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The hit of the London Jazz Festival with their double bill concert at the Purcell Room, RFH, Christine & Phil made a return appearance with the Jazznights which was 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.
Christine Tobin’s sound is rich, authentic and deeply expressive and was described by the Guardian as “Tobin’s 24 carat voice” while praising her both for the poetry of her compositions and her golden voice. Much of her repertoire is self-penned and Tobin has received many accolades for her skills as a writer and arranger. Romantic and radical, Christine is a musical free spirit who blurs the lines to create her own unique style that is streetwise and eclectic. In 2008 she was named Best Vocalist at the BBC Jazz Awards.
Her versatility and musical integrity has ensured that she is a much in demand guest with other bands. She has been invited to record and work with a long list that includes: Billy Childs, BBC Big Band, Mike Gibbs, Django Bates, Kenny Wheeler, Nigel Kennedy, Billy Hart, Julian Arguelles, Tim Garland, Gary Husband, Phil Robson, Liam Noble, Hans Koller and a performance of a Bessie Smith song in the Mike Figgis directed film, ‘Red, White & Blues’, produced by Martin Scorsese.
Phil Robson is a guitarist/composer based in London , UK . He is internationally regarded as a highly versatile and creative player who appears in all kinds of diverse settings.
1997 -BT Best soloist of the year award
1998 Perrier Young Jazz award for the best instrumentalist of the year.
Winner of ‘Best Jazz Musician Of The Year’ in the 2009 Parliamentary Jazz Awards.
Phil Robson is internationally regarded as a highly versatile and creative player who appears in all kinds of diverse settings, as well as being a renowned bandleader & composer. It is hard to categorise his style of playing & writing, as so many influences & experiences have gone into the melting pot.
It has been two years since Christine and Phil have been to Jazznights together and this was fantastic reunion. They played with the Jazznights Trio who 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 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.
Simon Brown is a highly respected and popular jazz pianist who is equally known for his arranging skills. He is always in demand to play many gigs throughout East Anglia when he is not playing at Jazznights or with his own trio, quartet and quintet.
Simon’s piano playing has long been the sound accompaniment of first choice for nationally and internationally known jazz stars appearing at Jazznights as well as Norfolk’s two leading jazz venues, the Lakeside Jazz Club at Lyng and The Green Man at Rackheath. He is also an accomplished soloist in his own right, blending vivacity and creative attack with often gentle lyricism. His influences are Oscar Peterson, Nat “King” Cole and Bill Evans.
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.
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 opened the first set with:
1. A Weaver of Dreams with music by Victor Young and Words by Jack Elliott (poularly performed by by Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderly). This was a lovely rendition by Larraine at a medium tempo.
2. Cole Porter’s 1936 I’ve Got You Under My Skin opened with a slowish Latin rhythm accentuated by Roger Odell using the mallets. Interestingly Charlie Parker’s recording from 1954 began with a Latin introduction although Larraine and Roger’s version maintained this rhythm throughout.
3. Crazy He Calls Me the 1949 song with music from Carl Sigman and lyrics from Bob Russell. Billie Holiday recorded this in October 1949 which was then inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame Awards. it was one of the happiest songs Holiday made famous. This was sung as a superb ballad by Larraine which we hope we will here more of in the future.
4. Cole Porter’s tune Night and Day was premiered in the musical film The Gay Divorcee and was latterly very much associated with Frank Sinatra. Tonight it highlighted Larraine’s great grasp and interpretation of the lyrics in this up-tempo finale of her far to short set.
5. Phil Robson continued the first set with the trio of a gentle slow number featuring solos from Simon Brown on keys and Bernie Hodgkin’s on his 5 string double bass.
6. Christine Tobin then joined the quartet with an up-tempo version of the You Go to My Head which is a 1938 popular song composed by J. Fred Coots with lyrics by Haven Gillespie. Numerous versions of the song have been recorded, and it has since become a jazz standard and was recorded in 1938 by Teddy Wilson with a vocal by Nan Wynn as well by Billie Holiday. Christine’s version was an exciting up-tempo version which left all looking forward to the rest of the evening.
