Sunday 24th September

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Martin Slidel

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Jean Muller @ Cadogan Hall + New CD

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From the start this was everything you’d expect from a Liszt recital. Simply staggering. Jean Muller imbued it all with his very special brand of magic. Needless to say, it was an immense privilege to watch and hear him perform the incredulously virtuosic Transcendental Études. The only pity this miracle does not seem exposed to a wider and more diverse audience.

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Category: Music
Villiers Quartet
Tamaki Higashi, James Dickenson, Nick Stringfellow, Carmen Flores

Villiers Quartet: New Works Competition

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As always, a treat to take in the gorgeous canal views from an outside sofa during a balmy Sunday at the wonderful King’s Place. The double whammy being the equal treat for chamber music enthusiasts of the Villiers Quartet New Works Competition. This only comes around once every couple of years and is not to be missed.

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Category: Music
Brian Charette

Brian Charette: Square One

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I was thrilled to get my hands on Brian Charette’s 2014 CD Square One. Having heard him play in ensemble at Jazz Club Soho earlier this year, he told me that he plays London too infrequently. His new recording is a treat for all Jazzers and a special offering for fans of Jazz organ. It may suffice until he returns to The Smoke.

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Category: Music
Kate Bush

Kate Bush @ Hammersmith Apollo

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At some point the mirror cracks and dislodges the illusions of youth. That’s what I thought had happened in Kate Bush’s horror of a short film ‘The Line, the Cross and the Curve’. “A load of bollocks” she describes it. I recall cringing with embarrassment having dragged along a colleague who happened not to be a Kate Bush fan.

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Category: Music
Writer and journalist Mark Vernon
Writer and journalist Mark Vernon

Mark Vernon: Book + London dates

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For anyone who does or has found personal relationships tricky (I guess that includes most of us) then Mark Vernon’s latest book ‘Love: All That Matters’ can prove a similarly tricky if helpful and indeed positive pocketbook. A smart and engaging little tome, small but nonetheless exhaustive, I could not read it in one sitting but in small chunks necessitating time to break and reflect.

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Category: Special Events
Marie Fortune and Lucy Laing photographed by Venus Raven
Marie Fortune and Lucy Laing photographed by Venus Raven

Duchess of Malfi @ New Diorama Theatre

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This is a totally engrossing production of Webster’s phenomenal tragedy. All actors are word perfect but more than this this allows the beauty of the language to shine, infused as it is with pathos; sometimes humorous, often ironic, to “perceive the shape of loveliness more perfectly in woe than in joyfulness…” So beautiful that I want to read the whole play through again.

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Category: Theatre
Tom Gamble at Jazz Club Soho, London.
Tom Gamble at Jazz Club Soho, London.

Tom Gamble: CD + London dates

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Classically-trained guitarist Tom Gamble recently played a solo set at the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden, going down a storm with the assembled literary crowd at the Playerist Comedy Night. He’s soon to leave these shores to further his studies abroad so catch him while you can. Meanwhile, music lovers will be more than satisfied with Mr Gamble’s fantastic début Jazz CD Rooftop Music. Recently graduating with a First from Trinity Laban Conservatoire in Greenwich, the maestro leads the Tom Gamble Ensemble at the South Bank Centre on August 8. He then departs with fitting flourish as Director of the Quiet Nights Orchestra at a very special gig at the National Portrait Gallery on August 22.

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Category: Culture
Kenesha
Photograph by Martin Slidel

Kenesha @ Alley Cat

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I rocked up at the great Alley Cat Club about eightish when unusually for live gigs the party had already started. In retrospect unsurprising as the popular Kenesha had not one but three top-level support acts. I made it in to the soulful yet gravely voice of Alex Bay for spot-on delivery of his David Gray-esque Love Never Dies. Next up was Blues singer Winston Skerritt whose gently styled speech-singing was matched by sensitive and rhythmic guitar. Terrific changes of tempo and dynamics included the slowed-down end of the hypnotic The One That Got AwayJoe Garvey’s clever and witty ramble Long Way to Fall boasted admirable articulation of otherwise tongue-twisting lyrics. This followed with what else but a down-and-dirty version of MJ’s Beat It.

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Category: Clubs