Riprap live at Jazznights 22nd July with Dr. Kevin Flanagan’s superb quartet

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The normal Jazznights format was changes somewhat as Roger Odell was away in Japan touring with Shakatak, Roger being a founder member of the group and the drummer and percussionist.

Dr. Kevin Flanagan brought his superb Riprap quartet to The Cherry Tree. As well as being a formidable jazz saxophonist Kevin has had pieces commissioned and performed by orchestras in London. The quartet features the brilliant pianist Dave Gordon and the remarkable drumming of Russ Morgan. Rebop’s Andy Brown on bass will need no introduction to Jazznights audiences.

Riprap formed eight years ago as a group of like-minded musicians who wanted to explore some less common modes of composing and open-ended improvisation, sometimes working with spoken word in the form of readings with contemporary poets, encompassing the freedom that typified the early period of the original Beats. They take their inspiration from the Beat Poets, with their freewheeling lateral association, Miles Davis and his open-ended forms (which always had a solid street-informed rhythmic drive), and Kerouac’s idea of a ‘Holy RipRap (17)Goof’ (spiritual trickster).

This has now coalesced into a core quartet: Kevin Flanagan (saxophones), Dave Gordon (piano), Andrew Brown (bass) and Russ Morgan (drums/percussion).
Snow Blue Night explores a number of cross-fusions informed by an admittedly catholic range of tastes. The new compositions by Kevin and Dave are inspired in part by festival performances with a number of poets, whose range of styles demanded a look outside the usual jazz canon.

The group have performed in venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge University, Essex University, Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford Civic Theatre, Boxford Jazz Club, Brighton Jazz Club and Peterborough Jazz Club and festivals such as the TS Eliot Festival and John Clare Festival. Their music has been played on the BBC World Service and PBS in the USA.

Riprap are:

Kevin Flanagan (reeds and voice)
Kevin comes from Lowell, Mass., USA. He was part of Antares, an improvisatory jazz group that toured New England and the UK in the mid-70’s to early 80’s. During this period he was also involved in blues and popular music, both performing and recording. He settled in the UK in the mid-80’s, and worked on the London jazz and pop scene, playing and recording with Ben E. King, B.B.King, and members of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Sex Pistols, Portishead, RipRap (18) APaul Weller, and others, as well as various West African groups around London. By the late 80’s, he was primarily involved with jazz, playing with his own group and the Tommy Chase Quartet around the festivals of the UK and Europe, such as Glastonbury, Brecon, Edinburgh, Soho, Glasgow, and Brighton in this country; and festivals in Milan, Paris, The North Sea Festival, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, and others. He spent much of the 90’s collaborating with Chris Ingham in FIQ, and put out two well-received CD’s, Zanzibar and Textile Lunch. A graduate of Goldsmiths University, with a post graduate degree in composition from ARU (where he lectures). He studied composition at the University of Sussex with Martin Butler,and had pieces commissioned and performed by orchestras in London and Cambridge.

Dave Gordon (piano)
Dave played with the Theo Travis Band and the Pete Oxley Band, and released a number of CD’s with both these groups, having played at Ronnie Scott’s and appearing at numerous international jazz festivals. David also works as a solo improviser, both in performance with his own trio and with the London Contemporary Dance School. In addition, he works as a RipRap Dave Gordon (45) Aharpsichordist with the Academy of Ancient Music and other Baroque orchestras and in New Zealand and Australia as a recitalist. As a composer, he writes not only for his trio, but also for BBC Radio 3, and has recorded CD’s with his crossover band Respectable Groove. He has been described as ” a richly gifted player, with a sparkling style and boundless imagination, able to move from one mode to another with great skill” (Phil Johnson of The Independent). He is also currently working with the singer Jacqui Dankworth.

