Julian Siegel takes a second look at Vista

    Julian Siegel. Photo © Brian Payne

    A year after its release, saxophonist Julian Siegel takes his album Vista on the road again in early 2019 in the company of his quartet completed by Liam Noble (p), Oli Hayhurst (b) and Gene Calderazzo (d).

    Vista was released on Whirlwind and first toured in March 2018. Recorded at Livingston Studios, London it showcases 10 of Siegel’s tunes plus an arrangement of Bud Powell’s “Un Poco Loco”. Siegel describes it as music that “moves freely through varied sound worlds and colours, from undercurrents of bop to searching ballads and joyful melodies”. Following demand from fans, Vista is to be re-released by Whirlwind as a 180-gram double LP in handsomely decorated gatefold sleeve, its official launch coinciding with the group’s 25 March date at Pizza Express. It is available to order online now and the band will have the LP on sale at the Pizza and the two subsequent March gigs.

    Siegel has been a prominent player on the London scene since the 1990s. He formed the band Partisans with guitarist Phil Robson in 1996, touring extensively around Europe, the USA and Canada. As a sideman he has worked with such luminaries as Bill Frisell, Andrew Hill, Steve Swallow, Adam Nussbaum, Hermeto Pascoal, Michael Gibbs, Django Bates, John Taylor, Kenny Wheeler and the NDR Big band.

    In 2017 a commission from Derby Jazz for his new jazz orchestra shed light on Siegel’s background often absent from the standard biographies. The commission required he write music with an East Midlands theme. Siegel considered – and dismissed – Robin Hood before settling on the Nottingham lace trade. Thus we learned that Nottingham was Siegel’s home town and that his family had been involved in the lace trade there for 50 years. His father came from Poland in 1946 and apprenticed as a lace maker before starting his own business, B. Siegel Nottingham Ltd. The Jacquard Card used to carry lace patterns became a numerical inspiration for Julian’s suite Tales from the Jacquard played on the Julian Siegel Jazz Orchestra’s 2017 tour.

    Other of Siegel’s February dates indicate another major involvement: mid-month he takes time out from the quartet to honour a longstanding commitment to the Diane Schuur Quartet, playing with the singer at Sochi Winter International Arts Festival (17th) and Moscow (18th). In a stylistic contrast to his own work and showing his versatility, he has played with the singer for some years, performing major European tours with her in 2013, 2017 and 2017. He has also accompanied singers as diverse as Cleo Laine, Beverley Knight and Amy Winehouse.

    The quartet plays:

    Wakefield Jazz Club 25 January
    St Ives Jazz Club 19 February
    Broomhill Art Hotel 20 February
    Soundcellar, Poole 21 February
    Bristol Jazz And Blues Festival 23 March
    Ashburton Jazz, Devon 24 March
    Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho, London 25 March
    Birmingham Jazz 1000 Trades 24 May