There’s a language in every art form, a code if you like, where practitioners speak, play, create, and although the words are specific, the message is universal. On this album the music invites the listener into the arena of four deeply connected jazz musicians. The compositional set and direction is led by an eminent creative force resident in Britain’s capital city.
Jean Toussaint / Julian Siegel Quintet
(Ronnie Scott’s. 29th July 2013. Review by Sebastian Scotney)
The astonishing bench-strength, the level of talent just waiting there in the wings in the London jazz scene has been proved yet again. Pharaoh Sanders had suddenly flown back to the US and cancelled his remaining UK dates, including two nights at Ronnie Scott’s. Reasons of ill health were cited (although conspiracy theorists on social media seemed to have other ideas). This left a gap. A gap is an opportunity, which Ronnie Scott’s management filled particularly imaginatively, both for last night and for tonight. There are spaces. Go.
As American and European jazz continue to lock horns, Caribbean saxophonist Jean Toussaint tells Trevor Hodgett that jazz is just jazz.
OPEN hostilities have of late broken out in the jazz world. On one side of the conflict are some British critics who argue that jazz’s centre of gravity has shifted. European jazz, they contend, is now more creative and more innovative than American jazz. On the other side of the conflict are some American critics who believe that jazz is an American art form and to be valid has to remain close to its American cultural roots. So where does the great Caribbean saxophonist Jean Toussaint, who established his reputation in America with the legendary Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers but who now lives in London, stand on the matter?