Sachal Vasandani with his current album, "Hi-Fly". New York based Vasandani and Ian have colluded over the last couple of years at the Elgar Room in the Albert Hall, Pizza Express Dean Street and the Hideaway, Streatham. Much fun was had on these gigs and Ian highly recommends this CD. Gabriel Kahane, singer, pianist and composer, is making waves with his stunning album, "Where Are the Arms?". Emilia Martensson, "And So It Goes", a beautiful collaboration with one of Ian's favourite piano players, Barry Green, is out on Babel. "Seven" is the new mini album by US songwriter, Emily King. Stand-out tracks "Georgia" and "No More".
Fran Strachan and her loyal team are holders of a Parliamentary (APPJAG) Award for best venue (2011). Too right! I have played this stunning club five times since its opening in 2010: it is "state of the art", warm, energetic and has a superb sound system. The bar which is sound-proofed boasts a couple of great barmen who really understand cocktails. It’s as if a Californian jazz club has sprung up in the back streets of South West London.
Driven ferociously yet tenderly by Enzo Zirilli on drums, with Ross Stanley on organ, this is a modern classic, harking back to the ever-popular tenor and trumpet led combos of hard bop. Also look out for a great guest appearance from Natalie Williams on Stevie Wonder's Smile Please.
A fabulous live recording of Tubs captured in 1965 at Ronnie Scott's, with Jeff Clyne on bass, Benny Goodman on drums and Terry Lannegan on piano. Really captures the fire of Tubby's playing.
Lauded by John Fordham of The Guardian, and a favourite piano player for Martin Speake, Anita Wardell, Georgia Mancio and Ian Shaw, this is Green's second project on disc and is a compelling work. Features New York ace Jeff Williams.
A beautifully played and immaculately packaged box set CD. A great intro to Henry Purcell.
Recorded live in Copenhagen in 1969 this is Evans' finest hour in a trio format. Eddie Gomez is on bass and Marty Morrell on drums.
I regularly play this fantastic addition to the UK jazz and cabaret circuit. The performance areas are very glamorous and American in their feel and the club is run beautifully by Neil Hughes and his team. Love it.
The Cinnamon Club, The Bowdon Rooms, The Firs, Bowdon, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 2TQ
These remain my favourite London haunts.
Paul Trynker's fabulous new book on Bowie joins all the dots and fills in all the missing details. Strictly a book for Bowiephiles, this truly is how to chart the artistic and temperamental ups and downs of a modern pop icon.
A fabulous jaunt through Middle England by the talented writer and broadcaster. I think this is definitely on a par with Bryson.
A solid, cheerful yet ruminative account of what it's like when you were born in 1917… and are still here. I attended her recent platform at the Purcell Room in London and was moved by her zest and scorn for all things mortal.
A bang up to the minute, post-Bush appraisal of the US seen from the criss-cross train network. Funny and pinprick sharp, Millar lives his dream and manages to avoid a single burger. Great travel writing.
An ex-jazz record shop from the forties and fifties. (The original posters advertising the gigs around London have been glazed and remain on the wall.) It now houses retro scooterabilia and serves great coffee and hot toddies. Downstairs is an acoustic music room. Magical and part of the decidedly ungentrified Lower Marsh at the back of Waterloo Station… my neighbourhood.
Situated on the corner of St George's Road and Kennington Road, The Hub serves morning coffees and cake. It is in the sixties church.
Click on the link for the most beautiful and disturbing animation around on line. Especially recommended are the new episodes of "Salad Fingers".