7. Corcovado (known in English as in English as “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars”) and is a bossa nova song written by Antonio Carlos Jobim. Christine used the English lyrics which were written by Gene Lees. The original Portuguese title refers to the Corcovado mountain in Rio de Janeiro. This Bossa Nova played and sung at a medium tempo written by Antonio Carlos Jobim. Christine used the English lyrics which were written by Gene Lees. This was played and sung at a medium tempo and the rhythm was accentuated by Roger on the drums.
8. The last number of Christine’s first set was Rodger’s and Hart’s 1939 I Didn’t Know What Time It Was. This was introduced by Benny Goodman, with vocalist Louise Tobin but tonight of course it was Christine Tobin with those soft and sensitive sounds from Phil Robson . A superb medium swing number which accentuated Christine’s “dark timbre” voice.
Following the Jazznights raffle of 3 jazz cd’s and a bottle of wine we had the second set of the evening which again started with:
9. Phil Robson with the Jazznights Trio opened the second set with I Hear a Rhapsody it was at the top of Your Hit Parade in 1941. It was featured in the 1952 film noir, Clash by Night, in which it was sung by Tony Martin. The sound track featured jazz notables such as pianist Gerald Wiggins, alto saxophonist Benny Carter, and tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. (“In 1957 tenor saxophonist John Coltrane performed a version…that arguably put the tune into the jazz standards vernacular.” Tonight Phil Robson played a sublime version of this standard which featured all the trio including 4 bar trades between Phil, Simon Brown and Roger Odell.
10. Christine Tobin then joined the band with a beautiful almost sensual ballad You Must Believe in Spring which is the title of an album by jazz pianist Bill Evans, recorded by Evans, bassist Eddie Gomez, and drummer Eliot Zigmund in August 1977 and released after Evans’ death in September 1980.
11. Who hasn’t sung Old Devil Moon? But Christine’s fiery up-tempo version would take some beating! Powerful and driving with great support from Roger Odell.
12. In total contrast we then enjoyed a very soulful and bluesy rendition of the 1939 Hoagy Carmichael’s Georgia On My Mind during which Ray Charles came to mind but with that unique inventiveness of Christine Tobin .
13. Christine then left the next number to Phil Robson and the trio to play another inventive version of an Antonio Carlos Jobim Bossa Nova.
14. Christine Tobin then returned to give an outstanding version of what we consider to be John Coltrane’s Afro Blue (although it was of course written by Mongo Santamaria in 1959). This was not just up-tempo but trionfante vivace!
15. Rodgers and Hart’s 1935 Little Girl Blue came next, this was part of the score for the musical Jumbo. (The story concerned the rivalry of two circus owners whose respective daughter and son fall in love in which the music was played by Paul Whiteman and his orchestra). This was a fantastic melodic ballad by Christine.
16. Sadly we came to the final number I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free which is a song written by Billy Taylor & Dick Dallas, most well known for the recording by Nina Simone in 1967. This medium tempo was an incredible finish to a wonderful set from Christine Tobin, Phil; Robson and the Jazznights Trio. A word that we hesitate to use as it is so over used these days BUT this evening was Awesome. A great crowd had one of those rare ecstatic gigs.
Come along to the next Jazznights gig on Sunday 19th Aug – MARTIN SPEAKE (sax) with the Jazznights Trio.
Martin has developed a personal musical voice that expresses a deep understanding of the history and language of jazz with individuality as an improviser that is intelligent, melodic, cool, complex, direct, beautiful and profound. ‘One of the most interesting and rewarding alto saxophonists now playing jazz on any continent.’ Jazz Times.
8.00 – 10.30pm Admission £8
at The Cherry Tree, Knowl Green, Belchamp St Paul, CO10 7BY
“Brilliant atmosphere – the Village Vanguard of the Essex/Suffolk border!”