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Estelle Kokot was nominated for a South African Music Award (SAMA) in the ‘Best Jazz Vocal’ category and she followed this with a nationwide tour. “Estelle Kokot is an exceptional talent..” Timeout. "Standards and originals perfectly compatible side by side…compelling, haunting, passionate…" The Guardian.
"Estelle Kokot is a powerful, soulful and independent artist. Kokot’s is a personal, unselfconscious talent… her music is often vividly surprising, and unquestionably all her own." John Fordham – The Guardian
“Estelle Kokot is an exceptional talent..” Timeout August 2008
With reviews like these we were delighted that Estelle has made a return visit. to Jazznights. Tonight she was accompanied by the Roger Odell Jazznights Trio and the opening set of the evening featured Larraine Odell on vocals.
The trio were:
Roger Odell – drums
Roger was one of the founder members and drummer with the jazz-funk group Shakatak. Roger has toured internationally and recorded numerous CDs, which he continues to do on a regular basis to this day.
Simon Brown – piano
A very respected and popular jazz pianist who is equally known for his arranging skills. He is always in demand to play many gigs with other bands when he is not teaching jazz piano or playing with the Jazznights Trio
Bernie Hodgkins – electric Bass
Inspired by an uncle, who played and recorded with Django Reinhart and Stephane Grappelli in the legendary Quintet de Hot Club of France, Bernie grew up in a Jazz-oriented family. Their influence led him to become a respected bass player behind such people as Matt Munroe, Dickie Valentine and Dennis Lotus, in the early stages of his career. Bernie is particularly acknowledged as being one of the few players to bring an authentic, driving jazz feel to both the double bass and the bass-guitar, and for his fluent and creative soloing. Tonight Bernie was playing his his 5 string double bass
Larraine Odell – vocals
Beginning her professional singing career with the group CMU with whom she recorded two albums, Larraine performed at numerous venues throughout the UK and Europe, including the Purcell Room, RFH, Boxford Fleece & Ronnie Scott’s. Larraine possesses a unique smouldering tonal quality and a subtle jazz phrasing style that has elicited great praise from two of her own vocal mentors, Mark Murphy and Sheila Jordan
Larraine opened with Just In Time by by Jule Styne with lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. This opened with Larraine singing a capella and was then joined by Bernie on bass before the trio joined in with a medium tempo number featuring Simon on piano. A stunning version of Cole Porter’s I‘ve Got You Under My Skin followed with a totally new arrangement by Roger Odell with a Caribbean flavour using the mallets. The vocal starting at half the tempo to great effect. Every one really enjoyed this number.
Another Roger Odell up-tempo arrangement featured the 1944 Out Of This World by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer and Roger excelled with a superb solo. Larraine’s final number was the 1936 ballad Glad To Be Unhappy by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. This song was also featured by Billie Holiday on her i956 “Lady In Satin” recording. A superb tender and sensitive interpretation by Larraine in the true Billie Holiday spirit.
Estelle Kokot opened with Duke Ellington, Harry James and Johnny Hodge’s I’m Beginning To See The Light (Harry James and His Orchestra with vocalist Kitty Kallen took the song to the top of the charts in 1945, beating out Ellington’s version which rested at number six.) This was played and sung in 2-3ish time with a sleazy feeling which developed into a swinging up-tempo number which was a great opening to the first set from Estelle. Harold Arlen’s I’ve Got The World On A String followed with slow swinging rendition featuring Bernie on his 5 string double bass.
A lovely slow version of Vernon Duke’s 1934 Autumn In New York was next played and sung with a bossa nova rhythm which was a very different and exciting Estelle arrangement. Thought I had heard most arrangements of this tune – but I was wrong! The first set ended with a Spanish version of The Carnival – an exciting up-tempo with a very Latin feel, thanks to Roger on the drums.
Following the raffle with no less than 3 jazz CD’s and a bottle of wine we had the traditional Jazznights sitting in spot which is open to all musicians who have an opportunity to play with the Jazznights Trio. First this evening we had a visitor from the USA – Anna Kennedy who gave us her up-tempo version of Janis Joplin’s Mercedes Benz . We then enjoyed two guests for the price of one: Will Jarmin on drums who started playing at the age of 12 and is a student of Roger’s (and it showed together) with one of the clubs favourites Geoff Harriman on harmonica playing a slow soulful version of Misty.
Estelle opened the second set playing piano for a couple of numbers without the trio – she is of course an accomplished pianist and used to playing and singing together. The first was Desperately I Love You, a composition by Estelle based on a poem. The second number was a fast comedy song by Estelle called Komodo Dragon Jam
Estelle was then joined by the Trio for Fats Waller’s 1926 Honeysuckle Rose featuring an intro with just Estelle and Bernie Hodgkins, again an Estelle arrangement using a lot of scat singing in a great alternating series with Simon Brown. Estelle left the style of playing to the band on Duke Ellington’s 1942 Don’t Get Around Much Anymore and resulted in a very funky sounding number. Estelle excelled displaying her exceptional versatility and command of a song. Simon Brown played in a very funky way and of course it suited Roger on the drums with a style that he is really familiar with when playing with Shakatak.
Thelonius Monk’s Round Midnight followed with Lyrics by Jon Hendricks with a slow tempo showcasing both Simon Brown and Bernie Hodgkins – a great version. Estelle finished the evening with Thelonius Monk & Dizzy Gillespie’s Anthropology, the intro started with just Estelle and Bernie on bass, Bernie also joining in with the scat singing! A superb up-tempo ending to a great night.
Estelle said that !I am having so much fun – so were we!
For more information and future gigs go to www.jazz-nights.com