From January 2013, the Electric Theatre in Guildford has been hosting a monthly Jazz Cafe evening in the welcoming and intimate setting of the Cafe Bar. Our guests have included some of the best jazz musicians in the country, many internationally renowned, including Dave O’Higgins, Mark Nightingale, Martin Shaw, Karen Sharp, Art Themen, Laura Jurd, Simon Allen, Georgia Mancio, Brigitte Beraha, Jim Mullen and many others.
Seating is cabaret style, and intimate, and you’re welcome to bring your own supper or snacks. If you want to reserve a table as a group just let the box office know when you book. The music starts at 19.30pm , and the doors open from 18.00
Tickets are available from the Box Office on 01483 501200 or online from the Electric Theatre website. The theatre is very close to the train station in Guildford and there’s parking very nearby in the Bedford Road or Portsmouth Road Car Parks.
Electric Theatre, Onslow Street, Guildford GU1 4SZ
April 24th Art Themen
Art Themen – tenor and soprano sax, David Beebee – piano, Martin Pyne – drums, Marianne Windham – bass
A huge figure on the British jazz scene since the early 60’s, Art Themen has continued to work at the highest level both in the UK and on the International stage. A previous winner of the tenor saxophone category in the 2008 British Jazz Awards, this living legend of a tenor player is still regularly playing to appreciative audiences.
Art first appeared on the jazz scene in the late 1950s. He became involved in the early London blues scene, playing alongside Alexis Korner, Jack Bruce, Mick Jagger and Chuck Berry, and fronted the Stan Tracey quartet for 20 years from 1976. He is influenced by Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Evan Parker and John Coltrane and has toured world wide and played and recorded with many US and British luminaries. We are delighted to welcome Art back as our guest to the Jazz Cafe! Early booking recommended.
Tickets are £14 from the Box Office on 01483 501200 or online here
“an immensely gifted saxophonist with a quirky, almost wilful originality.” Jazz: The Essential Companion
May 22nd Gareth Williams Trio: “Tony Bennett and Bill Evans: The Legendary Recordings”
A tribute to the legendary recordings of Tony Bennett and Bill Evans from one of the most intensely creative, dynamic and exciting jazz performers on the UK scene!
Gareth Williams – vocals and piano, Marianne Windham – bass, Martin France – drums
“The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans albums are usually cited as Tony’s greatest, and Tony himself would agree. He always says that it’s the most prestigious thing he ever did. And of all the albums he made, these are the two albums he’s most proud of.”
Tony Bennett and Bill Evans had first met in March 1962 on the bill of a jazz party on the White House lawn organized by President Kennedy. Bill Evans later paid a warm tribute to Tony Bennett’s talent:
“Like many instrumentalists, I never was much of a vocal fan. But Tony’s development has been fantastic, and for the past few years he’s been my favorite singer…..(His singing) has a depth and a quality and a purity that appeal to me.”
The idea of recording together an album of duets was suggested by jazz singer and Tony Bennett friend Annie Ross on hearing the Bill Evans Trio playing at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London in the early 1970s. But it was not until 1975 that the first recording date was set up in San Francisco.
It seems impossible that these two giants of understated musical sophistication went into the studio with no idea of what they would record. Instead, over a three-day period in 1975, they plucked one definitive performance after another out of thin air, working improvisationally, with no pre-planned song list, suggesting songs to each other and working up the arrangements in the studio, to produce a nine-track album – called, with straightforward simplicity, The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album – that was bettered only by its solitary follow-up, the next year’s Together Again.
Bennett told Evans, “You don’t bring your cronies and I won’t bring mine,” and the outcome of this intimate duet highlighted the sublime creative accompanist in Evans, and the deep jazz sensitivities of the vocal legend.
We are delighted to welcome pianist and vocalist Gareth Williams with this trio as he pays tribute to these legendary recordings. One of the most intensely creative, dynamic and exciting jazz performers on the UK scene, Gareth Williams has been receiving increasing critical and public acclaim since becoming a professional musician in the early 90s. An electrifying jazz performer, he has been described as “a fantastic improviser” by John Fordham in The Guardian and “If you’ve seen Williams perform, you’ll know that he’s the embodiment of creative energy, a physical player who gets wrapped up in his work, with a keyboard command that’s both impressive and well-directed” by Peter Vacher in Jazzwise.
