sábado, 26 de julio de 2014

Intense Friday and great Pepper & The Jellies

A perfect combination, a great voice, incredible atmosphere and vibes… they are Pepper & The Jellies, from Italy to this fantastic festival!
Pepper and the Jellies are fronted by Ilenia Appicciafuoco who specialises in singing early jazz and blues: the presence of Fats Waller and Annette Hanshaw clips on her Facebook page suggests her range of influences. In 2010 she met the piano player Paolo Fornara and the guitarist Floriano Andolfo and together they founded the Vaudeville Stomp Revue and recorded the album Low Down Mama. She’s a permanent presence in Rome Cotton Club‘s calendar and in 2012 she published a greatest hits album called Ilenia Appicciafuoco and the Sticky Bones Live at The Cotton Club. In 2013, she founded The Pepper and the Jellies with Marco Galiffa and Emiliano Macrini, adding Andrea Galiffa later on.
I had the chance to interview them and they were amazing, good people, they said more than 10 times that they love Birmingham and it’s jazz atmosphere, so we have to be proud.
Here is the interview and some of their music!

The day didn’t finish there: In the morning I went to buy some food to the markets and I found out a great gig by Digby Fairweather with Becky Brine & her rhythm boys. Shopping never has been that exciting!!
In the evening I did participate also in the fest, but just as a member of the audience, I saw a little bit of Lee Jones Trio and also some from Budapest Ragtime Band.  The trio was in a fantastic place at Britney Place, the Opus Restaurant and the band at the Brasshouse, which has become in one of my favourite venues.
Today is Saturday and the city is going to be full of music and great people!!
And let’s not forget this amazing weather. Keep your bbqs for later, today is festival day!!!

jueves, 24 de julio de 2014

Thursday and Saxitude

Another day has gone and a new one starts at the festival!

2 things after a week:
- Fantastic weather
- Great performances

Yesterday I didn't have the chance too many but I saw early in the morning to Saxitude and it was great!!!

Founded in 2003 by Luxembourgish saxophonist and composer Robi Arend, SAXITUDE is a creative saxophone quartet who set out to develop a unique sound with an original repertoire of jazz compositions and improvised music.

They made people dance, they walked into the audience, they were always smiling and they played really good songs. Especially "One" from Michael Jackson which I loved it.

I had the chance to talk to Mr Arend and recorded their initial song, They just arrived to Birmingham 7 hours before their first gig... It was a great way to start a Thursday, no doubt.

Today is Friday and weekend starts, 3 days to finish this fantastic fest!

A big Wednesday!

Yesterday I really enjoyed the morning at Birmingham, I was at 3 different venues and really had the chance to listen great music and authentic performances from people coming from different backgrounds. Yes, this festival is getting better and better!
First I went to the Jewellery Quarter (St Paul’s Churchyard) and saw Mr Art Themen and his band performing, “that’s a saxophonist!!!!”  I thought. But also the full quartet is amazing.
This man has a story: Themen was born on 26 November 1939 in Manchester. In 1958 he began his medical studies at the University of Cambridge, going on in 1961 to complete his studies at St Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, qualifying in 1964. He specialised in orthopaedic medicine, eventually becoming a consultant.
But his passion was the jazz and he has performed with the best, actually, is one of the bests!
His style originally owed much to the influence of Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins, but later influences included such disparate saxophonists as Coleman Hawkins, Evan Parker, and the “sheets of sound” John Coltrane.
I have an example of what he showed yesterday in a bucolic environment:

In the break I had to leave because I wanted to see another band playing: Kansas Smitty's Big Four.
Great!!! Amazing surprise!! I went to the Colmore Square District and not much people were stopping there, but the ones that did it really enjoyed top quality music.
Kansas Smitty’s Big Four is the feisty little brother of the London-based Kansas Smitty’s House Band. While the House Band draws its main inspiration from Count Basie and Kansas City, the Big Four is interested in the music of Sidney Bechet and the upbeat swing of New Orleans. The Big Four’s unique combination of trumpet, soprano sax/clarinet, guitar and bass, separates the group from traditional dixieland groups. The Big Four have performed at many London venues and were recently featured on BBC Radio 2.
By the way, I saw the Spaniards Potato Head Jazz Band betwen the crowd, I love when the artists support each others.
I had the chance to interview them and here is the result!

And finally I went to the Brasshouse bar and saw Giedre Kilciauskiene from Lithuania.
One of the big successes of last year‘s Birmingham International Jazz and Blues Festival, Giedrė Kilčiauskienė has returned this year with her full band. Giedrė, who was well-known in Lithuania and abroad as the lead vocalist of hip and extremely popular electro-punk bands Milky Lasers and Empty for some years, has recently switched to acoustic jazz settings with Jazz Miniatures. She adds intelligence and taste to a marvellous voice of unique sweet timbre, bright and wide palette, perfect pitch and controlled power. Pianist and arranger Andrej Polevikov, her regular collaborator who appeared with her at Birmingham 2013, is joined in Jazz Miniatures by Vytis Nivinskas (bass) and Darius Rudis (drums). The Jazz Miniatures quartet has just released their first CD Jazz Miniatures.

I wasn’t very long, the concert was about to finish, but I could record her amazing voice and here you have it!

That was a great Wednesday, today, Thursday, should be as well, big quality, fantastic weather... This is one of the best festivals that I remember!!!!