INTERVIEW: Sammy Stein (The London Jazz Platform, Sunday 18 June, The Brewhouse, London Fields)

John Russell will be appearing during the evening session of the London Jazz Platform.

The London Jazz Platform will pack a host of musicians into nine solid hours of music in a railway arch in London Fields. Sebastian Scotney found out more from organiser Sammy Stein.

LondonJazz News: We've caught up with this slightly late... you're running a festival. When and where?

Sammy Stein: I am running a jazz festival/event called The London Jazz Platform. It is on Sunday 18 June 2pm-11pm and is at The Brewhouse, 169-170 Helmsley Place, London Fields.

LJN: What made you choose that location?

SS: It has the kind of space needed and also the venue has a really good vibe. It is set in a railway arch with a courtyard outside and is just a fabulous space. The manager, Danny, is very supportive of what I want to achieve with this event and he is also keen for the venue to diversify and offer a broader choice of music to people.

LJN: Is there a theme / preference / rule / tendency in your programming?

SS: There is no rule or tendency to my programming - I simply chose acts I felt were entertaining and whose music is engaging and interesting and went from there. We have sax players who differ in style and presentation of their music, we have vocalists , one of whom won the Sarah Vaughan Jazz vocalist prize in 2016, one comes form the US and is very bluesey/jazz and the other fronts a band so they are all very different. We have improvisers and we have more 'straight' deliverers. Then there are the pianists and quartets - there is great diversity.

Some are already well known, others less so but in my book they all have a place at this event. All of them are recording and regularly gig. The quality is truly spectacular.

LJN: Who's headlining?

SS: There is no headline - every act has the same-length slot and the chance to play music of their choice.

LJN: Are there acts that you think will be discoveries to a lot of people?

SS: Every act will be a discovery to people. Seriously, I believe I have some of the best and most entertaining musicians around at the moment - all different, offering different takes on jazz and different ideas to the audience but all incredible and very entertaining. We have Lars Fill from Denmark and Carmela Rappazzo from the US as well as musicians from the UK and close by.



Marco Marconi will be appearing during the afternoon session.

LJN: People won't necessarily know you - what's your story?

SS: I am a writer with several books published on plant related subjects as I was a horticulturalist/botanist. I switched to music writing about five years ago as it has always been a huge part of my life. I now write for several sites as senior writer or columnist and have a book due out in July/August called All That's Jazz (Tomahawk Press). I have also covered live music for BBC Radio 3's Jazz On 3, and have my own show on Jazz Bites, the US jazz programme.

LJN: Have you done this before? What has been your involvement in music up to now?

SS: It has been eclectic until the last five years. I was briefly a member of the Savoy Opera Company when at university and had done several operas before that. I won the folk singing category in several music festivals and I was in bands - Dragonar and The Razors. I have always liked music with an edge, whether rock, pop or jazz and have become more involved in jazz recently through my writing.

Jazz music is a constant discovery to me and the more I am involved the more I find to engage and inspire. I have never run an event like this before but I have been totally amazed at the support shown for me by the musicians, the venue and many others. I have had many offers of support and help on the day and people have gone through the day with me, adding their ideas and suggestions. We now have a merchandise stall and hopefully can offer food too.

LJN: You tell a story that some sponsorship to do it more or less landed in your lap? How did it happen?

SS: Sponsorship came about as a result of my being interviewed on Jazz Bites radio (US) as a guest. At the end of the interview the host, Anthea Redmond, asked me if I had any dreams I wanted to fulfil and I joked about swimming the Channel but on a more serious note said I had a more recent but driving ambition to stage a jazz event or mini-fest, showcasing the amazing talent we have in the UK and nearby. On air, Anthea said, " We would be interested in sponsoring you" and when we finished she re-iterated the offer. I found a venue, worked out the money and next thing I knew I was putting on the event. I had not bargained on curating it myself but this has been an adventure in its own right.

LJN: The tickets for The London Jazz Platform have been on sale for a few weeks - what's selling best ?

SS: Tickets are selling relatively evenly. To make it accessible we have kept the prices low and people can buy tickets for all day, just afternoon or just evening so they have a choice.

The afternoon will feature Lars Fiil (piano), Gg and her band, the Simon Lasky Quartet, John Edwards (double bass), Deelee Dube (vocals) and Marco Marconi (piano).

The evening will feature John Russell (guitar), Carmela Rappazzo (vocals), Tom Harrison (saxophone), Colin Webster (saxophone), Paul Jolly (bass clarinet/saxophone), Mike Adcock (piano/accordion),  and the Kitty La Roar Quartet.


LINK: Full Details and Booking
NB -   tickets are pre event only, they will NOT be on sale on the door. This is due to the limited number the venue can hold. 

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