Root Down! with Mark Cherrie Quartet

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Friday 15th November 2019

7:00pm - 10:00pm

  • Seated dining from 7pm
  • Concert starts at 8pm
  • Kitchen Serves Mediterranean & Middle Eastern Meze Menu until 9:30pm
  • Followed by DJ Daddio & The Jazz Ambassadors - Free Entry from 10pm

"He's played steel pans for 40 years and if there is a better player - show me"

A jazz quartet like no other; this one is fronted by Mark Cherrie, a steel pan player who is one of the few players in the world playing this instrument in a jazz context. Formed in 2016, the quartet came together on a studio date. Comprising John Donaldson, Eric Ford and Mick Hutton, the band is not at all tropical but firmly in the jazz tradition. In this context, Mark proves himself to be a fluid improviser, frequently trading with the other musicians. Sometimes swinging but always beautifully empathetic playing, the band is completely unique.

A little history: "My earliest memories of the steel pan were watching my father playing with the Russ Henderson Trio." Russ and my father (Ralph Cherrie) had arrived in the UK from Trinidad in the mid 1950's and quickly found that they could make a good living playing the steel pan over here. They were both accomplished musicians; Russ was a well known piano player in Trinidad and my father not only played the piano too but also the double bass and the electric bass. Together with Sterling Betancourt on drums, they played many of the society engagements of the day, flitting between playing conventional instruments, as well as their steel pans. And of course, taking to the streets of Notting Hill in 1964, with pans around their necks, they effectively forged the beginning of the Notting Hill carnival. Flash forward to the present time and the steel pan is now a widely known instrument, both here and all over the world. But still, the perception of the instrument is still one of novelty. I still have to field questions like: “Does it play real musical notes?” and even “Do you just play by numbers?”.

The Band: The band itself comprises some of the UK’s most highly respected jazz musicians.

John Donaldson won the prize for best soloist at the San Sebastian International Jazz Competition in 1980, before moving to California in 1982, working with some of the finest musicians there, including Eddie Henderson. John Donaldson returned to London in 1993 has since been working with Iain Ballamy, Art Themen, Clark Tracy, Alan Barnes, Don Weller, John Etheridge, Dick Pearce and Norma Winstone. He has also accompanied visiting soloists, Art Farmer, Conte Condoli, Freddie Hubbard, Buddy de Franco/Terry Gibbs, Scott Hamilton, Ingrid Jensen and Jon Gordon.

Eric Ford is in demand internationally at drum clinics and festivals with stellar jazz group Partikel and many other international artists, such as Maciek Pysz, Matt Chandler and Mornington Lockett. His versatile and expressive playing has earned him a fast-growing reputation across a wide range of jazz styles.

Mick Hutton is a first-call bassist and has worked with so many jazz greats, including Harry Beckett, Julian Argüelles, Iain Ballamy, Django Bates and Ken Stubbs (First House), the Chris Biscoe Sextet and Bill Bruford's Band Earthworks. In addition, Hutton worked throughout his career with Alan Barnes, Peter Erskine, Tina May, Jim Mullen, John Scofield, Alan Skidmore, Tommy Smith, John Taylor, Stan Tracey, and Kenny Wheeler.

Read last year's Guardian article about Mark here

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