Gig Details

Friday 25 October. 19:30 – 22:00.

At Crucible Studio. In collaboration with Music in the Round.

Full £17, Over 60s, disabled and unemployed £13.50, Student with NUS card £8, 15 – 17 year olds £3, Under 15s Free. Advance tickets (no additional booking fee) available from Crucible Box Office or www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

Kit Downes: piano; John O’Gallagher: alto sax; Josh Arcoleo: tenor sax; Sam Lasserson: bass; Jeff Williams: drums

An all-star band led by acclaimed US drummer Jeff Williams. Across a career spanning four decades Jeff Williams has accompanied Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Lee Konitz, Dave Liebman, Randy Brecker, John Abercrombie and Joe Lovano among others. Since making a second home in London, following marriage to novelist Lionel Shriver, Jeff Williams has performed with Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone and many of the leading UK and visiting foreign musicians as well as teaching and leading his own bands, such as this increasingly successful quintet whose “Lifelike” CD has gained rave reviews which mirror their reception at gigs. “This was adventurous, contemporary jazz of the highest order…”The Jazz Mann (of live Shrewsbury Jazz event 13.01.18)

Jeff Williams’ fourth album for Whirlwind (following 2011’s ‘Another Time’, 2013’s ‘The Listener’ and 2015’s ‘Outlier’), Lifelike was recorded in front of an enthusiastic Vortex audience on a sultry June evening. As an experienced leader at the kit, with an instinctive, deeply imbued jazz sensibility, Williams coaxes intelligent, colourful interplay from his colleagues. Like all masters of a genre, Jeff Williams has profoundly internalized the traditions of jazz without being tyrannized by its conventions. Fusing and remixing his influences into his own unique voice, he refuses to constrain himself to a single stylistic approach. Most vitally, he wants his audience to respond to his music emotionally: “It’s my continued vision – my aim to offer something that’s universal but also personal, and which might transport the listener into a realm that’s pleasurable and thought-provoking.”

Pianist Kit Downes is now acknowledged as one of Europe’s top jazz pianists. He composes for and tours with his own group ‘Tricko’ (in which he plays piano, with Lucy Railton – cello), while also working with ‘Wedding Music’ (playing church organ, Tom Challenger – saxophone) and piano trio ‘The Enemy’ featuring Petter Eldh (bass) and James Maddren (drums). He also plays and writes for ‘Troyka’, and collaborates with many other musicians, composers, artists, filmmakers and organisations.

“One of the finest pianists of his generation” – Timeout Magazine

 Josh Arcoleo was a 2011 1st class degree graduate of the Royal Academy of music (where he had lessons with Jeff) while also winning a Yamaha Parliamentary Jazz Scholarship and the Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize, the latter including a recording contract with Edition Records for his debut album ‘Beginnings’. In addition to leading his own groups he has toured with artists ranging from Pee Wee Ellis to Joss Stone.

“One of the best young saxophonists to emerge in the UK in recent years” – Ian Mann

John O’Gallagher is considered one of the most compelling alto saxophonists and composers at work today on the New York jazz scene. He is known for an innovative style which pushes the boundaries of jazz while remaining rooted in its tradition. During the past 25 years living in New York he has become known for his projects as a leader, and as a sought-after sideman, working with artists such as Joe Henderson, Maria Schneider, Kenny Wheeler, Billy Hart, Tom Rainey, Chris Cheek, Ralph Alessi and numerous others.

Having been lucky enough to witness O’Gallagher performing live with the Jeff Williams Quartet I can personally attest as to just what a monster player he is’ – Ian Mann thejazzman.com

“Mr. O’Gallagher is an exploratory alto saxophonist with a clear melodic streak” – The New York Times

Double bassist Sam Lasserson has worked with Jeff in a number of different ensembles, including those led by Martin Speake, Ethan Iverson and Mike Chillingworth. John Fordham called him “the lynchpin” in Jeff’s quintet. Others who regard Sam in the same manner include George Crowley, Emilia Martensson, Julian Arguelles and Jim Hart, to name but a few. Sam also joins Jeff and American saxophonist John O’Gallagher in the group Valence, whose recently released debut CD on Willful Archives was called “An absorbing and thrilling example of the art of the trio” by Ian Mann.

Some reviews of the band’s live  “Lifelike “ CD:

Marlbank  2018 albums of the year: # 7: Jeff  Williams Lifelike (Whirlwind)

 “This isn’t a band that’s prepared to sit on its laurels, each performance challenges the musicians and pushes at the boundaries of the written material. A highly worthwhile listening experience. This is ‘state of the art’ contemporary jazz delivered by a highly accomplished Anglo-American band.” …- Ian Mann The JazzMann.com

 “Jeff Williams has been on a late-career roll – drawing fresh energy and ideas from a pool of younger US and British musicians, and balancing a jazz sensibility honed from the 1960s with a relaxation about letting contemporary improvisers roam. This live recording from London’s Vortex catches a superb Williams band in flight on a mix of new and older originals. Jeff Williams’ classic-jazz roots go deep, but there’s nothing backward-looking about this vividly powerful set.”…John Fordham   ****   Jazzwise magazine

 “Williams has done brilliantly to bring his deep-rooted 1960s jazz heritage forwards through working with players of subsequent generations. He thereby combines a strong sense of the continuing tradition with an imperative to look forwards. It is a compelling combination.”…-London Jazz News 

 “Williams’s tautly-constructed, inventive tunes, replete with killer hooks, are pivotal to this excellent album, as are the protagonists who execute it with consummate expertise.”…All About Jazz ★★★★★ Full Review Here

 “Jeff Williams is on a roll recording such high-quality material…”Bebop Spoken Here Read Full Album Review