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Sarah Gillespie and Gilad Atzmon


Contemporary Jazz-influenced singer-songwriter

Thursday 13th Jan 8pm
Bonington Theatre

Review by By Trudie Squires

Sarah Gillespie (guitar & vocals) Gilad Atzmon (clarinet, accordion & sax) Enzo Zirilli (drums) Ben Bastin (double bass)

COMPELLING listening from Sarah Gillespie's high-octane and refreshingly different quartet enthralled a near capacity audience at our first gig of 2011. Gillespie was celebrating the release of her new album "In The Current Climate" - a collection of her own fiercely political material, which came straight to the point; her songs describing how politicians down the ages have affected people's lives; telling stories, sung with sincerity and conviction, highlighting her tremendous range and beautifully controlled phrasing. Sarah was also a highly accomplished guitarist, accompanying her vocals with dexterity and skill. Her exchanges with fellow front-liner multi-instrumentalist Gilad Atzmon were at times hilarious and on other occasions, explosive! His subdued clarinet on some numbers was the perfect foil to Gillespie's ferocious attack. Bass player Ben Bastin joined in the fun; he was equally adept with the bow as well coaxing some huge sounds from his instrument. The quartet's Italian drummer, Enzo Zirilli's brilliant percussive skills also added to the mix. As well as her own material Sarah included a couple of jazz standards; Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out described another economic crisis in the 1920's dedicated to the great blues singer Bessie Smith. On the jazz classic All Of Me Atzmon's scat vocal doubled the tempo and produced outrageous exchanges with all the group, ending with traditional jazz style clarinet.

Sarah's originals included material from her previous album "Stalking Juliet;" Big Mistake included a sweeping arco introduction from Ben Bastin, leading into Sarah's beguiling vocal. How The Mighty Fall was a dig at today's politicians with Sarah's attacking vocal aimed at their contemptible behaviour. From her new album was How The West Was Won featured an intricate drum intro from Enzo Zirilli, after which Sarah's song described the plight of prisoners who suffered the agonies of Guantanamo. Gilad followed with an outstanding statement on soprano sax. After the interval Sarah played and sang with a duo and trio format before the quartet was re-united on Spinning Line; Sarah's fabulous contribution was cleverly accompanied by Bastin's smart bass playing and wonderful soprano sax. Now thoroughly warmed up the group attacked the last two numbers with increased gusto; Stalking Juliet - the title track from her first album - rocked along in great style, with Gilad's bop-charged alto producing a memorable performance. As an encore, Million Moons, brought a storming finish to a great session by this revolutionary band.

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