Review: 100 Years Of Jazz In 99 Minutes
Reviews from our Cadogan Hall shows (including for the London Jazz Festival) and other London concerts, theatre shows, and jazz festivals around the world.
"Genuinely needs to be seen to be believed. Don't miss!" (Jazz UK)
‘It is, quite simply, one of the most daring and brilliantly executed evenings of jazz entertainment doing the rounds today.’
"Listening to this remarkably versatile small band of musicians tackle the contemporary jazz of Abdullah Ibrahim with the same fervour and intensity as they produced for Miles Davis's "Kind of Blue" or Sidney Bechet's 1920s romping New Orleans jazz was a tremendous experience. Every era is evoked with complete conviction, during the musical equivalent of the Reduced Shakespeare Company, in which none of the major musical soliloquies gets left out."
Alyn Shipton (BBC Radio 3, The Times )
“In Pete Long, reeds player, raconteur, bandleader and all-round wit, we have a genuine home-grown treasure. If his projects – Echoes of Ellington chief among them – have attracted few column inches in the past, it is partly because Long, who knows this music inside out, appears to wear his expertise so lightly. In another life, he might easily have been a vaudeville entertainer.”
Clive Davis (The Times)
"Amazingly, Pite’s small-but-perfectly formed quintet does exactly what it says on the flyer. Their pell-mell virtuosity enables them to cross the decades and vault the stylistic hurdles with ease. Genuinely needs to be seen to be believed. Don’t miss out!"
Peter Vacher (Jazz UK)
"Richard Pite's brilliant "100 Years of Jazz in 99 Minutes" eschewed cheap send-ups but was in fact full of real information delivered with humour; this set should be on every festival programme."
Brian Balin (Jazz UK)
"Richard Pite’s One Hundred Years of Jazz thrilled the audience with technical virtuosity, entertained them with sharp and informative links between tunes and at the end of the set won a standing ovation. Simply brilliant!"
Fred Lindup (Swanage Jazz Festival)
"Friday brought us drummer/multi-instrumentalist Richard Pite's presentation of '100 Years of Jazz in 99 Minutes'; a formidable show featuring the international standard talents of six of Britain's greatest jazz instrumentalists - Enrico Tomasso, Pete Long, Nick Dawson, Dave Chamberlain, Pite and singer-trumpeter Georgina Jackson. Together - amid a carnival of instrumental exchanges (Pite moving from drums to sousaphone to string bass/ Tomasso from trumpet to trombone and Long playing all the saxophones, electric bass and even some swaggering cornet) they celebrated ten decades of jazz in a brilliantly-conceived (and strongly-planned) presentation moving from Ragtime through the music's history to jazz fusion and world music.
The standard of playing throughout the show was phenomenal proving -yet again - that British jazz at its best is the easy equal of jazz anywhere in the world. And amid an evening of unqualified pleasure (a few of the many) standout moments included fiery exchanges between Long and Tomasso on 'Work Song'; a drum extravaganza from Pite (including a juggling act with his sticks that Sonny Payne would have loved) and the vocals of trumpeter Georgina Jackson - an exciting and extraordinary new star of whom we'll hear much, much more in the years to come.
Digby Fairweather (Musician, Author, Broadcaster)
The Jazz Repertory Company presents ‘100 Years of Jazz… in 99 minutes’ – a conceit that needs substantiation, surely? How can an ensemble numbering just six at its peak convey the onward rush of jazz development in all its shapes and sizes from its earliest origins to the present day in a mere 99 minutes? A fallacy, something for Trade Standards to check, wouldn’t you say? Can it be true?
Well, having seen these spirited players at work before, and having again witnessed their heady mix of stylistic bravura, ready wit and sheer instrumental brio at first hand, I can happily answer in the affirmative. Don’t just take my word for it; consider the reaction of this Sunday-night near-capacity audience, their end-of-concert ovation mixing vibrant enthusiasm and bemusement at the show of virtuosity just experienced. In short, and not for the first time, a triumph.
As ever, Richard Pite’s merry band (aka the Jazz Repertory Company) marched in first, blasting away with saxophonist Pete Long on cornet, trumpeter Enrico Tomasso on trombone, pianist Nick Dawsonplaying clarinet, bassist Dave Chamberlain on side drum and drummer Pite himself on sousaphone. Herein lay the clue to the concert’s ensuing success as each man (plus added attraction Georgina Jackson on vocals and trumpet) switched instruments at heroic if not bewildering speed, and in apparently fearless fashion.
Tomasso became a heartfelt Louis, then Bix, and on to Harry James, before emulating Chet, Dizzy and Miles with a stutter or two when it came to free jazz while Long, ebullient as ever, out-swung Bechet on soprano, swooned as Trumbauer, surged as Hawk and pulsated as Bird, switching saxes, playing flute and even bass guitar as the onrush of styles dictated. Along the way, Jackson added her trenchant trumpet to ‘Sing, Sing, Sing‘, evoked Billie Holiday touchingly with her vocal on ‘Lover Man’ and generally fired up the ensemble, this allowing Tomasso to move over to trombone as and when, while Pite juggled sticks and eras with apparent insouciance.
Having started as solo Joplin, Dawson took on every pianist from Morton to Waller and then essayed ‘Tea for Two’ in chameleon-like fashion, hardly pausing for breath between his Tatum, his Garner and his Peterson. Chamberlain had his chances to shine too, adding guitar as required, banjo even, before setting his cap at Duke’s ‘Pitter Panther, Patter’ as a tribute to the immortal Jimmy Blanton and then made for his bass guitar during ‘Birdland’, ahead of Abdullah Ibrahim’s ‘The Wedding’, whose balm-like serenity signalled that time was up. So, 99 minutes? Well, no, just over.
So, no hint of parody or pastiche, strong personal identities still maintained, in a cleverly-packaged show that worked well on Cadogan Hall’s wide-open stage, informed by deep reverence for the music, but leavened by humour and accomplished with grace and verve.
Peter Vacher (Jazz Wise Magazine)