Jo Fooks (tenor sax) at Jazznights with the Roger Odell Trio at The Bell , Clare, Sunday 27th Nov 2011

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Jazznights Jo Fooks 271111 (26)Continuing the Humphrey Lyttelton connection this month the other great saxophonist who first came to prominence with his band is featured. A former Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year, Jo now fronts her own band with whom -+she has just released her second CD "Playin". "Jo will be a star!" Ian Carr.

"Anyone who can turn the humble Brussels Sprouts into an inspiration for jazz shows a refreshing level of originality, and this is born out in Jo’s confident and assured tenor playing as much as in her original themes. Jazznights Jo Fooks 271111 (32) – Alyn Shipton, radio broadcaster Pasted from

Jo Fooks, born in Edinburgh, began learning the saxophone at 15. In 1992 she won ‘The Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year’. Inspired and encouraged by local Edinburgh musicians, Jo went on to study saxophone at the Guildhall School of music in London (1995-99). She also studied at the Berklee School of music in Boston after receiving a full fee scholarship for the summer jazz programme.
Apart from Jo the band were this evening:
Roger Odell Drums
JazznightsRoger Odell 271111 (10)Roger was one of the founder members and drummer with the jazz-funk group Shakatak and the forerunner band Tracks. Roger has toured internationally and recorded numerous CDs, which he continues to do on a regular basis to this day. Apart from a great power drummer he is also a prestigious arranger.
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 . and is already Jazznights Andy Noble 271111 (23)establishing himself as one of the most sought after keyboard players in London performing with all types of artist from pop to salsa and obviously Jazz
Bernie Hodgkins5 String Double 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 Jazznights Bernie Hodgkins 271111 (35)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 Jazznights Larraine Odell 271111 (8)phrasing style that has elicited great praise from two of her own vocal mentors, Mark Murphy and Sheila Jordan. “A sensitive singer who exudes a fine-honed jazz ensibility with every phrase”

Larraine’s set consisted of:
1. The 1940 You Stepped Out of a Dream (Music by Nacio Herb Brown and Lyrics by Gus Kahn) from Ziegfried Girl the film starring Lana Turner. It was a centrepiece in the 1941 musical Ziegfeld Girl, where it was sung by Tony Martin and accompanied an iconic image of Lana Turner walking down a grand staircase. English pianist George Shearing recorded a version of this tune on one of his earliest sessions before he settled in the US where his career took off. Larraine gave a  beautiful version of this which was sung at a Jazznights Larraine Odell 271111 (13)medium tempo.
2. the 1933 Close Your Eyes with Words and Music by Bernice Petkere (She was dubbed the "Queen of Tin Pan Alley" by Irving Berlin.) was sung as a slow to medium tempo Bossa Nova. Both Andy and Noble and Bernie Hodgkins supported Roger’s driving Bossa rhythm.

3.The 1956 Too Close for Comfort with Words and Music by Jerrold L Bock, Lawrence Holofcener and George Weiss followed as an up-tempo very swinging vocal innovatively supported by Bernie.Jazznights Larraine Odell 271111 (16)
4. The 1934 ballad For All We Know (Music by J. Fred Coots and Lyrics by Sam M. Lewis). The Nat ‘King’ Cole Trio’s 1949 recording brought this tune back into the mainstream 15 years after it was written. This was eloquently sung at a very slow tempo about 60 beats beats per minute!
5. The 1932 Cole Porter’s Night and Day ended Larraine’s great set at a medium to fast tempo. All arrangements of Larraine’s numbers were by Roger Odell.

Jo Fooks opened her first set with The King which was based on the Count Basie theme Jumpin’ At The Woodside at a very up-tempo rate. Jo with most of the numbers she played , gave plenty of space for all members of the trio to express their own interpretations. Jo followed with the first of her own compositions: the Brolly Dance which featured on her latest album “Back For More” .
Jazznights Jo Fooks 271111 (37)From the same album, Jo played a very bluesy Teaching Blues at a medium tempo – another Jo Fooks composition which she composed after a ‘bad’ teaching period.

