(For larger images click on the pictures)
Karen Sharp made a very welcome return to Jazznights and a great addition to the Jazznights Trio for this evening was Ted Beament on piano. Ted and Karen were of course regular members of the Humphrey Lyttleton band for many years.
With the release of her most recent CD “Spirit” Karen is now firmly established on the UK scene with her own quartet and her performances as part of “The Tokyo Trio” with Tina May & Nikki Iles. “Her sound is warm and full, her improvised lines bold and clear” Dave Gelly – The Observer. “An extraordinary talent” Phil Collins – BBC Radio 2.
Karen took up the tenor saxophone whilst studying composition at the Royal 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
Now a well-established player on the scene, Award wining saxophonist Karen Sharp’s powerful, swinging, melodic saxophone style has graced an impressive array of fine bands. Her cv includes work with the likes of US stars Scott Hamilton, Warren Vache, Bucky Pizzerelli and Dick Sudhalter as well as many of the finest UK musicians such as Sir John Dankworth, Cleo Laine, Mark Nightingale, Jacqui Dankworth and Clare Teal.
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. Tonight proved how true this statement was.
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.
Ted Beament is one of the finest pianists that Britain has to offer. As well as being a great band player, Ted is equally at home performing as an innovative soloist or providing an excellent accompaniment for any vocalist. He was a stalwart of the outstanding Humphrey Lyttleton Band since 1995 but has also played alongside many fine soloists; Spike Robinson, Al Cohn, Don Rendell to name but a few. Born in Basingstoke during the war years, he now lives on the outskirts of Harlow, Essex, and although he has performed world-wide, he manages to maintain his superb musicianship around Britain and on the London jazz
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 Odell opening set included:
1. A Weaver of Dreams with music by Victor Young and Words by Jack Elliott (popularly performed by by Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderly). This was a lovely rendition by Larraine at a medium tempo featuring both Ted Beament Bernie Hodgkins
2. The Gentle Rain composed by Luiz Bonfa was sung and played with a very gentle Boss Nova rhythm.
3. The 1956 Too Close for Comfort (with Words and Music by Jerrold L Bock, Lawrence Holofcener and George Weiss – It was written in 1956 as part of the score for the Broadway musical Mr Wonderful starring Sammy Davis, Jr. followed as a medium-tempo very swinging vocal innovatively supported by Ted Beament and Bernie Hodgkins.
4. But Beautiful (1947) with music by Jimmy Van Heusen and lyrics from Johnny Burke. Bing Crosby introduced “But Beautiful” in the fifth “Road” film that he made with Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour (Tenor saxophonist Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis was the first jazz player to record this tune in 1947.) The title was echoed by the way that Larraine sung this song a very slow beautiful version.
5. You Go to My Head (1938) by J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie was a great up-tempo ending to Larraine’s set for the evening.
Karen Sharp then joined us with her tenor sax and gave a stunning first set which included:
6. Neil Hefti’s composition which was played at a medium tempo and was the ideal foil for the introductory solos from Karen, Ted and Bernie.
7. Bright Moments – the 1973 album of the same name fro the multi instrumentalist Roland Kirk followed at a medium tempo leading into a blazing up-tempo version.
8. From Karen’s Brandy & Beer album with Robert Fowler we had a superb slow tempo version of My Old Flame.
9. Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II’s The Song Is You from 1932 was not played as the original romantic melody but at a blistering up-tempo number with contributions from all including trades with Roger Odell. Sadly, the last number of Karen’s first set which had us all wanting more from her beautifully played tenor saxophone and the complimentary piano from Ted Beament.
Following the interval and the Jazznights raffle of 3 jazz cd’s and a bottle of wine Karen Sharp returned with:
10. Whisper Not. Saxophonist, composer, and arranger Benny Golson wrote this in 1956 when he was with Dizzy Gillespie’s Big Band. It caught on immediately with jazz musicians, and several instrumentalists recorded the tune and tonight gave a lovely sensitive slow version.
11. Summer serenade written by Benny Carter and is the title track of an album by Benny Carter released in October 1998. Karen played this last week at a concert “A Tribute to Benny Carter” with Warren Vache in Baden Switzerland. Tonight she played it for Jazznights as an exiting up-tempo number.
12 In total contrast Karen played a beautifully sublime version of the 1940 Rodgers and Hart ballad It Never Entered My Mind .
13. Another contrastingly played tune was Cole Porter’s Get Out Of Town a melodic medium tempo number illustrating Karen’s flexibility of interpretation.
14. Jerome Kern’s All The Things You Are was played with many variations – it did make for exciting listening though!
15. Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most (mostly associated with the lyric writer Frances Landesman but the music was composed by Thomas J Wolf). This very lovely and popular tune was given a very sensitive interpretation by Karen.
16. This was sadly Karen’s last number for this great evening of a jazz master class. An up-tempo wonderfully blazing version of Charlie Parker’s 1947 Scrapple from the Apple which all the band enjoyed with great verve on their solos and the trades between Bernie on the bass and Roger with the power drumming.
All the quotations of the past such as “an extraordinary talent.” “she is a superb master of the tenor saxophone” “Her sound is warm and full, her improvised lines bold and clear” “at the top of the tree in uk jazz.” all proved so tjrue and was endorsed fully by the full house at the club. This was Karen’s third visit to Jazznights and it will not be her last.
On Sunday the 31st March Jazznights has EMILY DANKWORTH on vocals. Given her musical background – granddaughter of Cleo Laine and John Dankworth, and daughter of Alec Dankworth – it is no surprise that Emily has her forte in music. As a solo singer she has performed at the Barbican, The Stables Theatre and the Vortex jazz club amongst others. “Emily has a lovely, natural quality to her voice that has an alluring purity” Phil Robson.
Reserve your table seating on 01787 237653 or email. Pay on the night.
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.
Food available and can be served before or during the performance.
For further information and future gigs go to http://www.jazz-nights.com