Author: Daniel Marx

Bill Laurance @ The Music Room | Gig Review

The phrase ‘solo piano’ conjures a very particular image. One imagines a concert hall with a single, grand piano, upon which a series of major works of classical music or extended jazz improvisations are played. Often concerts for solo piano are about technical musical accomplishment, conducted with little elaboration or explanation from the performer; these events are prestigious and austere. Renowned keyboard wizard, and member of popular American instrumental collective, Snarky Puppy, Bill Laurance has thrown all of those pre-conceptions out the window for his ongoing UK and European tour in support of his latest solo album, CABLES. On...

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Bill Laurance @ The Music Room, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall | Gig Preview

British pianist and composer, Bill Laurance is gearing up to release his fourth solo studio album this month. It’s called CABLES and will be the Snarky Puppy keyboardist’s first release on his own record label, Flint Music. In support of the new record, Laurance will be embarking on a tour around the UK and Europe, and like on the record, the only musician on stage during these tour dates will be Laurance himself. The tour has been marketed as a solo piano tour “with a little help from some electronic friends”, wherein Laurance has stripped back the significantly instrumentally...

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The Sphinx Album Roundup | February 2019

With the Grammys out of the way, we here at the Sphinx have been diving, head first into 2019’s new album releases, unburdened by awards chatter, and the exhausting cultural discourse of last year. As a result, we’ve been able to dig up some of the most promising of this month’s releases. This month includes the latest album from a notorious jazz saxophonist, the ever-changing works of a beloved indie group, and the latest offering from adored rock giants. Chris Potter – Circuits (Daniel Marx – Music Editor) It is a pretty rare occurrence these days that someone will...

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VEIN ft. Andy Sheppard @ Liverpool International Jazz Festival | Gig Review

Switzerland is known for the precision of their finely crafted watches, and that same culture of precision seems to have shaped the musical approach of one of the country’s leading jazz ensembles: VEIN Trio. Pianist Michael Arbenz, bassist Thomas Lähns and drummer Florian Arbenz graced the stage of the Capstone Theatre on Sunday night for the final performance of this year’s Liverpool International Jazz Festival. Their playing was complex, varied and exacting, but also relaxed, demonstrating that this well-established trio are totally comfortable and assured of their obvious talent, but self-aware enough not to be showy about it. The...

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Kit Downes & Tom Challenger @ Liverpool International Jazz Festival | Gig Review

The Liverpool International Jazz Festival plays host to a wide variety of performances, bringing in musicians from around the world. They also spotlight musicians who represent some of the more off the beaten path strands of the British jazz scene. Pianist Kit Downes and saxophonist Tom Challenger are long-time collaborators who have picked up the reins left, following the fairly recent deaths of luminaries of the British avant-garde, John Taylor and Kenny Wheeler. Downes and Challenger convey in their music the same profundity and wistfulness that some feared lost following John Taylor’s death in 2015. If I may be...

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