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Music London Jazz Festival 2023

WILL STONE and ROGER McKENZIE pick their best of the fest

Tyshawn Sorey Trio, 
Kings Place, London

ACCLAIMED jazz drummer and polymath Tyshawn Sorey, a MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship award-winner, has found a winning team in double-bassist Matt Brewer and pianist Aaron Diehl, who have produced two stunning albums of left field reworkings of covers and standards — Mesmerism and this year’s Continuing — which they perform a selection of extended and vibrant freestyling versions from. 

Hooking us in with Autumn Leaves and its lush piano melodies, the trio at once captivate with their deft skill. Both Diehl and Brewer play remarkable solos that seem to stretch the very limits of their instruments, and there are moments when Tyshawn’s drumming almost sounds like a techno beat.

The slow swinging groove of Reconstruction Blues, a standout on Continuing, heralds a more downtempo mid-section of their set, which gradually picks up in pace to an emphatic conclusion topped by encore In What Direction Are You Headed?

There’s a hypnotic feel to the trio’s synergy, which seamlessly flows with little or no pause between each track, with the complexity of the pieces making the 100-minute set a feat in itself. Tyshawn’s imaginative marriage of composition and improv sets a new gold standard. Expect plenty more to come from this modern avant-garde master.


Ron Carter
Cadogan Hall 



In the history of music no double bassist has been recorded more than the legendary Ron Carter. After his gig at west London’s Cadogan Hall on November 16 — postponed from last year because of illness — I can see why.

It felt like the scene should have been in black and white as the audience was transported back to an era where jazz musicians dressed in immaculate suits and didn’t bother wasting time introducing any of the tracks.

The quartet led by the energetic 86-year-old Carter included Payton Crossley on drums, Jimmy Green on tenor sax and the excellent Renee Rosnes on piano played two hours of truly immaculate music.

Carter once said that “the bass player is like the quarterback, leading the band, and the audience, exactly where they want them to go.”

That may be the case but magic happened when his fellow band members stopped playing and just watched in awe as their “quarterback” went solo. 

The whole of the hall, including his band, appeared to fall into a trance as Carter played a truly sublime solo of the 1940’s classic You are my Sunshine by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell. 

Carter is truly the “ace of bass.” I count myself privileged to have spent an evening in the same room as this maestro. 


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