Following the interval and the Jazznights raffle of 3 jazz CDs Jo Fooks continued with Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend is a song introduced by Carol Channing in the original Broadway production of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1949), which was written by Jule Styne (who also wrote the scores for such famed Broadway musicals as Funny Girl and Gypsy) and Leo Robin. It was based on a novel by Anita Loos. This was a great up-tempo opener which included 4 and 8 bar trades between Jo, Andy Noble and Roger Odell. Jazznights Jo Fooks 271111 (25)
The song Only Trust Your Heart (1964) is a jazz standard, usually played bossa nova, published by MCA Music Publishing, written by American music legends Benny Carter and Sammy Cahn although this evening it was played as a medium tempo samba. Following a composition that Jo finished writing this morning!  Jo played a lilting lullaby – Little Ava – an original slow ballad named after a young girl in Jo’s family.
Following an exciting up-tempo version of Crazy Living, Jo continued with Charlie Parkers Doomsday in a very up-tempo manner. Jo then asked Larraine Odell to join her and they then played and sang Corcovado (known in English as "Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars") the bossa nova song written by Antonio Carlos Jobim. The English lyrics were written by Gene Lees. (The title refers to the Corcovado Jazznights Jo Fooks 271111 (40)mountain in Rio de Janeiro) This made for a superb combination and it would be great if they made an album as a quintet. Tea For Two ended this superb gig with a very up-tempo version. This evening was a marvellous affirmation that apart from being a great and justly lauded master of the tenor saxophone she is a wonderful and very talented composer. We look forward to seeing Jo back at Jazznights at the earliest opportunity. All thanks to Roger and Larraine Odell for organising Jazznights as a showcase for British jazz talent. Our thanks as well to  our very knowledgeable and articulate Master of Ceremonies Donald Muir

This was a great gig and sadly was the last at the The Bell Clare with the Roger Odell Trio before Jazznights moves to a new venue at Belchamp St Paul. The last gig at Clare will be the Chrissy Lee Hybrid band as Roger will once again touring with Shakatak in Malaysia, Thailand and Kazakhstan!

See www.jazz-nights.com for further details of the new venue for 2012 and future gigs.


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Karen Sharp made a very welcome return to Jazznights with the Roger Odell Trio at the The Bell, Clare on Sunday 13th November 2011

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Karen took up the tenor saxophone whilst studying composition at the Royal Jazznights Karen Sharp 131111 (47)Northern College of Music. A friend introduced her to a recording of Dexter Gordon and she was instantly hooked, quickly joining the college jazz band and finding regular work in a busy soul band based in Liverpool. Since relocating to London in 1999 Karen has become a busy freelance musician working alongside many top class British and American musicians such as Scott Hamilton, Sir John Dankworth, Cleo laine, Danny Moss, Alan Barnes, Barbara Lea, Dick Sudhalter, Mark Nightingale and Ellyn Rucker

Twice winner of the British Jazz Awards Saxophone category, she is perhaps best known for her work with the Humphrey Lyttleton band with whom she toured and recorded for more than 3 years. Equally at home on tenor or baritone sax she is Jazznights Karen Sharp 131111 (45)currently working and recording with her latest quartet which features one of the UK’s finest pianists, Nikki Iles. Classic straight ahead Jazz. “..a class A player” Humphrey Lyttleton; “Her sound is warm and full, her improvised lines bold and clear, and her compositions full of surprises. Her style, I suppose, would come under the heading of ‘modern mainstream’, but that doesn’t do justice to her originality of approach.” Observer; “..a star in the making” Jazz Journal International. She has toured internationally including performances at the Ginza Festival, Tokyo and the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

Karen Sharp’s return visit showed that she is undoubtedly one of the U.K’s best tenor players and together with one of the finest trios that the East of England has produced for many a year and accompanied by our resident songbird – Larraine Odell.

Apart from Karen, the personnel  were:
Roger Odell Drums
Roger was one of the founder members and drummer with the jazz-funk group Shakatak and the forerunner band Tracks. Roger has toured internationally and Jazznights Roger Odell 131111 (53)recorded numerous CDs, which he continues to do on a regular basis to this day. Apart from a great power drummer he is also a prestigious arranger.
Steve Cook – Double Bass
Steve has a wonderful rounded tone with great clarity.Jazznights Steve Cook 131111 (49) 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 Scotts
Simon Brown – Piano
Jazznights Simon Brown 131111 (56)A highly 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
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. “A sensitive singer who exudes a fine-honed jazz sensibility with every phrase”

