It was really pleasing to be present last night at the opening concert of the new Malvern Jazz organisation. They have programmed three events for the autumn in the attractive Emslie House venue near the Great Malvern railway station, and the first of these attracted a good crowd who clearly know their jazz.
The Sundown Jazz Society quintet from Hereford opened the concert with an impressive set. They are led by guitarist Josh Lamdin who has been studying online with Steve Coleman, and indeed they started with a Steve Coleman composition which set the mood for the set. Thereafter, they featured a lot of their own material that made effective use of the singer’s wordless vocals and the solos on guitar and keys. This was a very refreshing set from a young band not afraid to tackle quite contemporary material.
The main act was the Michael Janisch Quintet. Janisch has until recently concentrated on touring the UK with visiting American artists, but now he has stepped back from constant touring to focus on his own group and to compose for it. It is a fine group with a double saxophone front line, Nathaniel Facey on alto sax, and George Crowley on tenor sax, Rick Simpson on piano and Shane Forbes on drums. Janisch leads the group on double and electric bass. Their music has a lot of variety; the compositions are interestingly quirky, and the solo pattern is nicely varied with a lot of interaction between the members of the quintet and an avoidance of cliche.
Everything to do with the concert was well organised and presented, and we even had a large cake to mark the launch of the club.
Coming up they have Alan Barnes on Wednesday 10th November and another saxophonist Rachael Cohen leading a group that features pianist Deschanel Gordon, winner of the BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year. That’s on 8th December.
For more details visit their website: http://www.jazzinmalvern.co.uk/