Andrew Brown (bass)
Andrew studied with Tony Hougham (Principle Double Bass of Covent Garden) and went on to play with such American RipRap Andrew Brown  (46) Bplayers as Tal Farlow and Peter Erskine, as well as playing in bands with Pete King, Benny Green, Pete Oxley, Simon Vincent, Kevin Flanagan, and Chris Ingham. He is also involved with the contemporary music scene, working with such players as Eddie Prevost and Lol Coxhill and, most recently, in free improvised/electronic trios with the Canadian composer Matt Rogalsky and American reed player Scott Rosenberg. He worked as a session player in a number of rock bands including a period in Paris with Elise Romane and two years with Steve Harley. He is currently working with The Kevin Flanagan Quartet, Respectable Groove, and FIQ. Check into Andy’s ongoing blog: Andy’s site

Russ Morgan (percussion)
Russ studied with Trevor Tomkins and trained at the Royal Academy of music in London (‘93-‘95). As well as playing in ‘Rip Rap’ Russ is a member of Pete Oxley’s English fusion group ‘Curious Paradise’, and Christian Garrick’s contemporary jazz quintet ‘Jutta’s party band’. He RipRap Russ Morgan (46) Awas a founder member of the British contemporary jazz group ‘Short Stories’, the post bop and song outfit ‘the Flanagan-Ingham quartet’, and the experimental ‘drum & bass’ groove piano trio ‘Vincent’. Russ has gigged extensively on the British jazz scene, and toured and recorded around the UK and Europe. He has played with Martin Speake, Julian Siegel, Julian Arguelles, Gilad Atzmon, Stan Sultzman, Bobby Wellins and Spike Robinson (sax), Steve Waterman (trmp) John Parricelli, Phil Robson and Mick Hansen (guitar), Dave Gordon, Gordon Beck, Gary Husband, Richard Busiakiewicz, Chris Ingham and Kate Williams (piano), Bill Le Sage, Roger Beaujolais and Jim Hart (vibes),and Jacqui Dankworth, Mishka Adams, Laura Zakian and Bob monkhouse (!!!!) (vocals). When not playing music Russ is immersed in the world of Chinese internal martial and healing arts: Having practised Tai chi chuan, Wudang shan chuan, Chi kung, and acupressure massage for over 15 years, Russ is a professional Martial arts instructor, and Acupressure massage therapist. He holds regular classes, workshops and clinics in London. Russ’s Tai Chi site .

Riprap opened with Cuba Cafe, Kevin Flanagan on soprano sax. Anmdrew Brown opened the number followed by Russ Morgan and Dave Gordon which led to the first so;lo from Kevin. RipRap (21)The Latin rhythm was inspired from poem and was heavily asccentutaed by Russ Morgan on percussion.
Go Back  followed with a subtle interpretation of another poem.
Our Lady Of Gaudeloupe which was the first number played this evening from Riprap’s brand new CD entitled Snow Blue Night. A lovely medium tempo with Kevin on Tenor.
The nest number as Kevin Flanagan called it “Twisted Tunes , a lot of the tunes I write get twisted” this featured great interplay between Kevin & Dave Gordon on piano with contrasts with the varying tempos. It was full of subtlety showing unique individual styles from the by all members of the quartet. Newk followed which was written with dedication to Sonny Rollins. A superb series of improvised trades between Russ Morgan and Andrew Brown punctuated by one and nfour notes breaks from Kevin Flanagan – showing the originality and dexterity of Russ Morgan as well as all the band.RipRap (22)

Following the necessity of the break to re-charge the glasses (after all it was a very warm evening and not just the music – perhaps the first signs of our missing summer!) we had the Jazznights raffle with three jazz cd’s and a bottle of Merlot as prizes. Snow Blue Night commenced Riprap’s  second set, this is the titl track of Riprap’s new CD and was a very up-tempo driving number to get the set in the mood.
Another tune from the same new album Saying The Names followed which was another number that was written based on poetry and was played with changing melodies. Hellicon, yet another number from the CD played elegantly and almost classically at a slow to medium tempo. The first jazz standard of the evening was Bronislau Kaper’s 1952 Invitation (probably tenor saxophonist John Coltrane’s 1958 recording that to a great extent was RipRap (1)responsible for the composition’s standard status) with up-tempo power interpretations from Kevin & Russ Morgan. A further powerful standard was the culmination of a great evening of contemporary jazz.

Riprap features quite extraordinary musicians who knit so well together in their modern progressive jazz style. No doubt  quite a few of the new CD will be sold as a result of this phenomenal performance and several copies of their earlier album Riprap were sold during the evening.

The next gig at Jazznights will be on Sunday 5th August – with CHRISTINE TOBIN (voc) & PHIL ROBSON (gtr). The hit of the London Jazz Festival with their double bill concert at the Purcell Room, RFH, Christine & Phil appear together at Jazznights for what will be an extra special night. Christine has won the “Best Vocalist” category in the BBC Jazz Awards and Phil won “Best Jazz Musician of the Year” in the recent Parliamentary Jazz Awards.

