Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pocket Central. Alice Zawadzki - Manchester Jazz Festival 2012

Pocket Central. Band on the Wall. Friday 13th July 2012.

It's seven years apparently since Pocket Central's last MJF gig, but they still have the groove aplenty. Tonight's gig at the Band on the Wall mixed classics from the likes of Prince and Chaka Khan with plenty of home spun tunes, this lot giving the festival a bright and fresh kick start. Neil Fairclough on bass nailed the bottom end handsomely, assisted by Bryan Hargreaves on drums.  There was tons of tasty stuff on top too, notably from the guitar of Johnny Hayes and the vibrant sax of Sam Healey. The centre of the pocket was indeed struck.

Alice Zawadzki: Songs from Around the World. Matt and Phreds. Friday 13th July 2012.

Over then to Matt and Phreds for the second set from Alice Zawadzki and her band of merry men and women. Alice and the band did a fine job of putting things across to a bustling and vibed up Friday night crowd, but it was a little tricky on some of the quieter sections. There's no doubt Alice really has something, her voice managing to convey a real passion and intimacy. Much of her song writing was enticing too, usually coming across best in the opening sections of the tunes. One track's fab opening (sorry didn't catch the name) led into an improvisation section of dark chords over an awkward time signature that I felt had the band a little on the edge, but there's promise of great things to come here I'm sure.  Wednesday's duo with pianist Dan Whieldon looks to a must.

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