London-based alto saxophonist Sam Braysher plays London and Brighton, 20th January, in duo with pianist Michael Kanan. The pair made a name for themselves on Braysher’s 2017 debut album, Golden Earrings, for drawing on the original sheet music of standards in an attempt to get close to the composer’s “original intention”, free from the influence of intervening interpretations.
Released in September 2017 on the Spanish label Fresh Sound New Talent, the collaboration with Kanan was selected by Dave Gelly and Simon Adams amongst their favourite releases of 2017 in the Jazz Journal Critics’ Poll (JJ 0117). The duo’s approach to interpreting the Great American Songbook was also discussed by Dave Gelly in his column in JJ 0217. Their idea is to learn the song in its purest form before coming up with a personal interpretation or arrangement.
Michael Kanan is probably best known for his work with singers: he is currently pianist and musical director for Jane Monheit, and previously toured the world in the same role for ‘Little’ Jimmy Scott (click links for YouTube videos). He has also worked with Lee Konitz, Ted Brown and A-list guitarists Peter Bernstein and Kurt Rosenwinkel. Meanwhile, Braysher maintains a busy freelance career on the London scene, and has recently been heard playing with Jorge Rossy (of Brad Mehldau Trio fame), Barry Green Sextet, the London Jazz Orchestra and ECM composer/arranger John Warren’s Nonet.
The pair launched Golden Earrings with a week-long, eight-gig UK tour in September 2017. This tour has comprised nine gigs – one in Switzerland, two in Holland and six in England.
Braysher said: “Michael’s playing combines brilliant linear improvising with inventive on-the-spot arranging, and he’s someone I really look up to as a musician. He’s also one of the nicest people you could meet. I hope the music on our closing gigs will be intimate, conversational and swinging. We’ll be looking at some tunes – mostly from the American Songbook – that audiences will hopefully recognise, as well as some that might be less familiar”.
20th January (lunch time) – Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho, London (quartet, featuring Dario Di Lecce and Steve Brown on double bass and drums respectively)
20th January (evening) – The Verdict, Brighton