This promises to be another great gig. Jazznights presents the best in modern jazz at:
The Function Suite, The Cherry Tree, Knowl Green, Belchamp St Paul, Suffolk, CO10 7BY.
Tel: 01787 237263       Adm £8.         Doors 7.30pm.       Music 8.00-10.30pm.

Reserve your table seating on 01787 237653 or email.  Pay on the night.
Food available and can be served before or during the performance.

You can join us at facebook, read reviews of previous performances at wordpress or tweet Here

For further information and future gigs go to

Simon Spillett with the Jazznights Trio at The Cherry Tree on Sunday 8th July 2012

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Simon Spillett made a very welcome return to Jazznights at The Cherry Tree on Sunday the 8th July.

“Rising Star” in the 2007 BBC Jazz Awards and Jazz Journal’s “Record Of The Year” in 2009 – Simon’s star has well and risen. “Those of us who have heard him…have been left blinking in disbelief…mastery of the tenor saxophone…absolute conviction of his playing is so impressive” DAVE GELLY, THE OBSERVER

IMG_1016“His sound is his own, as is his approach to phrasing…..he operates in the same high energy hard bop territory that Hayes did”
PETER VACHER – JAZZWISE May 2008 (Review of “Sienna Red”)

“I have heard no-one in years who compares to tenorist Simon Spillett, a miraculous player who sounds like a reincarnation of Tubby Hayes but with his own personality. Catch him wherever he is. Astounding!”

“He’s stood old head and young shoulders above many of his contemporaries as a live performer for several years. Five stars for knowing how to play jazz when so many of his generation think they can but can’t.”
 Jazznights Simon Spillett IMG_1016
“This is saxophone playing of the highest order. Consistency of tone throughout the range of the tenor, the infallible note production irrespective of tempo and the ability to think a long way ahead so there are no loose ends to Simon’s improvising. “
“Such a terrific tenor player. I was astonished by what I heard. At times, it was like Tubby coming back!”.
TONY HALL, (Veteran club compere and DJ, Hall produced Tubby’s Hayes recordings for the legendary Tempo label from 1955 to 1959)

With quotes such as these, what else is there to add? Simon is joined by the Jazznights Trio who were:

Chris Ingham – Piano
Chris trained as a drama teacher at Warwick University before succumbing to the music, he IMG_1011played guitar in misunderstood art ‘n’ bcombo The Locomotives and was pianist/vocalist in the Flanagan Ingham Quartet who released two albums (Zanzibar and Textile Lunch) and were described by The Observer as ‘one of Britain’s most original bands’. He is jazz piano and jazz voice tutor at Anglia Ruskin University
Bernie HodgkinsDouble 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 IMG_1008 Afamily.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.
Andy Dowling – Drums
Andy is an in demand drummer from Ipswich who has played IMG_1005 Awith many groups in the East Anglia region. He can turn his hand from the sympathetic and sensitive sound to power drumming to suit the occasion.

What promised to be a great night started in tremendous style with Simon Spillett and the trio playing a medium to up-tempo version of Jerome Kern’s 1946 Nobody Else But Me which was written for the revival of the musical – Show Boat and which has now become a jazz standard. This featured all the band and a superb fiery introduction from Simon.

IMG_1014Then disaster struck – a power cut which was expected to last about 4 or 5 hours! Reluctantly of course due to the electric piano and amplified bass, the evening’s entertainment had to be abandoned. We are sure that Simon will be coming back to see us.

On Sunday 22nd July Jazznights will feature: RIPRAP
Dr. Kevin Flanagan brings his superb Riprap quartet to The Cherry Tree. As well as being a formidable jazz saxophonist Kevin has had pieces commissioned and performed by orchestras in London. The quartet features the brilliant pianist Dave Gordon and the remarkable drumming of Russ Morgan. Rebop’s Andy Brown on bass will need no introduction to Jazznights audiences.

Jazznights presents the best in modern jazz at:
The Function Suite, The Cherry Tree, Knowl Green, Belchamp St Paul, Suffolk, CO10 7BY.
Tel: 01787 237263       Admission £8.         Doors 7.30pm.       Music 8.00-10.30pm.

Reserve your table seating on 01787 237653 or email.  Pay on the night.
Food available and can be served before or during the performance.

For further information  and future gigs go to