Gig Details

Saturday 7th October. 20:00 – 22:30.

At Crookes Social Club

Full £14, Concessions £11, Students with NUS card £7, 15 – 17 year olds £3, Under 15s FREE. Advance tickets available from at the same net price as on the door.

Craig Handy: sax; Jonathan Gee piano, Nicola Sabato bass;  Rod Youngs: drums

 Leading US saxophonist Craig Handy with top class European support. “Saxophonist Craig Handy is a musician’s musician. Those “in the know” know about him, which is why he’s been a first call player in New York for over two decades.”… Robert Dugan. “…all grace and liquid ease”…Peter Watrous, New York Times. “…hard bop icon”…Scott Fugate, Jazz Times

From the time he arrived in New York at age 23 in 1986, saxophonist Craig Handy was acknowledged as a musician with big, burly tenor sound, sharp wit, and above all, individuality. Labeled “a young star,” by New York Times jazz critic Peter Watrous at the tender age of 27, Handy breathed life into these accolades through a number of important associations. Tapped almost immediately by the pioneering and profoundly influential drummer Art Blakey, Handy went on to hold his own on the front line of legendary bebop drummer Roy Haynes’ band, work with South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, and weave sensuous obbligati behind Betty Carter on the kind of tunes most young artists are presumed not to understand. Since his early time with Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Handy has contributed his lyrical, arresting, intensely passionate and uncompromising improvisations to ensembles led by Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Ray Drummond, Elvin Jones, George Adams, Kenny Barron, John Hicks, and David Weiss, among many others. Most recently, he’s received rave reviews for his performances with vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater. Delivering a Mingus-like brash and confident tone to them, Handy has also served as the musical director of the Mingus Dynasty, Big Band, and Orchestra for much of the last 20 years.

A multi-instrumentalist and reedist, Handy has four albums under his own name (including two New York Times albums of the year) and has recorded on hundreds of albums as a sideman. An extraordinary body of work already behind him, Handy’s ability to inhabit the emotional dimensions of a song, delivering his own striking and elegant interpretations make him a musician to watch out for.

Hailing from Oakland CA, Craig, after playing a number of instruments, fell under the spell of sax legend Dexter Gordon and his path was set. After graduating as a star alumnus of the prestigious North Texas State University, he moved to NYC in 1986 as one of the leading lights of the ‘Marsalis Generation’ that changed the face of jazz. For the past several years, Handy has recorded or toured consistently with guitarist John Scofield, trumpeter Charles Tolliver, the John Hicks Legacy Band, pianist Kirk Lightsey, trombonist Conrad Herwig, the Mingus Dynasty Band, and most notably The Cookers – a collective of stalwart leaders renowned for playing that simmers or surges to a boiling point – with brethren Billy Harper, George Cables, Eddie Henderson, Billy Hart, Cecil McBee, and David Weiss. Handy is also touring of late with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. He is a member of the Mingus Big Band, Mingus Dynasty, and Mingus Orchestra.

He has released a number of his own albums, most recently in 2014 by his highly acclaimed Jimmy Smith/New Orleans inspired project, 2nd Line Smith. He is also a convincing and telegenic actor, appearing for instance in Robert Altman’s 1994 film Kansas City playing Coleman Hawkins.

Jonathan Gee has performed around the world at some of the biggest festivals and clubs in jazz. His facility and imagination at the piano put him in the very highest company, and it is not coincidental that in the last few years, he has been playing at some of the most prestigious venues in New York and the Eastern seaboard of the States. He has accompanied some of the biggest names in jazz – Pharaoh Sanders, Benny Golson, Art Farmer and Joe Lovano.

Since being named ‘ Most Promising Newcomer ‘ in the British Jazz Awards in 1991 Jonathan has become, according to Visions of Britain “ One of European Jazz’s most celebrated musicians, His music is precise, lucid and original, and at times breathtakingly lyrical “ As a specialist trio pianist he was for many years featured at Ronnie Scott’s as the trio or as rhythm section for visiting luminaries. He has released eight of his own albums, including by his Italian trio GeeGallo Minetto, and his New York trio with Joseph Lepore and Nasheet Waits. He recently sold out Dizzy’s at Lincoln Centre in New York.

Currently he is working regularly with Cleveland Watkiss, with Tim Whitehead on various projects, and with Tony Kofi playing Monk. He is also an accomplished singer, and plays electronic music with Northern Star People and Japan’s Coppe.

Parisian bassist Nicola Sabato, one of the swingingest in Europe, is one of most sought-after bassists in France. Apart from leading his own band and having released a number of his own albums, he works regularly with Craig Handy, with other New York legends Kirk Lightsey, Harry Allen and Jeff Hamilton, and a who’s who of French stars such as Alain Jean-Marie and Anne Ducros.

Rod Youngs (drums). A native of Washington D.C. but now resident in London, Rod’s consummate musicianship has made him a big favourite with Sheffield Jazz and garnered him a wide variety work from concerts and recordings to sessions for radio, TV and film. Over the years Rod has also performed/recorded with a formidable array of artists including, Ronnie Laws, Hugh Masekela, Jon Hendricks, Gil Scott-Heron, Soweto Kinch, Ernest Ranglin, Denys Baptiste, Gary Crosby’s Nu Troop and the Jazz Jamaica All Stars amongst others.

“Saxophonist Craig Handy is a musician’s musician. Those “in the know” know about him, which is why he’s been a first call player in New York for over two decades. He is a careful, thoughtful improviser—expansive and precise. His solos build on a rich knowledge of the tradition at the same time as they often set out for the edge, walk it, but never fall off. While he derives portions of his vocabulary from the’Trane/Shorter axis, there is a shrewd depth and broadness to his playing…. Rooted in unmistakable originality, Handy’s distinctive style has his personality written all over it. And whether it is in New York, Japan, or Europe, Handy is always working—with the Mingus Big Band, Conrad Herwig’s Latin Side All Stars, or David Weiss’s various projects like The Cookers or The New Jazz Composers Octet. With a strong, full body of work already behind him, this is one busy musician”… Robert Dugan

 “…all grace and liquid ease”…Peter Watrous, New York Times

“…hard bop icon”…Scott Fugate, Jazz Times