Gig Details

Friday 4 October. 20:00 – 22:30.

At Crookes Social Club

Full £15, Over 60s, disabled and unemployed £12, Student with NUS card £8, 15 – 17 year olds £3, Under 15s Free. CASH ONLY on door.

Advance tickets available from www.ticketsource.co.uk/sheffield-jazz at the same net price as on the door.

KarenSharp: tenor/baritone sax; Nikki Iles: piano; Dave Green: bass; Steve Brown: drums. 

Karen, a multiple award winner, will be appearing with her long established line-up of Nikki Iles, Dave Green and Steve Brown – world class musicians who also happen to be great friends. Together they create a unique sound that is warm, spontaneous and exciting, incorporating free flowing improvisation with almost telepathic ensemble playing. They will be performing music from their long awaited second album, ‘The Sun, the Moon and You’ which includes familiar, lesser-known and original tunes showcasing the unique spirit of a band with a shared passion for strong melodies, group interplay and respect for the jazz tradition.

After graduating in composition at the Royal Northern College of Music, Karen discovered a love of jazz and was inspired to play the tenor sax by two giants of improvisation – Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins. Karen’s career took off when she was asked to join Humphrey Lyttelton’s band with whom she toured the UK and Europe for four years. During this period Karen also  established her own band, recording the first of five albums under her own name and touring at festivals and jazz clubs. She has also toured and recorded extensively as a ‘side man’ with some wonderful musicians that include Tina May, Nikki Iles, Esther Miller, Jeremy Pelt, Alan Barnes, John Dankworth and Jacquie Dankworth. During this time Karen began appearing as a soloist working alongside musicians such as Ken Peplowski, Howard Alden, Scott Hamilton, Warren Vache and Harry Allen. Highlights of this period include the Ginza Festival in Tokyo, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and the Singapore International Jazz Festival.

A busy and popular musician with an accessible yet distinctive style, Karen has won the tenor saxophone category of the British Jazz Awards on numerous occasions. She tours regularly with her quartet and she plays with numerous larger ensembles including Robert Fowler’s ‘Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band’, Steve Waterman’s Big Band and the Stan Tracey Big Band. More recently Karen was part of the ‘Guy Barker Big Band’, performing at the BBC Proms in 2015 and 2017. Recent recording projects including the ‘Barnes/O’Higgins – The Sax Section’, a project for five saxophones and Alan Barnes’ ‘A Christmas Carol’

“The Sun, the Moon and You” by Karen Sharp, Nikki Iles, Dave Green and Steve Brown

‘This quartet has been together for a while now and it shows. Each player is given space to air their artistry with Sharp taking the lead, of course, her slightly languid sound perfectly caught, with Iles spinning out cherishable commentaries and then soloing with the kind of nimble alacrity that seems to mark all her appearances live or on record. Monk’s ‘Pannonica’ has some of the most engaging playing from Sharp that I can recall, as she explores the inner structure of the tune, Iles suggesting the composer’s angularities in her solo, Green and Brown providing the ideal pivot, before Sharp sidles in to let the theme resurface.Each of the ten pieces on the album proceed with the kind of informed consideration that speaks of mutual assurance, as in all for one and one for all, Sharp taking Ron Carter’s ‘Little Waltz’ as a ruminative exercise, the background quite spare, as her improvisation intensifies. Nothing routine or predictable here, Sharp preferring the tonal middle-ground, near-Getzian you could say, calm yet authoritative, Green a supple second voice. Sharp is a busy presence these days, often seen in others’ ensembles but this most surely is the best way to hear her, working at her own pace in the company of trusted colleagues. She’s an ever-improving player, the ideas sustained and pleasing, Iles the ideal lieutenant. Music to treasure.’

Peter Vacher, 11th July 2018