JAZZ @ PIZZA EXPRESS
4th August 2016
A basement in Soho is hardly the first place you'd associate seeing award winning musicians play, but Jazz @ Pizza Express is just the place to cosy up to extraordinary musicians. Every night of the week this bijou club showcases the best talent from the jazz world. Previously the venue has hosted performances from Norah Jones, Jamie Cullum, Gregory Porter and Amy Winehouse to name a few.
Two-time Grammy Award winner, Laurence Juber already had a sterling pedigree as a session musician before Denny Laine spotted him on a David Essex TV special. After joining Laine and McCartney for three years in Wings, Juber continued his session work and by now had a reputation as one of the UK's greatest guitarists. Sadly we've lost him to our cousins across the pond as he's resided in LA for 35 years, but thankfully he returned for two very rare and special shows on home soil.
Juber opens his set alone, armed only with his custom Martin guitar for an on-stage companion, and performs a cover of Del Shannon's Runaway followed by a self-penned track entitled Cobalt Blue. He then invites another two virtuoso musicians onto the stage; double bassist Arnie Somogyi and drummer Stephen Keogh to make up an awe-inspiring jazz trio.
His set is accessible, alternating between his own songs, including Mosaic, the atmospheric Guitar Noir and the latin inspired Stolen Glances, Jazz standards like Cry Me A River and How Wonderful You Are and even some Beatles songs, which he jokingly refers to as 'British folk tunes.' A cover of the Hendrix classic, Little Wing, is beautifully executed and for Off The Leash he even segues into Daytripper and the James Bond theme tune (perhaps a reference to his work on The Spy Who Loved Me.)
A fan of alternate tuning, Juber advises guitarists in the audience of the changes he's making, before returning to 'missionary tuning'. Any guitarist will certainly relish the opportunity to get up close and personal with such tremendous musicians and study Juber's every hammer on and finger tap. Those of us mere mortals not graced with such talent can only marvel at the level of skill upon the stage, and what a perfect place to do it.