Pianist Andrew Woodhead’s week – with vocalists and without

Andrew Woodhead (Photo © Arthur Hagues)

Andrew Woodhead (Photo © Arthur Hagues)

I don’t know for certain but I’m guessing that if you are a singer and the pianist on your gig is Andrew Woodhead, then you’re reassured and smiling. Andy seems to have an affinity with vocalists and is as sympathetic in accompaniment as you could hope for.

Which means that Anthony Marsden and Holly Thomas should both be looking reassured and smiling on Friday evening at the Ikon Gallery in Brindley Place.

Marsden is steadily and surely making a name for himself as a strong and original jazz singer. He tends to follow the well-trodden path – and there is nothing wrong with that – of taking on standards and original compositions written very much with that classic songbook tradition in mind, and he tackles them in time-honoured fashion, just as Tony Bennett and Mel Torme and Frank Sinatra and Billy Eckstine and Mark Murphy and Kurt Elling have before him.

With performances at Mostly Jazz and in support of Laura Mvula at the Lichfield Festival behind him, and a gig at the 2014 Cheltenham Jazz Festival to look forward to, Anthony is adding more electric and soulful accompaniment to his sound and is busy recording. With Anthony and Andrew will be Stuart Barker on bass and Jonathan Silk on drums.

Before that, Andrew is part of the trio Snapdragon, with Holly Thomas’s voice and Lluis Mather’s saxophone and clarinet for company. Thomas has a quiet, compelling style which leans towards the interpretation of poetry within music, and she and Mather are particularly in tune, interweaving and harmonising vocal/reed lines.

Andrew says: “We’ve got a whole set of new material by all three of us. It’s acoustic chamber jazz sort of stuff, fairly loose and free in places.”

  • Snapdragon and the Anthony Marsden Band are at the Ikon Gallery from 8.30pm on Friday. Tickets are £10 (£5 concessions) and you can find out more here.

Next week Andrew is gigging with his all-instrumental Sextet – Nick Dewhurst on trumpet, Richard Foote on trombone, Elliot Drew on reeds, James Banner on bass and Jim Bashford on drums.

The band will be at The Yardbird on Thursday 27 February – and then at The Spotted Dog on Tuesday 25 March.

Andrew explains: “That will be nearly all my own tunes, plus a couple by Monk and Mingus. We’re playing around with moving between quite structured things and fairly open improvising at the moment so hopefully there’ll be a few of those sort of things happening in the gigs.”

  • The Andrew Woodhead Sextet will be playing at The Yardbird from 9pm. For more information of this Beat City gig, look for Sam Marchant on Facebook. Beat City website coming soon, I’m told.

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1 reply


  1. Busy week ends with a supergroup in Bromsgrove « thejazzbreakfast

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