Spring Is Such a Beautiful Thing
"Alison Bentley goes up through the gears and finds real energy...impeccable...choc-full of irrepressible hope and optimism" LONDONJAZZ "Music that skilfully blends jazz with soulful elements... Alison Bentley presents songs with feeling and understanding...impressive guitar & organ solos...This is a promising debut album and the group should go from strength to strength..." CRESCENDO MAGAZINE "...inspired by a love of 1960s soul and gospel music, high-lighting Alison Bentley's clear and attractive voice and interspersed with tasty trumpet and tenor solos..." JAZZ JOURNAL Kevin Armstrong - guitar Alison Bentley - vocals Paul Cavacuiti - drums Matt Holland - trumpet/flugelhorn Andor Jensen - tenor saxophone Raph Mizraki - double bass Pete Whittaker - Hammond organ/piano Members of the band have worked with leading UK musicians, such as Jonathan Gee, Jamie Cullum, and Jim Mullen as well as international artists such as Ray Charles, Van Morrison, Dionne Warwick, Maddy Prior and Burt Bacharach. They have performed at music venues and festivals around the world. Members of the band have worked with leading UK musicians, such as Jonathan Gee, Jamie Cullum, and Jim Mullen as well as international artists such as Van Morrison, Ray Charles, Dionne Warwick, Maddy Prior and Burt Bacharach. They have performed at music venues and festivals around the world. Jazzelation launched their debut CD in April at the Oxford Jazz Festival 2009. Azzelation: The Spin, Oxford (From The Oxford Times)Tuesday, 12 October 2010 By Paul Medley » Though missing trumpet and percussion, Jazzelation at the Spin last Thursday gave an exuberant taste of their debut CD. The music, all written and arranged by Oxford guitarist and band leader Kevin Armstrong, was performed with relaxed assurance. With a rich blend of 60s soul and gospel music Armstrong has created jazz with an emotional but positive feel that plays equally to the strengths of vocalist Alison Bentley and to the rest of the band. This is music that contrasts with the often highly complex compositions coming out of the jazz colleges today or the inevitably somewhat egocentric effect of a quest soloist with the house band, though both these have their attractions. Apart from the clear professionalism in the whole band, one of the great strengths of Jazzelation is the close and democratic interplay between the front line soloists. There is never the feeling that Alison Bentley is merely supported by the other soloists. This musical equilibrium, particularly between sax and vocals where the powerful depths and rhythmic stride of Bentley's voice is matched and paired by the eloquent and responsive playing of Andor Jensen on tenor, gives the band a cohesive sound that is not easy to attain. In the beautiful ballad, Spring is such a beautiful thing, the first solo was passed to the ever powerful bass playing of Raf Mizraki before being taken up by sax and back to vocals, a simple, but effective alteration to expectations. Armstrong, with the modesty of a true band leader, kept more in the background until in Kurt Weill's instrumental Speak Low he let rip with a guitar solo of sharp intensity. Meanwhile Pete Whittaker instrumental in pushing and driving on Hammond organ had his moment to pull out all the stops on the outright spiritual Shining Down while Paul Cavaciuti on drums was restrained and precise. Although Jazzelation make no pretensions to be breaking new ground they nevertheless injects soul, spirituals and blues with a new dimension of intelligence. While the songs are superbly coloured and projected by Alison Bentley's voice the band's success also depends on the strengths of the compositions and the panache of the players.