12th May 2022

Roger Niven – Guitar and Vocals

Jon Hall – Piano and Vocals

Neil Sharkey – Double Bass

Mike Sharkey – Drums

Last night saw the return of guitarist/singer Roger Niven. A good audience turned out to see him and I can tell you he did not disappoint them! It was an absolute pleasure to play with him from start to finish. Roger led us through two excellent sets ranging from the jazz classics Beautiful Love and I’ll Remember April to Blue Bossa, samba style, and Sonny Rollins’ St. Thomas a la calypso. In between he included the TV theme I Wish I Knew How it Felt to be Free. He also sang two of his own stylish songs, Man Down and Time with your Dream, as well as a soulful rendition of Bill Withers’ Ain’t no Sunshine.

Throughout the evening he displayed an exciting mastery of electric guitar and the various different genres associated with it. We played Wes Montgomery’s Four on Six, Kenny Burrell’s Midnight Blue, Pat Metheny’s Song for Bilbao, and two John Scofield funky numbers Chariots and Green Tea. He also displayed great wah wah technique on the Crusaders’ Soul Shadows.

This was all made possible through the superb playing and accompanying of Neil Sharkey, on double bass this time, and Mike Sharkey on drums. Roger is very familiar with their playing so this only added to the tight ensemble and effortless all round empathy of the band.

The audience absolutely loved and and we’ll all be looking forward to Roger’s next appearance at the Club.

Jon Hall

Footnote: A large selection of jazz cds and vinyl records was donated to Moray Jazz Club by Lynn Vecqueray from a collection belonging to her late father. Some of these were made available for members of the audience to take away and enjoy and this provided lots of interest and conversation among the folk who were present.

5th May 2022

Colin Henderson – Baritone, Alto Saxes and Flute

Jon Hall – Piano and Vocals

Neil Sharkey – Bass Guitar

Mike Sharkey – Drums

It’s maybe unusual for a band member to be writing reviews of his own gigs, but that’s how it is and all I can do is be honest and tell it like it was. As far as I’m concerned this band gets better week by week. Having the Sharkey brothers in the rhythm section has transformed the music and opened up many new avenues. These guys respond creatively to whatever is going on and the rest of us are in turn inspired to give it our all and to explore new exciting possibilities. The sense of time is very strong now and space appears when it is needed. The music sounds good with the sparest of details and the dynamics build from soft and understated to loud (but not excessively) and full, in direct response to what each soloist is doing.

Of course this is just how it is meant to be, but it still seems special when it’s actually happening right in front of you. Tonight we had a lot of fun with the Latin style numbers, bossa novas, etc. They seemed to bring out some delicious drum timbres, impeccable bass lines, and washes of electric piano underpinning the tonal subtleties of alto sax or flute.

We also swung in a variety of different styles and moods from Basie’s Jive by Five to Hancock’s Dolphin Dance and Monk’s Ba Lu Bolivar Blues to Flanagan’s Eclypso. Vocals included Nature Boy, I Ain’t Got Nothing But the Blues and Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me. Tonight’s finale was a hearty and fulsome rendition of Blue Monk, with everyone sitting back and confidently building to a fitting climax. A really good time was had by all and that includes the beaming audience who have not only got bigger but seem to be staying up later. Long may it last.

Jon Hall

28th April 2022

Colin Henderson – Alto and Baritone Saxes, Flute

Jon Hall – Piano, Vocals

Neil Sharkey – Bass Guitar

Mike Sharkey – Drums

Glenn Munro – Trumpet and Flugelhorn

This was a tight and swinging affair, underpinned by what is fast becoming the house band rhythm section, Neil and Mike Sharkey. They have an excellent rapport with each other and respond to events in the front line with constant musical sensitivity.

The audience were treated to a variety of sound combinations and styles ranging from gutsy baritone sax on Dexter Gordon’s “Cheesecake”, Latin flute and electric piano on the bossa nova “Day by Day”, trumpet and sax on Dizzy Gillespie’s “Birk’s Works” and flute and flugelhorn on Luis Bonfa’s lively “Samba de Orfeu”. Vocals included Leon Russell’s “This Masquerade”, Mel Torme’s timeless “Comin’ Home Baby”, and JJ Cale’s re-imagined “Same Old Blues”.

