Tommaso Starace made fantastic return to Jazznights at The Cherry Tree, Belchamp St Paul on Sunday 28th April 2013 with the Roger Odell Trio

(Click on images for larger pictures)

Born in 1975 in Milano, Italy Tommaso started playing the saxophone and studying music at the age of 18. He moved to the United Kingdom in 1994 where he graduated at Birmingham Jazznights Tommaso Starace 280413 (5)


Conservatoire with a Bmus first class honours and later at the Guildhall School Of Music and Drama with a Postgraduate Degree in jazz studies

Tommaso’s star has truly risen over recent times with his tours of the UK and the rest of Europe with his own International Quartet. The latest CDs display the originality of his own compositions whilst his regular performances at The Bell show he is equally at home with the standard repertoire.

Tommaso Starace cites Cannonball Adderley and fellow Italian Rosario Giuliani as two of his favourite players, and the Charlie Parker legacy is also evident in his playing, but he has increasingly found his own melodically free-wheeling voice, which he applies to a range of impressive originals and lesser known tunes from such diverse composers as Michel Petrucciani, Ennio Morricone and Billy Strayhorn.Jazznights Tommaso Starace 280413 (30)

‘An exciting talent, Starace is developing a seriously impressive body of work’ – Bruce Lindsay – (

…The promising Starace seems to be revealing his most personal voice in the full-on music. John Fordham – The Guardian (April 2012)

Signor Starace is a shrewd operator. He plays alto and soprano sax with impressive post-Parkerian felicity and Italian flair.

‘Starace’s melodious originals offer good blowing potential for alto and soprano solos delivered in a cleanly articulate post-bop style reminiscent of Phil Woods’ – Jack Massarick, Jazzwise

It is interesting that not only is Tomasso a regular guest at Jazznights but after graduating his first professional gig was at Jazznights with Roger Odell some 10 years ago when it as at its original venue in Ridgewell.

Tonight Tommaso played with the Roger Odell Jazznights Trio who were:
Jazznights Roger Odell 280413 (109)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. Musically, his first love was always straight-ahead contemporary jazz, and in the past he has played with many of the great names on the UK scene including Don Rendell, Barbara Thompson, Dick Morrissey, Terry Smith, Joe Harriott and countless others. Roger is the author of three technical articles which appeared in the international magazine Modern Drummer.
Simon Brown – Piano
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, He is also an accomplished soloist in his own right, blending vivacity and Jazznights Simon Brown 280413 (155)creative attack with often gentle lyricism. His influences are Oscar Peterson, Nat “King” Cole and Bill Evans. Since graduating from the University of East Anglia (UEA) in 1990, Simon has worked as a performer, teacher of piano and music arranger and regularly appears at the most popular jazz clubs in East Anglia. His involvement in Blues, Jazz and Jazz-Funk combos have led to appearances at many jazz festivals and has shared the billing with the likes of Jools Holland, The James Taylor Quartet, Stacey Kent and Bobby Wellins apart from his regular performances as a primary member of the Jazznights Roger Odell Trio.
Jazznights Bernie Hodgkins 280413 (10)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.
with a vocal set from:
Andi Hopgood – Vocals
UK based jazz vocalist Andi has always been surrounded by diverse selection of music. Her father being a musician and mother a dancer exposed her to all kinds of music form an early age. Jazz quickly became a favourite to listen to. Andi did a music degree at the Colchester Jazznights Tommaso Starace 280413 (59)institute with studies of classical saxophone and cello, but for fun played in the Jazz orchestra and went to the Jazz Singers group. The directors of these ensembles advised her to take a new direction and swap studies to Jazz voice and saxophone, so she began to study with Malcom Miles and Trudy Kerr.
She currently teaches woodwind and singing in schools and lectures at Suffolk New College. As well as this Andi also teaches privately. As part of her freelance work Andi has performed with many musicians and ensembles both locally and further afield. Performing at venues such as The 606, Royal Albert Hall, The Royal Festival Hall, The Vortex and The Barbican. Andi is a member of the London Vocal Project, a project based choir led by Pete Churchill.

All were introduced by our Master Of Ceremonies for the evening – our guest harmonica player – Geoff Harriman.

Andi Hopgood opened her set with with Frank Loesser and Paul Harris’s 1950 I’ve Never Been in Love Before, a lovely number sang at a medium tempo showing off Andi’s velvety Jazznights Andi Hopgood 280413 (148)tones.
Antonio Carlos’s 1967 Triste followed again at a medium tempo but with the full Bossa Nova accompanient powered by Roger Odell’s Latin drumming very ably supported with solos from Simon Brown and Bernie Hodgkins.
The Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s ballad, the 1940 It Never Entered My Mind  was a very contrasting number from Andi and was sang with great sensitivity.
Andi’s final song for the evening was a very up-tempo version of Bronislau Kaper and Ned Washington’s 1947 On Green Dolphin Street  which included her inimitable style of scat singing which the bands support very ably supported with great gusto.

Tommaso Starace then joined the trio for his first set which included the  following numbers:
1. Stefano Di Battista’s Nico’s Dream played at a cracking up-tempo rhythm which got Jazznights Tommaso Starace 280413 (73)Tommaso off to a great start playing with fife in his belly stet the place alight. A portent of what was to follow!
2. Don Raye’s 1941 You Don’t Know What Love Is (remarkably, this great jazz standard was originally written for a Bud Abbott and Lou Costello film). What a contrasting style from Tommaso with his rendition of the lovely ballad.
3. The final number of this first set was an very extended version of Duke Ellington and Juan Tizol’s Caravan. How did he get that Bedouin camel caravan sound out of that alto?  This was a masterpiece number that no one will forget and was still being talked about at the end of the gig.

Jazznights Tommaso Starace 280413 (77)Following the interval and 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 our M.C Geoff Jazznights Tommaso Starace 280413 (80)Harriman with his harmonica and Brian Stapely (Brian hails from Enfield, North London, and has played with most bands on the London and Home Counties scene, he spent many years in the Memphis Jazz Band run by Mike Barry) on drums playing Irving Berlin’s Cheek to Cheek.

Tommaso Starace then returned with:
4. a great version of Antonio Carlos’s Wave at a medium tempo bossa nova which featured Simon Brown on the piano Jazznights Tommaso Starace 280413 (31)in top form.
5. Gene De Paul’s I’ll Remember April  (Published in 1941, it was recorded by Woody Herman and His Orchestra and entered the pop charts in March of 1942) was played at quite a speed with Roger’s power drumming driving it along. Another example of Tommaso combing a fine melody with that unique fir of his.
6. He then called Andi Hopgood back to the stage to join him in an appropriate A Beautiful Friendship by Stanley Styne, Donald Kahn.

7. A contrasting medium tempo number (what was the name of that song?) featuring the sublime 5 string double bass of Bernie Hodgkins
8. Beatrice is a tune written by the famous jazz musiciaJazznights Tommaso Starace 280413 (76)n and composer Sam Rivers and was played again at a medium tempo.

Duke Ellington’s 1935 In A Sentimental Mood very sadly this ended this evenings great gig – one to remember. Topmmaso introduced the number on the alto followed by Bernie and Simon before going back to the alto for the finale.

On Sunday 12th May Jazznights present CLARE FOSTER (voc) for a BBC LIVE RECORDING.
A jazz and Brazilian music specialist, Clare has performed at many festivals throughout the world including the London Jazz Festival, the North Sea Jazz Festival and the Montreal Jazz Festival. “…the breath-taking Clare Foster…an amazing ability to turn a familiar tune into something new and exciting”. Metro.

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

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