Keith Tippett at the London Jazz Festival is reviewed.
November 14, 2008
Navigating a multi-venued festival with concurrent concerts can make for some difficult choices: Keith Tippett and Stan Tracey? Or Ken Vandermark and Barry Guy? This was just one of the conundrums posed by the ten day, 237-event London Jazz Festival. Perversely living in the UK, more chances to catch American reedman Vandermark had presented themselves than for the esteemed pianist Tippett, so the choice for this listener was not too difficult, and the Festival’s opening night found me beside the Thames in the front row of the Purcell Room within the monolithic Queen Elizabeth Hall.
This evening’s performance was almost a retrospective, spotlighting Tippett in multiple small group guises, as composer and pianist with the Elysian String Quartet, and in two improvised duets, with veteran British pianist Stan Tracey and with his wife vocalist Julie Tippetts.