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PETER KING, in the words of one critic, “is the finest alto saxophonist that Britain has ever produced, and one of the finest in the world today” (Dave Gelly, ‘The Giants Of Jazz’, Aurum Press, 1986). He has been a major influence on the British Jazz scene ever since he played (at the age of eighteen!) the opening of Ronnie Scott’s Club,
"I hear both Trane & Bird in his playing but he’s better than either of them" Gene Lees.
"World’s great altoist – my man!" Nat Adderley.
"A wonderful musician…master of his instrument" Elvin Jones.
"One of the best musicians in the world" Lalo Schifrin. We would add: a world class musician
What more can one say other than it is bound to be a really great night – and of course it was
Peter King returned to Jazznights tonight to play with the Roger Odell Jazznights Trio and vocalist Larraine Odell. The Jazznights 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.
Andy Noble –Keyboards
Andy regularly plays with the Albert Garza Trio, Ben Greenslade-Stanton Fuerza, Carl Orr’s Dangerfunk and the Jazznights Trio as well as other bands in and around London and East Anglia
Steve Cook – Double Bass
Steve has a wonderful rounded tone with great clarity. He has played with Mike Westbrook, Mike Kilpatrick’s Duke Ellington Orchestra, Barbara Thompson, Soft Machine, Seventh Wave and Gil Evans big band at Ronnie Scott’
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 the 1940 All Or Nothing At All (Lyrics by Arthur Altman and music by Jack Lawrence) – a lovely slow to medium tempo song with solos from Andy Noble and Steve Cook. this was followed by a wonderful and tender gentle ballad - Estate – French for Summer, composed by Bruno Martino with words by Joel Siegel, a particular favourite of Larraine’s, Steve Cook giving a tender solo and accompaniment in support.
Next was the Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Mercer number I Thought About You – an original arrangement by Roger Odell which started with an intro by Steve on bass leading into Larraine and the band at a medium tempo. Polka Dots And Moonbeams by Jimmy Van Heusen was played at a slow tempo in another new new arrangement by Roger. Larraine’s set ended with an up tempo arrangement of Bob Haggart and Johnny Burke’s Love for Sale which at the up tempo rate resulted in a great finish..
As Larraine had previously announced it was her birthday today Peter King opened his first set with Happy Birthday – a wonderful example of off the cuff improvisation played at a vibrant tempo. Invitation came next played up-tempo (music by Bronislau Kaper) although undoubtedly it’s tenor saxophonist John Coltrane’s 1958 recording that is to a great extent responsible for the composition’s jazz standard status. Peter brought all the band in with solos by Andy, Steve and trades with Roger.
To slow the tempo down Peter played the ballad I Can’t Get Started (Although written for a musical, trumpeter and bandleader Bunny Berigan’s recording of “I Can’t Get Started” was instrumental in making the song a standard. In fact, it became Berigan’s theme song, and in 1974, his 1937 recording was inducted into the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammy) Hall of Fame.) Peter’s fitting ending to his first set was an up tempo Thelonius Monk and Cootie Williams composition Epistrophy Peter’s superb playing demonstrated why he is considered by many to be one of the best in the world – not just the UK!
After the interval we had the Jazznights raffle with prizes of 2 jazz cd’s and a bottle of Shiraz which led into the traditional sitting in spot which is open to all musicians who have an opportunity to play with the band. Will Jarmin replaced Roger on the drums for first two numbers, the first being s showcase for the trio playing together and was followed by the popular Geoff Harriman on harmonica playing You Don’t Know What Love Is which was a lovely version with a melancholy style – for which the number was written I believe.
Peter King opened the second set with an up-tempo version of Speak Low – another tune originally written for a Broadway musical but was taken on board by Bud Shank, Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan and Stan Kenton to name but a few but I guess not usually played at this tempo. To slow the tempo down Peter played Victor Young’s 1946 Stella By Starlight which Charlie Parker was responsible for making the first recording of it in a jazz context in January, 1952. This was a very lyrical version highlighted Peter’s flexibility which again confirms why is a master musician, this also highlighted Steve Cook’s beautifully rounded smooth tone. Johnny Green’s 1930 Body and Soul came next with a wonderful intro of Billy Strayhorn’s Lush Life.
As a finale peter played Ray Noble’s Cherokee – this wasn’t really considered a vehicle for jazz improvisation until Charlie Parker arrival in New York in the early 1940’s.” (historical note: Gerry Mulligan is quoted on the Library of Congress website I Hear America Singing as saying, Somebody sent me a little bit of tape that had Bird playing at home when he must have been maybe seventeen years old … of course he was playing “Cherokee.” This was his number, man, he worked on that thing for years. Somebody said that when he did “Ko-Ko.” It was not just a little accident that it came out the way it did.) This very up-tempo number or as Roger Odell would say it was played at a million miles an hour! All the band were involved and Roger had a great extended solo – he probably thought he might get a rest after playing 4 sessions at the Pizza Express jazz club and a tour of Japan with Shakatak – but he didn’t, he really worked and thoroughly enjoyed this.
As Nat Adderley once said Peter King is the "World’s great altoist – my man!" If ever ia gig proved this – this was it – Magic
For further information and future gigs go to http://www.jazz-nights.com