With Marianne Windham on bass and Martin France on drums. Martin France has played with many of the world’s finest musicians. He has performed in all five continents including concerts and tours in over forty countries worldwide, plus film soundtracks, jazz theatre, cross cultural collaborations and recording projects involving orchestras such as the London Sinfonietta, BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra and ASKO ensemble in Amsterdam.
Along the way Martin has performed and recorded with some of the world’s best musicians including David Gilmour, John Taylor, Kenny Wheeler, Ralph Towner, Lee Konitz, Dave Holland, Arild Anderson, Mark Johnson, Steve Swallow, Bob Mintzer and the Yellowjackets, Nils-Petter Molvaer, Bugge Wesseltoft, Mike Gibbs, Maria Schneider, Sidsel Endresen and Maria Joao.
“Underpinned by the excellent understated percussiveness of Martin France’s drums, confirming him as one of Europe’s best time drummers” . Bruce Coates – Jazz on CD.
Early booking recommended! Tickets £14 from the Box Office on 01483 501200 or online here
June 26th Alex Curtis Quartet feat. Dave O’Higgins
A celebration of local talent at the Jazz Cafe this month, with pianist Alex Curtis and his trio plus their special guest, award-winning saxophonist Dave O’Higgins.
Alex Curtis – piano, Dave O’Higgins – tenor sax, Jamie Murray – drums, Dave O’Brien – bass
Since forming in 2016, the highly enthusiastic audience reactions to the concerts of the Alex Curtis band bear testimony to how well the band works together in this setting. Drawing on a whole range of influences, they demonstrate outstanding musicianship and very strong collective writing skills. In addition to their individual instrumental strengths, all band members are established composers in their own right.
This combination creates an ideal unit with great creative potential and allows for plenty of stylistic diversity as well as a broad range of original repertoire. Last year was a busy and exciting year for the band and their debut album “Patterns, Habits and Changes,” is due to be released later this year. Expect highly original arrangements/compositions, heavy grooves and plenty of exciting group interaction.
Tickets £14 from the Box Office on 01483 501200 or online here
July 31st Derek Nash Quartet
Much-loved alto sax player Derek Nash is a featured soloist with the Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra and is a vibrant and charismatic performer.
An evening of the best of swinging modern mainstream jazz, infused with catchy melodies and infectious rhythms, fronted by one of the most popular and versatile saxophonists in the UK, with a rhythm section featuring the fantastic Graham Harvey on piano (Incognito, Sax Appeal, Stacey Kent…), Alex Eberhard on drums and Marianne Windham on bass.
“Derek Nash is not only a superb player, he has a stage presence that enthuses both his audience and his fellow musicians.” (Jazzin’ Around)
Derek has been a member of the Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra since 2004, has led Sax Appeal for over thirty years, fronts the funk/fusion band Protect the Beat, and is a member of the Ronnie Scott’s Blues Explosion.
He is renowned for his energetic, vibrant, passionate and charismatic performances on all four saxophones – from sonorous baritone to soaring soprano – and is an award-winning performer having received the John Dankworth Award and the British Jazz Award (Small Group) for Sax Appeal. He received Best Jazz CD of the Year for Young Lions, Old Tigers with the late Spike Robinson, receiving the same British Jazz Award for “Joyriding” by The Derek Nash Acoustic Quartet in 2012. He regularly appears in the British Jazz awards nominations in several categories (Alto/Tenor and Baritone) and was nominated for Jazz Musician of the Year by the Global Music Foundation.
He has recorded four solo CDs and has appeared on CDs with many other artists including Don Grusin, George Melly, Bob Dorough, Jools Holland, Tom Jones, Peter Green, Shakatak, Lulu, David Sanborn, India Arie, Geoff Gascoyne, Alison Moyet, Digby Fairweather and Trudy Kerr.
