PREVIEWS: Oriental experience

Metro, Sheffield Jazz, Soweto Kinch'
Metro, Sheffield Jazz, Soweto Kinch'

SHEFFIELD Jazz opens its spring season with a return visit next week from maverick award-winning saxophonist Gilad Atzmon with his Orient House Ensemble.

It is the first in a line-up of Friday night concerts at the Millennium Hall on Ecclesall Road running from January 19 to May 17.

The season also includes two dates at the Crucible Studio, the first on January 25 by the Stan Tracey Octet, classic jazz from the powerful ensemble led by one of British jazz’s all-time greats, On Friday, March 8, the theatre will Mark Lockheart’s Ellington in Anticipation, an all star seven-piece group, featuring some of the most exciting and original musicians in the UK, presenting many of Duke’s most revered compositions.

Other Millennium Hall gigs include, the Karen Sharp Quartet, in which the fine saxophonist is backed by one of the hardest swinging rhythm sections in the business (February 1), and Empirical, the multi award-winning young band (February 8).

The following month sees the Liane Carroll Trio (March 1), the Paul Booth Quintet, featuring the talented side man for Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, and Carlos Santana (March 15) and Get The Blessing, the Portishead and Radiohead-based jazz quartet fresh from successful European and US tours (March 22).

Troyka bring their visceral mash-up of rock, jazz and dance music on Apirl 12, followed by the Soweto Kinch Trio led by one of the most exciting and versatile young musicians on the British jazz and hip hop scenes (April 19) and the return of the Peter King Quartet: Peter King is simply one of the best alto players in the world (April 26).

Alex Hutton, who has been firmly established as a leading figure on the London jazz scene since the Nineties returns home to Sheffield with his trio on the back of a highly rated new CD (May 10) and the season is completed by Printmakers in which Norma Winstone heads a sextet including Nikki Iles and Mike Walker which crosses the boundaries between jazz, folk and contemporary music (May 17).

Sheffield Jazz is taking over the running of the other main jazz venue in Sheffield, The Lescar on Sharrowvale Road. The midweek jazz sessions have been running for 15 years thanks to the efforts of Sheffield-based guitarist Chris Walker who has now stepped down and Jez Matthews has taken up the main organisational duties, The intention is to maintain and build upon the existing music policy, to provide an inclusive forum for touring bands of all types, and also the very best local musicians. Next Wednesday it will be Sheffield jazz, funk, latin and soul outfit Montuno, as featured on the Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show on BBC 6 Music, and the following week gipsy jazz purveyors Djangonauts.