Saturday 11 November 2023
Concert included in the official program of the EFG London Jazz Festival 2023!
A star-studded quintet of London’s finest contemporary jazz musicians pay tribute to the late, great Polish jazz musician and composer, who sadly departed 5 years ago.
Tomasz Stańko first brought his eloquent lyricism to European jazz in the 1960s, gaining international renown. His career entered a majestic second act in the 1990s, with ten standout albums following over the next two decades.
When he first heard live jazz, Stańko concluded that ‘the message was freedom’. Over the years, his creative curiosity led him from seminal free jazz exploration in Europe to New York-based collaborations with cutting-edge American players, including Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, and the Globe Unity Orchestra.
His meditative, brooding sound was instantly recognisable. ‘Nobody,’ wrote The Guardian, ‘holds a single, long-blown trumpet note like… Stańko’.
The evening upholds Stańko’s commitment to the freshest sounds in jazz, showcasing upcoming British talent associated with ECM Records, such as guitarist Rob Luft, singer Alice Zawadzki & bassist Misha Mullov-Abbado.
Byron Wallen - trumpet
Alice Zawadzki - voice & violin
Rob Luft - guitar
Misha Mullov-Abbado - double bass
Jay Davis - drums
BBC New Generation Artist Rob Luft is an award-winning jazz guitarist from London whose virtuosity has been compared to that of six-string legends John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola & Paco De Lucia. He was the recipient of the 2016 Kenny Wheeler Prize from London's Royal Academy of Music, and he received the 2nd Prize in the Montreux Jazz Guitar Competition at Montreux Jazz Festival. His debut album, “Riser”, was released on Edition Records to widespread acclaim from European media. The Guardian wrote that it’s a “very sophisticated debut but given Luft’s old-soul achievements since his early teens, we should have heard it coming”. On the back of this success, Rob was nominated for a string of awards (Breakthrough Act in the Jazz FM Awards, Instrumentalist of the Year in the Parliamentary Jazz Awards), and whilst still in his mid-20s, he made his debut appearance on ECM Records, releasing a collaborative album with Elina Duni, “Lost Ships”. He subsequently joined the John Surman Quartet, with whom he has recorded one album on ECM Records, “Words Unspoken”, due for release in late 2023. Other concert highlights for Rob include performances with artists including Django Bates, The Cinematic Orchestra & Manu Katché.
Loosely connected to the jazz world but realistically inhabiting her own realm,
Alice Zawadzki is a vocalist, violinist, songwriter and composer based in London, with considerable repute as “a genuine original” (The Guardian), and a distinctive and individual presence on the creative European music scene.
Alice’s rich musical background and “whimsical hyper-creativity” (MOJO Magazine) create a sound which draws upon her early exposure to New Orleans jazz and gospel with the legendary Lillian Boutté who took Alice under her wing and on tour as a teenager, an extensive classical training as a violinist, and a continuous exploration of improvisation, poetry, and folk music from diverse traditions, “all propelled in a voice of velvet suppleness and gutsy emotional power” (The Arts Desk).
Award-winning, London-based jazz bassist, composer and arranger Misha Mullov-Abbado is a musician who combines great imagination with raw talent and a clear vision.
A BBC New Generation Artist and with three critically acclaimed albums on Edition Records under his name, his most recent offering Dream Circus showcases his ‘melodic gift’ (John Fordham, The Guardian) and ability to masterfully combine beautifully crafted compositions with free-spirited improvisation. Written over a three-year period the album, produced by fellow Edition Records bassist and bandleader Jasper Høiby (Phronesis), marks the arrival of an artist who has been on a voyage of self-discovery.
His aforementioned collective features some of the most exhilarating and sought-after young musicians in London and was formed during Misha’s final year at Royal Academy of Music. An experienced bandleader and versatile sideman, Misha regularly performs all over the UK and around the world, including at top London venues such as Ronnie Scott’s, the Vortex, King’s Place and Royal Albert Hall.
His vast musical travels have led him to work alongside inspiring musicians such as Alice Zawadzki, Dave O’Higgins, Tim Garland, Viktoria Mullova, Enzo Zirilli, Sam Lee, Rob Luft, Paul Clarvis, Stan Sulzmann and Nessi Gomes.
Byron Wallen was born July 1969 in London, England, while the Apollo 11 crew were on their way to the moon.
Raised in a musical family, as a small child Byron studied classical piano. He also played euphonium but then switched to trumpet, studying with Peter Ruderforth in London and with Jimmy Owens, Donald Byrd and Jon Faddis in New York in the mid to late 80s. In 1992, Wallen graduated from Sussex University with a degree in psychology, philosophy, and mathematics.
Widely recognised as a seminal figure in world music and contemporary jazz, he is constantly travelling the world recording, teaching, and performing. He has been playing trumpet in various contexts, live and on record, alongside legendary musicians such as George Benson, Andrew Hill, Chaka Khan, Ingrid Laubrock, Hugh Masekela, Courtney Pine, Mulatu Astatke, Red Snapper, Lonnie Liston Smith, Style Council, Jack DeJohnette, Jean Toussaint, Cleveland Watkiss and King Sunny Ade.
He has visited East Africa, Morocco, Nigeria, Indonesia & Belize (his parents' homeland). On tour, Wallen often works with local musicians, developing new ideas for his performances and vast body of compositions.
Jay Davis is an award-winning drummer and composer based in London and is a proud recipient of the Yamaha Jazz Scholar Prize.
Jay has performed throughout the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia at festivals and venues including Umbria jazz, Jimmy Glass Jazz Bar (Valencia), Jazzwerkstatt (Graz), Bimhuis (Amsterdam), Pizza Express Dean St & Paradox Tilburg.
Jay plays in several creative projects as well as leading his own band “Badtrad” and contributes as a co-leader to Big Bad Wolf.
Video 1 (Tomasz Stanko Quartet): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bzb-A3Xb_0U
Video 2 (Rob Luft): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0kq5Af_Aj4