(Click on pictures for larger images)
Stewart made a welcome return to Jazznights playing with the Roger Odell Jazznights trio. Vocals by our resident songbird Larraine Odell.
With the new CD "Smoked Salmon Salsa" by his esoteric Jazz/Klezmer band K-Groove just released, Stewart shows that he is truly a multi-talented musician equally at home on saxophone, flute and clarinet. His more straight-ahead jazz performances always come with a hint of the exotic with unexpected twists and turns.
"This guy is good! Like Artie Shaw before him he’s taken a traditional idiom through a new perspective. If you have an enquiring taste in music try this!"
"A jittery band who attacked their numbers like Greek-taverna entertainers on hallucinogenic hummus"
"Stewart Curtis being world class multi-woodwind virtuosos of the very highest calibre"
"Stewart is a great Sax, Clarinet,Flute and Piccolo player and he’s also a lovely guy."
A great musician, composer and arranger, he is at home playing klezmer as he is jazz-rock. Here"
And Stewart Curtis really lived up to all those comments for a wonderful musical evening with a great fun guy.
The trio and vocals were by:
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 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.
Bernie Hodgkins – 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 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 5 string double bass with the extra C string
Simon Brown – Piano
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 playing with jazznights or his own trio, quartet and his Beyond Cantaloupe quintet at ‘Jazz at the Green Man’ in Rackheath, Norwich.
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’s set included:
1. Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke’s 1944 It Could Happen To You (The first hit recording of “It Could Happen to You” was by Jo Stafford with Paul Weston and His Orchestra and entered the pop charts in July, 1944) provided a great medium to fast opening which was followed by
2. Brazilian guitarist and composer Luiz Floriano Bonfá’s (often written as Luis Bonfá) Bossa Nova The Gentle Rain. This was superbly sung and played by the accompanying Jazznights trio
3. The Lamp Is Low (1939) is a song based on Ravel’s Pavanne (Pavane pour une infante défunte (Pavane for a Dead Princess) written for solo piano by the French composer Maurice Ravel in 1899 when he was studying composition at the Conservatoire de Paris). Consequently the credits include music by Peter De Rose, Maurice Joseph Ravel and Bert A Shefter with lyrics from Mitchell Parish. Larraine sang this notable version at a medium tempo with solos from Simon Brown and Bernie Hodgkins.
4. Lazy Afternoon (1954) with Music by Jerome Moross and Lyrics by John Latouche. A beautiful ballad reflecting what one needed in this exceptional hot weather.
5. Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke,s 1940 Polka Dots and Moonbeams (Gil Evans, the masterful arranger for Miles Davis, rose to prominence arranging this for band leader/pianist Claude Thornhill ant it was also a favorite number of tenor sax giant Lester Young.) This was a lovely finale to Larraine’s set with solos from Bernie Hodgkins and Simon Brown togetherr with extended 4 bar trades betwen Simon and Roger
Stewart Curtis then joined us for his first set with
It’s Wonderful (1938) with Music by Stuff Smith and Lyrics from Mitchell Parish which was often performed by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald throughout their careers. Tonight it was a great up-tempo version with Stewart playing tenor sax.
Frank E. Churchill and Larry Morey,s 1937 Someday My Prince Will Come. (Although Miles Davis is usually given credit for introducing this Disney movie piece into the jazz repertoire, another trumpeter, Donald Byrd, was one of the first to record it in 1957). Stewart changed to the clarinet for another up-tempo number featuring solos from all the trio.
Stewart then introduced his Soprano sax for Harold Arlen’s 1938 Over The Rainbow (Judy Garland introduced “Over the Rainbow” in the 1939, MGM film, The Wizard of Oz – Within days of the first recording “Over the Rainbow” it was climbing the pop charts with Glenn Miller and Larry Clinton. By mid-September four recordings were in the top ten). Stewart’s version was a great number, full of quotes, to finish Stewart’s first set again featuring all the members of the band whoso enjoyed playing together.
Following the Jazznights raffle of 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 band. Tonight we had two musicians. Firstly we had Jonty Wilks on alto sax with a very musical version of George Benson’s This Masquerade. Geoff Harriman playing harmonica then gave us a very nice rendition of the 1940 Besame Mucho in D Minor.
Stewart Curtis then switched to his Japanese Flute (well it was given to him in Japan although it was actually made in Hong Kong! before switching to his more conventional flute for a tune which he only wrote yesterday. Another self penned tune followed which he wrote for is daughter – Thomas The Tank Engine. This was played as a tango, the rhythm accentuated by Roger Odell using his hands instead of the sticks. This was played on the Clarinet – a true multi-instrumentalist.
Switching back to tenor sax we had a beautifully played version of the 1940 war time hit A Nightingale Sang In Barclay Square.
The Best Things In Life Are Free which Stewart wrote and dedicated to his wife! This was played in 3/4 waltz time on the Flute at a medium tempo.
From his new album “Smoked Salmon Salsa, Stewart played Song For Madeleine on the Soprano sax, another Stewart composition. Another tune we had not heard before was The Dirty Bagels – as you may guess this was another self penned composition played on the clarinet. What a great finale.
As has been previously quoted: "Stewart Curtis being world class multi-woodwind virtuosos of the very highest calibre" – as well as one of the finest brass players. We hope that Stewart comes back soon to play for us again..
on Sunday 10th June we have the wonderful vocalist ESTELLE KOKOT. After her recent "Fractured Ballads" as part of London’s Art of Song Festival, Estelle continues to gain fans for her unique approach to a song performance. "Seductively poetic" The Times. "…a genuine innovator with a creative twist…" The Guardian. "A powerful yet intimately confiding vocal style…" Vortex Jazz Review. Another giog not to miss.
8.00 – 10.30pm Admission £8
Reserve seating now for this great gig on 01787 237653. Your booking is held until 8pm on the night. Doors open 7.30pm.
"Brilliant atmosphere – the Village Vanguard of the Essex/Suffolk border!"
See www.jazz-nights.com for location and future gigs