Other musical gems included two rhythm section numbers, Chick Corea’s lilting waltz “Windows”, and one of Thelonius Monk’s favourites “Sweet and Lovely”. Also by Monk, the full band played “Hackensack” with style and precision. Swinging standards included “Afternoon in Paris”, Duke Ellington’s “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart” and a band favourite “If I Should Lose You”. The evening finished with a rousing rendition of Charlie Parker’s bop classic “Scrapple from the Apple”. It was a pleasure to be there.

Jon Hall

21st April 2022

James Steele – Baritone Sax

Jon Hall – Piano

Neil Sharkey – Bass Guitar

Mike Sharkey – Drums

This was a most enjoyable gig! The band loved every minute and the audience assured us they were with us all the way. A good balance of material and an instant rapport between the players made each number an absolute pleasure and a voyage of discovery.

From the piano, I felt the tight rhythm section created the perfect platform for the sax and piano to interact, confidently exchanging ideas, throwing phrases back and forth and building a constant series of climaxes. The bass and drums played with sensitivity, fire and driving rhythm. In a word, or four, it swung like the clappers!

New pieces like Herbie Hancock’s hard bop Driftin’, Mingus’s bluesy tribute to Lester Young’s Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, and Horace Silver’s funky The Jody Grind slotted in effortlessly with more familiar tunes. These included Gerry Mulligan’s Walking Shoes and Out Back of the Barn, Lonnie Smith’s Jeannine, Thelonius Monk’s Rhythm-ning and Round Midnight, the standards What is This Thing Called Love, All the Things You Are and more. We even established, with the help of audience participation, the origins of Sigmund Romberg’s Softly as in a Morning Sunrise in the 1920s musical The Desert Song. This is described as a song of bitterness and lost love, originally composed as a tango. Regardless we played it as an up tempo swinger.

I look forward to playing with these guys again. Luckily next week sees the return of the Sharkey Brothers, with myself on piano and Colin Henderson on alto, baritone saxes and flute. Don’t miss it.

Jon Hall

14th April 2022

Matthew Kilner – Tenor Sax

Dawid Regniak – Trumpet, Flugel Horn

Neil Birse – Piano

Pete Lowit – Bass

Richard (Ricky) Glassby – Drums

This was a great night of modern jazz and it was truly inspiring to see so many accomplished young musicians onstage. It was like coming home to hear once again the classic combination of trumpet and tenor sax, the two instruments complimenting each other so well. The rhythm section did a magnificent job of listening and responding as each solo built towards a climax, dropping down at first to a soft, spacious background and then gradually increasing in excitement and complexity.

Matthew Kilner was on excellent form and his Coltrane-like tenor sound was thrilling to hear, especially in the high register. Dawid Regniak’s trumpet melded effortlessly with the sax, giving the main tunes a bright and brilliant sound. He also produced a beautiful, mellow tone on his flugel horn in the ballad, My One and Only Love, Ricky Glassby created a suspenseful drum solo, leading into the lilting rhythms of Afro Blue, made famous by Mongo Santamaria and John Coltrane. His drumming throughout the evening was a joy to listen to. In equal partnership, Neil Birse played inventive and sensitive piano with his excellent ear for interesting chords and challenging rhythms, supported at all times by a great musician, Pete Lowit on double bass.

Other numbers included Miles Davis’s So What and Solar and BobbyTimmon’s Dat Dere, which hasn’t surfaced in Elgin for quite a while, if ever! The band gave this an excellent rendition and there were flashes of Art Blakey at times. It was the sort of gig where you constantly wished yours friends had been there too.

JON HALL QUARTET

Great evening with a variety of classic jazz standards from some well known and lesser known jazz composers. Many thanks to Jon Hall [Keyboards], James Steele [Baritone Sax], Colin Henderson [[Baritone and Alto Sax and Flute] and Nigel Mackenzie [Drums]

Paquito de Rivera ‘Chucho’

Michael Brecker ‘Timeline’

Bob Mintzer ‘Papa Lips’

Ellington ‘In a sentimental mood’

Horace Silver  ‘Filthy McNastie’

Horace Silver ‘We’ve  got Silver at six’

Lonnie Smith ‘Jeanine’

Thelonius Monk ‘Rhythm a Ning’

Chick Corea  ‘Windows’