Larraine sang for us:
1. I Could Write a Book (1940 with Music    by Richard Rodgers and Lyrics by Lorenz Hart). This sung at a medium tempo with solos from Roger, Steve and Simon.
2. Out Of This World with Music by Harold Arlen and Lyrics from Johnny Mercer. (It was introduced in the film Out of This World (1945) by Bing Crosby dubbing in for the voice of the main character played by Eddie Bracken.) This was played at a slowJazznights Larraine Odell 131111 (28) to medium tempo and showed off Larraine’s lovely and mellow mellifluous style for this type of song.
3. The 1937 Where or When – music from the pen of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart which was at a medium tempo with solos from Simon Brown and Steve Cook
4. The1955 Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most (Music by Thomas J Wolf Jr and Lyrics by Frances Landesman came next. This song was Frances’s exploration of T. S. Eliot’s "April is the cruellest month…" This was sung beautifully and sensitively by Larraine in 3/4 waltz time – another great arrangement by Roger Odell month…" This was sung beautifully and sensitively by Larraine – another great arrangement by Roger Odell. The writers Jazznights Larraine Odell 131111 (36)favourite number of Larraine’s set.
5. That’s All (1952) Words and Music from Bob Haymes and Alan Brandt.( Nat “King” Cole introduced the song in 1953, and although his was a popular version it did not make the top 20 songs that year. It was Bobby Darin’s 1959 album That’s All that put the song on the musical map). Unusually, this was sung at an up-tempo rate with a power drive from the trio. A great finale to Larraine’s set.

Karen Sharp opened her first set with:
6. medium to up-tempo B Flat Blues with  solos from Simon Brown and Steve Cook with 4 bar trades played out between Simon, Karen and Roger Odell on the drums.
7. Bright Moments composed by Roland Kirk from his 1973 album of the same Jazznights Karen Sharp 131111 (55)name played at a medium to up-tempo rate. Karen’s first solo even sounded as though it could have been Roland Kirk – although Karen just played the tenor of course without playing the other 3 or 4 instruments at the same time!
8. We’ll Be Together Again composed by Carl Fischer in 1945. Many jazz musicians have recorded “We’ll Be Together Again,” the title cut of an album from guitarist Pat Martino. The Adderley brothers, Cannonball and Nat recorded it as well. Apart from many vocalists as it was originally brought to the public attention by the Frankie Laine Version. This had a slow and very melodic intro with just Karen and Simon . This was a great example of Karen’s flexibility and control of the tenor. An ending to her first set which just made the audience want more immediately!

Jazznights Karen Sharp 131111 (67)Following the interval and the Jazznights raffle of 3 jazz CDs and a bottle of wine, Karen opened her second set with:
9. Cole Porter’s 1938 Get Out Of Town at a medium to fast tempo with Karen playing extremely lyrically and involving trades with Roger, Simon and Steve who also excelled with the use of his sliding ;left hand on the bass.
10. Johnny Green’s 1930 Body And Soul – surly one of, if the not the most played of all the Jazz standards. Karen’s version was so sensitive and melodic as well as soulful  – a beautiful and very significant version – superb
11. Sail Away is a composition and album by jazz trumpeter and composer Tom Harrell, which was originally recorded by him in 1989. a lovely medium tempo number featuring Simon Brown, Steve Cook either side of a superlative solo from Karen.Jazznights Karen Sharp 131111 (65)
12. Love Is A Many Splendored Thing with music by Sammy Fain which is featured on Karen’s new CD "Spirit". A Beautiful medium tempo number featured an extended solo from Roger Odell.
13. Cherokee (Indian Love Song). Although written by Ray Noble in 1938, it wasn’t really considered a vehicle for jazz improvisation until Charlie Parker’s arrival in New York in the early 1940’s when it was picked up by one jazz musician after another, and today it is affectionately referred to as a jazz warhorse. This was played as a very fast swing number with great interplay between Karen and Roger.
14. Jimmy Rowles 1960’s Looking Back was an unusually slow, lyrical and tender offering from Karen Sharp and was a great climax to a wonderful gig – one to be remembered.

Phil Collins remarked on a BBC Radio 2 show "….an extraordinary talent." – IMHO quite a litotes as she is a superb master of the tenor saxophone and as mentioned, at the top of the tree in U.K jazz..

For further information and future gigs go to http://www.jazz-nights.com