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Happy Birthday, Kenny!

Very best wishes to Kenny Wheeler who will be 75 on 14th January. To celebrate, Kenny is touring with musicians who have played a special role in his musical life, including Dave Holland, Evan Parker, Norma Winstone and Lee Konitz. The concerts will culminate in a new big band work commissioned by BBC Radio 3; the 18 piece big band will include such long term Wheeler associates as John Barclay, Ian Hamer, Henry Lowther, Derek Watkins, Julian Arguelles, Duncan Lamont, Stan Sulzmann and Ray Warleigh.

  • Friday January 14th, Queen Elizabeth Hall , London 0870 401 8181
  • Saturday January 15th, RNCM , Manchester 0161 907 5555
  • Sunday January 16th, Adrian Boult Hall , Birmingham 0121-236-5622
  • Tuesday January 18th, Turner Sims , Southampton 023 8059 5151
  • Wednesday January 19th, The Anvil , Basingstoke 01256 844244
  • Thursday January 20th, St. George's , Bristol 0117 923 0359

To warm up for these concerts, why not listen to:

Song for Someone
(Psi 04.01)

Recorded for Incus just before Kenny Wheeler's 44th birthday and re-released last year, this album was the first music that he recorded for a large group of his own choosing. It features players who will be on this tour, including Norma Winstone, Duncan Lamont, Ian Hamer and Evan Parker, plus such luminaries as Mike Osbourne, Tony Oxley and Derek Bailey.

Music for Large and Small Ensembles
(ECM 8431522)

From 1990, this is not just an essential Wheeler album, but an essential album full stop. Featuring Dave Holland, Winstone, Derek Watkins, Henry Lowther, Hamer, Ray Warleigh, Lamont, Parker, Stan Sulzmann, Julian Arguelles.

Free Jazz

London now holds the dubious honour of being the second (after Tokyo) most expensive city in the world. This seems a good enough reason to highlight places in the capital where one can enjoy events for free.

Firstly, here is the programme at Ray's Jazz for January and February:

MONDAY 10 January 6pm
INGRID LAUBROCK soprano/tenor sax & BARRY GREEN piano

THURSDAY 27 January 6pm
ORPHY ROBINSON steel pan & TONY BEVAN bass saxophone

THURSDAY 10 February 6pm
LOLA PERRIN piano

SATURDAY 12 February 2pm
JON REGAN piano & JONATHAN SANBORN bass

THURSDAY 24 February 6pm
ANGHARAD DAVIES violin

The events are free and unticketed. For further information please call 020 7440 3205

Both the Royal Festival Hall and the National Theatre regularly feature top quality jazz among their free foyer events. The Royal Festival Hall has events at lunchtimes and in the early evening. Their Commuter Jazz series, every Friday at 5-15pm is particularly recommended.

The Barbican has habitually laid on the best free foyer events in the capital, such as last year's spectacular Musicircus. As part of its forthcoming Jazz Britannia weekend, the venue is living up to its reputation with the following free events.

Saturday February 12th
From 2pm until 7pm
A programme of talented newcomers, including Tomorrows Warriors, and Heritage Orchestra from the Royal Academy of Music & Guildhall.

Directly after the evening concert, until late.
Working Week - The hit-making group that broke the jazz mould in the 80s - Simon Emmerson, Larry Stabbings and Juliet Roberts - reform. Plus DJ sets and special guests.

Sunday February 13th
From 2pm until 7pm
A series of groups to reflect the range of influences from the British jazz scene. A rare set from master drummer Louis Moholo - conjuring up the crucial South African inspiration of the Blue Notes - with a group that includes Evan Parker, Jason Yarde and Claude Deppa, plus Edinburgh's quirky Trio AAB.

Check out the LondonFreeList for more free events.

Christian Marclay

From 17th February until 2nd May, the Barbican Art Gallery stages a mouth-watering retrospective of Christian Marclay's work . Marclay has been instrumental in breaking down barriers between music, performance art and visual art, through such thought provoking and amusing pieces as Record Without a Cover , Guitar Drag and Video Quartet . The latter two, both included in the Barbican show, must qualify as two of the most imaginative uses of video ever. Utterly unmissable.

And, for one night only, on March 22nd, Marclay performs his Graffiti Composition, with Steve Beresford, and Tabula Rasa, with Flo Kaufman, live at LSO St Lukes, near to The Barbican.

Barbican Jazz

The 2005 season features some essential concerts:

Sunday 13th February
Courtney Pine, as part of the Jazz Britannia weekend.

Tuesday 15th March:
Henri Texier, including his soundtrack to Remparts d'Argile

Monday 2nd May
Ornette Coleman, in a very special concert to celebrate his 75th birthday.

Thursday 5th May
Enrico Rava.

Friday 6th May
Ahmad Jamal, rounds off a busy week!

Tuesday 17th May until Sunday 29th May
Herbie Hancock residency. Hancock's performances at The Barbican in recent years raise expectations for this season sky high!

Friday 20th May
The Esbj?Svensson Trio - EST. Both EST and Enrico Rava have albums in the Publisher's Top Picks of 2004.

Tuesday 5th July
Sweet Honey in the Rock. Mmmmm.


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