Preface: This pastiche is decidedly biased, as it is written by someone in the business—as a manager, record label owner, agent and talent spotter—whose love for jazz exceeds all in his life, other than his love for his family. I’ve chosen to highlight my relationships with each artist/band, along with a sound bite performance rating, to protect the innocent. Otherwise, I’ll simply take the 5th Amendment.
Leo Richardson Quartet
Free Stage, Royal Festival (Full)
One of the first shows of the festival, and what a way to do so. Leo Richardson is ice hot, having just released his debut album to universal rave reviews (including 5 Stars in the Guardian/Observer). The band is the real deal, with thrusting bebop/hard bop music straight out of the Blue Note catalogue of the 1960s. Hundreds attended and clung to the superb craftsmanship of Richardson’s tenor, Rick Simpson’s ivories, Tim Thornton’s rhythmic backbone and Chris Draper’s beat. Joy on a Friday afternoon.