Gig Details

Friday 21 February. 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 at the same net price as on the door.

Martin Speake: sax; Ethan Iverson: piano; Calum Gourlay: bass; Jeff Williams: drums

The return of a great quartet fronted by two of the most original improvisers on either side of the Atlantic. Britain’s Martin Speake, one of our most fluent and creative sax players, revives a partnership with Ethan Iverson (one of New York’s finest and most innovative pianists, best known for his work as a member of Bad Plus) that goes back over a decade. Expect dazzling originality backed by the excellent Calum Gourlay on bass and the great Jeff Williams on drums.

Martin Speake is one of the UK’s most prominent alto sax players. An Award-winning musician Martin has been at the forefront of the UK jazz scene since the mid 80’s. His projects are many and diverse and include personal interpretations of the music of Charlie Parker, free improvising, playing standards with his quartet and Indian music with Dharambir Singh and Sarvar Sabri. He has recorded 23 CDs under his own name, including the internationally acclaimed ECM release Change Of Heart with Paul Motian, Bobo Stenson and Mick Hutton and includes work with the likes of Loose Tubes, Stan Tracey, Django Bates, The Style Council and Airto Moreira on a massive cv. Martin is also a committed jazz educator, teaching at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Martin and Ethan met in Canada at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 1990, and theirs has been an ongoing, though sporadic collaboration. They recorded the CD “My Ideal” in 2002 for Basho Records; fifteen years later, their quartet album “Intention” with Martin’s compositions plus arrangements of Charlie Parker’s ‘Charlie’s Wig’ and the standard ‘Dancing In The Dark’ (Ubuntu Music) was released. The combination of Ethan’s searching, sophisticated piano playing and Martin’s fluent and creative sax work produces wonderful music of the highest calibre.

 “Speake…one of the most original…jazz saxophonists on the British scene”… Time Out 

“Speake is one of the most interesting and rewarding alto saxophonists now playing jazz on any continent”…Jazz Times


US-born pianist and composer Ethan Iverson is probably best known as a founding member of the iconic New York based band The Bad Plus, a game-changing collective who the New York Times described as “…better than anyone at melding the sensibilities of post-60’s jazz and indie rock.” During his 17-year tenure TBP performed in venues as diverse as the Village Vanguard and Carnegie Hall and collaborated with the likes of Joshua Redman, Bill Frisell and the Mark Morris Dance Group.  A powerful yet thoughtful and lyrical player, Ethan has also appeared with International jazz artists of the calibre of Billy Hart, Ron Carter Tom Harrell, Victor Lewis, Chris Potter and Ravi Coltrane. As a composer, in 2017 he scored “Pepperland” for the Mark Morris Dance Group and in spring 2018 premiered Concerto to Scale with the American Composers Orchestra. This is a rare opportunity to hear Ethan in concert outside of London – and with arguably the UK’s finest altoist, backed by two top-notch musicians in Calum Gourlay and Jeff Williams.

“pianist Ethan Iverson….letting [his] distinctive attributes shine while also interacting at the highest levels of listening and invention”… Downbeat 

“Ethan Iverson is….endlessly resourceful….there’s never a moment when he isn’t either launching a new idea or expanding on one”… The Guardian 


​London-based double bassist and composer Calum Gourlay is known for his deep warm tone, controlled execution as both a supporter and improviser, and rock solid time and pulse. Born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1986, he began his musical journey playing the cello in primary school and by the age of fourteen started the double bass, having developed a serious interest in jazz and improvised music. Gourlay’s talents were noticed by many of Scotland’s premier artists, and as a result he became the first bassist selected for the then ‘brand new’ Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra as well as other ensembles.

In 2004 he started at the Royal Academy of Music in London and graduated with first class honours with a B.Mus. (jazz) degree in 2008.  Since then he has become a mainstay on the London scene while performing with the Kit Downes Trio, The Tommy Smith Group, Will Vinson, The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra featuring Joe Lovano, John Scofield, and Kurt Elling, Martin Speake, Martin Kershaw and Sheila Jordan. He also writes for his own big band which has a monthly residency at the Vortex in London.


Born in Mount Vernon, Ohio, Jeff Williams began his professional jazz drumming career in New York in 1971. By ’72 he was playing with Stan Getz, followed by Dave Liebman and Lookout Farm through 1976. His other associations include Joe Lovano, Lee Konitz, Paul Bley, Bill McHenry, Ethan Iverson, Tony Malaby, Leo Genovese and a host of others.

Since making a second home in London some years ago Jeff has performed with Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone, Martin Speake, Nikki Illes, Olie Brice and more, in addition to leading his own bands, whose members have included Phil Robson, Kit Downes, Finn Peters, Josh Arcoleo, Sam Lasserson, John O’Gallagher, Duane Eubanks and John Hébert. Jeff has recorded five albums for the Whirlwind Recordings label showcasing his original compositions. The latest, Bloom, features Carmen Staaf-piano and Michael Formanek-bass. Having benefitted from much experience, and extensive study with the great Alan Dawson, Jeff has given jazz drumming instruction at a number of universities and currently teaches at the Royal Academy of Music in London.