JLR Interview Archives

With the current lockdown due to Coronavirus, Jazz London Radio will dust off the archives and feature some of the excellent interviews we have put together since the station started broadcasting in 2014.

Starting week beginning 20th April, we will feature three artists per week. We will announce which three artists will be the featured artists of the week every Sunday. Not only will we run their interviews but play their music throughout the week.

This week’s featured artists:

Wednesday 27th May 8pm: Lauren Sevian interview with Sophia Alexandra Hall from October 2018

Thursday 28th May 7pm: Rémi Panossian interview with Laurie Burnette from September 2016

Friday 29th May 8pm: Bob James interview with Laurie Burnette from October 2018

JLR Review: Rebecca Nash & Atlas at the Seabright Arms, November 2019

The British jazz scene is going through an extremely vibrant period right now.  As 2019 draws to a close, there have been more new releases by British acts than for some time, facilitated by record labels like Whirlwind and Ubuntu who have contributed significantly to this trend over the last few years.

One artist to come to the fore is pianist / keyboardist Rebecca Nash and her group Atlas who released her debut CD in July entitled Peaceful King on Whirlwind records.  Peaceful King straddles many musical forms focusing mainly on jazz with a sprinkling of new age and electronica; an extremely mature and ethereal offering for a debut.  Rebecca recently embarked on a UK wide tour to promote Peaceful King and I was fortunate to catch her album launch at the Seabright Arms in East London in the tail end of November.

The Seabright Arms is an interesting venue; although a pub upstairs there is a vibrant music venue downstairs in the basement, with a layout that can only be described as a mini version of the 02 Academy in Islington, not what you would expect hidden below a typical looking pub! There is no seating, well there wasn’t for this gig, so you have to stand the whole way through, or dance if that is your wont. This layout is In keeping with a venue perhaps more suited to rock and other forms of popular music. And similar to a rock venue, there was a support act first up called the Nick Walters quartet, led by trumpet player Nick Walters, who also joined Atlas and played in the main performance of the night. 

The gig featured tracks from Rebecca’s album, starting off with the title track which has an  “ECM” feel, combining jazz with electronics, Sarah Colman provided vocals on Hotwired and Grace, whilst Dreamer contained a haunting trumpet solo by Nick Walters. There was a vibrant and attentive audience including many big figures on the scene, which indicates the esteem in which Rebecca Nash is held. The only downside was the gig was too short!  The band was on stage for exactly one hour but the more important thing to note is how much talent is coming out of Britain right now, and definitely these artists deserve as much airplay as possible.

Atlas comprises:

Rebecca Nash: Piano / Keyboards

Thomas Seminar Ford: Guitar

Chris Mapp: Bass

Matt Fisher: Drums

Sara Coleman: Keyboards

Nick Walters: Trumpet

Nicholas Malcolm: Trumpet

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JLR Review: House of Customs July 2019

On Saturday 20th July at members’ club Vout-O-Reenee’s, the House of Customs debuted in London. Naples-born Dani Diodatoheadlined the intimate gathering, the British inauguration of the pop-up concert brand following its migration from Copenhagen. Fittingly, Diodato’s music also placed migration in the spotlight. 

In his small, softly lit surroundings, he presented his project SUNAAT, which bills itself as a musical exploration of the current experience of migration in Europe. Naples-born and now London-based, Diodato seeks to achieve his project’s goals through melodies, trumpet solos and electronic drum beats. The result is a cohesive sound that unifies new London and classic Naples into a singular jazz harmony. The snug space and cosy decor gave the impression of a private living room, the band playing barely a meter away from the guests. Diodato’s sound was speakeasy-like, a vibrant hum of noise that broke free of the background and commanded the audience’s full attention. 

photo by
Alex Massek

Following stints at Glastonbury and Love Supreme Festival, Diodato has established a strong foothold in the vibrant London jazz scene. His confident image complemented the newly arrived House of Customs. In Copenhagen, the brand worked with jazz festivals and partnered with luxury venues as it developed its own voice. Judging by the London launch, it will extend its track record by showcasing artists such as Diodato. 

The audience consisted of jazz enthusiasts, attracted by the House’s focus on the night’s talent. One attendee, however, admitted that while it was his first Jazz event, it would not be his last. He names the ‘intimate setting,’ ‘chilled vibe’ and ‘personal and relaxed environment’ as contributors to his overall enjoyment of the music. Another guest noted her amazement at how ‘in-sync and talented the artists [were] to make such beautiful jazz music.’ 

Diodato will be playing at the jazz club Kansas Smitty’s on Wednesday 7th August, and again on Saturday 24th August at Bar 91 in Shoreditch. It is possible that he will partner with House of Customs in the future. In the meantime, the brand, headed by Folayinka Coker, will continue to combine London’s most luxurious venues and best jazz talent. 

Natasha Franks is a graduate of the University of St Andrews, where she studied English. She enjoys writing, reading, and learning new words. She currently lives in London.