Michael Brecker ‘Timeline’ 

Errol Garner ‘Misty’

Hank Mobley ‘This I dig of you’

Horace Silver ‘Blue Silver’

Steve Allen ‘Gravy Waltz’

Bill Evans ‘Nardil’

Lonnie Smith  ‘Side Man’

Lonnie Smith ‘Minor Chant’

John Coltrane ‘Freight Train’

CHASING THE ‘TRANE’ THURSDAY 24TH FEBRUARY

Kapow!! Brilliant night of John Coltrane’s music delivered with panache and professionalism by consumate jazz musicians Matthew Kilner [Tenor Sax], Barry Middleton [Keyboards], Pete Lowit [Double Bass] and Fraser Peterkin [Drumkit and Percussion]. Video clips on Instagram, stills below. 

The full set played is listed below the photos.

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TRANE 4

‘Resolution’

‘Impressions’

’26-2′

‘Moment’s notice’

‘You don’t know what love is’

‘I want to talk about you’

‘Naima’

‘Blues to you’ 

‘Afro blue’

‘Africa’

‘Green sleeves’

‘Ole’

‘Nancy (with the laughing face)’

BILL JANNETTA’S BAND THURSDAY 18TH JANUARY

Really great to see Bill Jannetta come back out of retirement to play jazz guitar. Superb evening’s entertainment with a balanced set of many familiar jazz standards [ see below the photos].

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Chet Baker ‘It could happen to you’

Albert Hague ‘Young and foolish’

Victor Young ‘Stellar by starlight’

Henry Mancini ‘Days of wine and roses’

Bill Evans My foolish heart Washington and young

Chet Baker ‘Time after time’

Joe Henderson ‘Blue bossa’

Antonio Carlos Jobim  ‘Once I loved’

Rogers and Hart ’I could write a book’

Jonny Mercer /Harold Arlen ‘My shining hour’

Jerome Kern ‘Yesterdays’

George & Ira Gershwin ‘Oh, lady be good!’

Cole Porter ‘l love you’ 

Rahsaan Roland Kirk ‘Bright moments’ 

MJC HOUSE BAND THURSDAY 27TH JANUARY 2022

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Featuring Colin Henderson – Tenor & Baritone Sax, Flute; James Steele- Baritone Sax; Jon Hall-Keyboard; Dave Swann- Bass Guitar and Nigel McKenzie- Drums

Bernie’s Tune- Bernie Miller

Timeline- Pat Metheny

One By One- Wayne Shorter

Papa Lips- Bob Minson

In Walked Bud- Thelonius Monk

In Love In Vain- Jerome Kern

The Hippest Cat In Town- Horace Silver

Granted- John Henderson

Misty- Erroll Garner

Five Brothers- Gerry Mulligan

This I Dig Of You- Hank Mobly

Sway- Dean Martin

Swinging At The Haven- Ellis Marsalis

Walking Shoes-Gerry Mulligan

MJC HOUSE BAND THURSDAY JANUARY 20 2022

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Great evening with the House Band and a warm welcome to guest trombonist Brian Keddes who we have not seen for some time and all the way from Aberdeen our old friend Pete Lowit standing in for Dave Swann. Good mix of music interspersed with dry witty humour.

Featuring Colin Henderson – Tenor & Baritone Sax, Flute;Brian Kedde- Trombone; Jon Hall- Keyboard; Pete Lowit- Double Bass and Nigel McKenzie- Drums

When Lights Are Low- Benny Carter

For Reasons I Can’t Explain- Jabero Jorge Rengifo

Own Sweet Way- Dave Brubeck

Solar- Miles Davis

You’ve Changed- Carl Fischer

Hi Step- John Coltrane

All God’s Chillun Got Rhythm -Walter Jurmann, Gus Kahn and Bronisław Kaper 

Moonglow- Morris Stoloff

Dont Blame Me For Falling In Love With You- Jimmy McHugh

No Problem- Jo Jordan

Lines For Lyons- Gerry Mulligan

Roy’s Blues- Roy Williams

Nardis- Miles Davis/Bill Evans

Colin- Great freshness to his playing

Brian- Subtle voclised trombone playing

Jon- Crisp and classy keyboard

Pete- Rich bass tones- giving an assured glue

Nigel-Brush strokes with  subtle simplicity