With the Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, Derek performs approaching 100 gigs per year and has performed live and on TV with such greats as Eric Clapton, Amy Winehouse, Emeli Sande, Jessie J, Sir Paul McCartney, Solomon Burke, Annie Lennox, Eddie Floyd, Sam Moore, Madeleine Peyroux, Roger Daltrey, David Sanborn, Eddi Reader and Tom Jones, as well as Don and Dave Grusin, John Dankworth, Ray Gelato, John Etheridge, Russell Ferrante, Nelson Rangell, Snake Davis, Bob Dorough, Oscar Castro Neves, Lillian Boutte, Clare Teal, Jamie Cullum, Humphrey Lyttelton and Alan Barnes.
Tickets £14 from the Box Office on 01483 501200 or online here
August 21st Paul Higgs “Shades of Miles”
Trumpet player Paul Higgs, renowned for his subtle and sensitive style, presents an evening of music by trumpet legend Miles Davis. Outstanding!
Paul Higgs – trumpet and flugelhorn , Chris Ingham – piano, Marianne Windham – bass, George Double – drums
Ace trumpeter Paul Higgs plays with a sublime tone and breathtaking technique. He has performed with Johnny Dankworth, Lulu, Tony Hatch, John Williams, Peggy Lee and Nancy Wilson. He has also performed in major concert venues around the world, and receives standing ovations on a regular basis.
Paul is renowned for his magical sound and exceptional skill. His great sensitivity, high energy and his own skill as a composer make him a superb proponent of Miles Davis’s music.
Miles Davis, the most revered jazz trumpeter of all time, was at the forefront of several major innovations in jazz from the mid ’40s to the early ’90s – bebop, cool, hard bop, modal, jazz funk and jazz fusion. Paul plays well-known favourites from these styles as well as some less familiar gems.
“I’ve never been sure if I’m a bigger fan of Paul’s trumpet playing or his marvellous composing talents as they’re both monumental! Paul Higgs is a world-class composer and trumpet player.” Digby Fairweather: BBC presenter (Radio 2 and 3), and jazz trumpeter
Tickets £14 from the Box Office on 01483 501200 or online here
September 25th Stan Sulzmann with Kate Williams
British jazz legend Stan Sulzmann is joined by renowned pianist Kate Williams, Dave Ingamells on drums, and Marianne Windham on bass for an evening of standout jazz!
A veteran of the UK jazz scene, Stan Sulzmann has a rich and varied career that has included playing with musicians as diverse as Kenny Wheeler, Larry Grenadier and Gwilym Simcock, as well as a prolific output as bandleader.
Always moving forward, Stan’s Neon Quartet sees him amongst some of the UKs most sought-after young musicians, and their latest album “Subjekt” explores Stan’s ever-developing musical influences. Stan is also a highly respected composer and arranger; his vibrant big band arrangements have excited and inspired people for the last 25 years, and in 2013 Stan was commissioned to write an original piece for the London Jazz Festival.
Highly in demand as a sideman, Stan has worked with a host of musicians, including: John Taylor, Jim Mullen, Nikki Iles, Mike Gibbs, Marc Copland, Allan Botchinksy, European Jazz Ensemble, Kit Downes, Michael Brecker and Gil Evans.
‘It simply doesn’t get any better than this’ John Kelman
Jazz pianist/composer Kate Williams was born in London into a musical family (her father is the guitarist John Williams, her mother a classical pianist). A recipient of the John Dankworth Award For Talent Deserving Wider Recognition, she has gained a distinctive reputation as both a writer and performer. She has released several CDs, each one to critical acclaim. Her latest album, Four Plus Three, was released in 2016 and is a unique collaboration between Kate and the Guastalla String Quartet, with repertoire including material by Bill Evans, Cole Porter and A.C. Jobim as well as originals.
She has also performed with many of the UK’s leading musicians, including Stan Sulzmann, Nikki Iles, John Etheridge, Anita Wardell, Georgia Mancio, Dave Cliff, Tony Woods, Tim Whitehead, Julian Siegel, Karen Sharpe, Allison Neale, and is a member of Chris Biscoe’s Mingus Moves.
“…crisp, incisive and totally at one with the rhythmic ebb and flow.” **** The Observer
Tickets £14 from the Box Office on 01483 501200