As the year draws to a close, time to reflect on the highlights of Radio 3’s series of jazz broadcasts over the course of the past twelve months.
Stand-out gigs for me were Mark Lockheart’s In Deep in session back in January, a combined broadcast from The Jazz Bar of the Martin Zenker Group and David Patrick’s Jazz Bar Quartet featuring a promising-souding sax player called Sam Coombs (who, to my ears, seems like a fledgling Vaughn Hawthorne), and Gilad Atzmon live at Ronnie Scott’s. Special mention also to John Scofield at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival.
Two different gigs appeared on the same programme, eclectic pianist Martial Solal and the great trumpeter Tomas Stanko; I’m not sure if this should count, as strictly speaking both performances were from last year, but the Stanko set was fantastic.
I’m not sure if any of the above compare to my favourite set from Jazz on 3 of all time, the Marcin Wasilewski trio recorded live at the King’s Place back in 2009. Fledged under the wing of Tomasz Stanko, Wasilewski has an expensive touch and a delicate yet profound improvisatory manner, where no gesture or phrase is unnecessary – he reminds me of another bastion of the ECM label, Keith Jarrett.
Admittedly, 2009 was something of a bumper year, and we were spoilt for choice: the Robert Mitchell trio at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Helge Lien at Pizza Express, and a studio session by Martin Speake and Bobo Stenson. My MP3 player plays these sets more often than any others. Except for the Wasilewski one, which, were it on LP, would have worn out by now.
Jazz on 3 has a marvellous habit of sometimes re-broadcasting programmes, and occasionally playing parts of the original gigs that weren’t featured in the original airing. If these come round again, be sure to catch them.
Here’s looking forward to 2011: thanks, Jazz on 3: worth the licence fee alone.
Those were my favourites: what were yours ?