Friday 20th September

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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
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
Kenesha
Photograph by Martin Slidel

Kenesha EP Launch // Thursday July 10 // Alley Cat

I caught up with North London Roots singer Kenesha over lunch on a not-so-sunny Sunday though her very presence illuminated the afternoon. She spoke with infectious enthusiasm about her forthcoming EP, ahead of its launch at the world-famous Alley Cat venue in the heart of London’s music district. Her new and inspirational collection features pared-back acoustic interpretations of Bluesy yet contemporary balladry, as requested by fans.

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Category: Music
Melissa James
Photo credit: Mike Watts

Melissa James @ Green Note + CD Competition

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First up was Vincent Burke in a natural, warm and easy, performance. What else would you expect when singing about pianos falling down the stairs! Somewhat in the style of old-school balladeers such as Jake Thackray and Tom Lehrer; funny, wise, droll and just jaunty enough to get your feet tapping. Plus a lovely version of Smokey Robinson’s ‘You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me’ replete with new middle-eight. Burke is also a bit McCartney-ish, reinvented with a quirkier, folksier, edge. The punters demanded more.

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Category: Culture
GHOSTPOET
Photo credit: Sophia Spring

Ghostpoet: Hackney Empire

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Music began with the affable Andrew Ashong whom I last saw supporting Jimmy Cliff no less at ‘The Other Empire’. Check-out his intoxicating blend of sunshine-reggae and cool jazz. His talented backing band comprised a drummer and percussionist with three guitarists including himself. Yearnsome harmonies attained that beauty in simplicity marking talent, and the nursery-rhyme-ish ‘Special’ would have anyone dancing around its playground. The programme had been delayed by an hour due to “problems with the tickets” but at least it hadn’t rained. Meanwhile, DJ Thom of Alt-J slammed some slabs.

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Category: Music