friends including my Indo-Latin collaboration partner, vocalist Unnati Dasgupta."


Tuesday, 27th Sept Marc Halbheer's Madrid Edition

Wednesday, 28th Sept Ivan ‘Melon’ Lewis Trio

Thursday, 29th Sept Son con Swing

Friday, 30th September Edwin Sanz (2 shows)

Saturday, 1st Oct Alex Wilson and Friends

LINK: London Latin Jazz Festival website

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