Hello everyone – here’s what we’ve got lined up for you in the coming month. We’re so excited about these gigs, so please keep showing your support and tell all your friends. The poster is below, and scroll down for info and tickets.
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6th June – Nat Steele
Nat Steele – Vibraphone
Matyas Gayer – Piano
Dario Di Lecce – Bass
Mark Taylor – Drums
Nat Steele brings his new quartet to the Oxford, featuring the talents of Mark Taylor on drums, recently returned to these shores after a 25-year long stint in New York, with the award-winning young pianist Matyas Gayer and long time associate from his MJQ band Dario Di Lecce on double bass. They play a winning mix of straight ahead, swinging standards and jazz compositions.
Nat is a jazz vibraphone player based in London. In 2017 he launched his debut album, “Portrait of the Modern Jazz Quartet” on Trio Records, with a sold-out album release concert held at Ronnie Scott’s, followed by 2 years of touring the UK with the quartet. The album was awarded “Jazz Album of the Month” by BBC Music Magazine, with a plethora of positive reviews in the jazz press, including 4 stars in The Observer and Jazzwise Magazine. It even made it into the top 10 in the jazz charts in Japan. In 2019 he was invited by Grammy-award winning pianist, arranger and composer Alan Broadbent to give the world premier of a new work celebrating the 25th anniversary of Watermill Jazz. In 2020 – just before the pandemic – he completed an 18-date Arts Council funded tour of the UK with the MJQ band featuring guest tenor saxophonist Grant Stewart, who came from New York for 2 weeks to play.
As well as working as a performer, Nat has been very actively involved in promoting jazz and founded a jazz festival, BopFest, in 2015 with saxophonist Allison Neale. The annual festival, initially just long weekend, has grown into a 7-day long extravaganza of bebop and straight ahead jazz in London featuring some of the best musicians from the UK, Europe and America, with the festival attracting both private and Arts Council funding and getting significant audience numbers and press attention.
He’s currently working on two new albums which should come out in 2023.
13th June – Michelangelo Scandroglio and Alex Hitchcock
Michelangelo Scandroglio — Bass
Alex Hitchcock — Tenor Saxophone
Rachael Cohen — Alto Saxophone
Jay Davis — Drums
Saxophonist Alex Hitchcock has put together this special gig featuring a leading voice on the Italian Jazz scene.
Michelangelo Scandroglio is a bass player based in Italy who has studied with (amongst others) Joe Sanders, Harish Raghavan, Ben Street and Ben Wendel. At the age of twenty he was one of the winners of the Riga International Jazz Bass Competition, and was subsequently invited by Adam Yuang Hong to play at Beijing Jazz Festival.
Other accolades and awards have come from Veneto’s “Tomorrow’s Jazz”, Umbria Jazz’s Conad Jazz Contest, Musica Jazz, and “AIR”, organized and financed by the Italian Jazz Association (MIDJ) and MIBACT (Italian Ministery of Culture Activity), a program which consisted in a one month artistic residency in Lima ( Perù).
In 2020 he released “In the Eyes of the Whale” his first album as a leader on Auand Records, featuring as a very special guest the international jazz star Logan Richardson. This album allowed him to win the “Nuova generazione”, a program financed and promoted by MiBAC ( Italian Ministery of Culture activity), I-JAZZ and SIAE, which resulted in a tour of the major festivals in Europe and around the world.
His playing CV includes such heavyweights as Logan Richardson, Glenn Ferris, Ben van Gelder, Marvin “Bugalu” Smith, Alex Sipiagin, Gregory Hutchinson and Seamus Blake.
20th June – Xhosa Cole Quartet
Xhosa Cole – Tenor Saxophone
Steve Saunders – Guitar
Josh Vadiveloo – Bass
Nathan England-Jones – Drums
Winner of the 2018 BBC Young Jazz Musician of the year, Xhosa Cole is an embodiment of the success of numerous community arts programmes in Birmingham including the Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra, Jazzlines Ensemble and Birmingham Music Service. Having grown up in Handsworth and first played the Tenor at Andy Hamilton’s Ladywood Community Music School, he’s now among a long legacy of Birmingham Saxophonists including Soweto Kinch and Shabaka Hutchings. Xhosa has performed twice at the BBC Proms, Composed music for the Ripieno Players, a Birmingham Based String Orchestra, recorded saxophone for Mahalia’s debut album ‘Love and Compromise’, completed a 22 date UK tour, all along side his studies as a scholar at Trinity Laban Conservatoire. Xhosa Also received the Parliamentary Jazz Award for ‘Best Newcomer’ in 2019 and Jazz FM ‘Breakthrough act of the year’.
Xhosa’s earliest memories of the arts are with ACE Youth Dance group. However, since playing in Holyhead School’s Jazz band with Ray Prince and Sid Peacock he decided to pursue music and joined the Jazzlines Ensemble, Birmingham Schools Symphony Orchestra, Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra among others. Xhosa attended courses with the National Youth Jazz Collective and National Youth Wind Orchestra. He is now finishing his degree in Trinity Laban Conservatoire in London alongside a wide spectrum of work writing and performing across the UK. in 2019 Xhosa received the Parliamentary Jazz award for ‘Best Newcomer”.
27th June – FORJ
Joe Wright – Tenor saxophone
Josh Arcoleo – Tenor saxophone
Nick Jurd – Double Bass
Jonathan Silk – Drums
Forj is an exciting quartet led by drummer Jonathan Silk, featuring the critically acclaimed and long time friend and collaborator, Nick Jurd on double bass alongside the incredible musicianship of two of London’s finest improvisers, Joe Wright and Josh Arcoleo on tenor saxophones. This band promises high octane grooves and expansive improvisation across a whole series of original compositions. Forj attempt to bridge the gap between chaos and purpose. With original compositions as a framework, the band move to reshape what the music is at every outing. With improvisation at the heart of the ensemble, every performance is a new experience. Performing a rocky, but subtle, set of intricate grooves and diverse melodies, Forj blur the lines between composition and improvisation in a highly interactive manner in this exciting chordless ensemble.
Debut release Skirfare was released in February 2021, only available through their dedicated album builder on the Forj website. Their latest album Our Space is to be released April 2022 and is available through the FORJ bandcamp.
“An excellent addition to the Birmingham scene” – Tony Dudley-Evans (UK)
“Forj’s set was a wild, muscular delight” – London Jazz News (UK)
“devilishly tight” – London Jazz News (UK)