Some venues have it and some don't - Camden's Jazz Cafe has always had 'it'. Just check out the line-up for the autumn - a whole raft of jazz, roots, soul and reggae superstars and legends are due to take to the stage over the next few months and we've picked out the cream of the crop from each genre.
Veirs' name is synonymous with beautiful, plaintive Americana and roots melodies, coming to the fore in 2003 with the album "Troubled By The Fire", recorded with the legendary Bill Frisell. It was enough for eclectic major Nonesuch to sign her up and release the excellent 2005 set "Year Of Meteors". Now she has joined the phenomenal roster at Bella Union and released an acclaimed poetic collection of songs called "July Flame". Laura Veirs appears for two nights at the Jazz cafe on 16th and 17th August with tickets costing £15.
Cast your mind back to the 80s - yeah, it did have its bad moments didn't it? - and apart from all the rubbish pop-acts, there were dozens of artists who wore their hearts on their Latin-jazz sleeves with reasonable aplomb. Style Council, Working Week and, yes I'm serious, Matt Bianco. OK, they were the pop-end of the market, but they mixed it up OK with a bit of scat, jazz and bebop. Hits like "Whose Side Are You On" and "Half A Minute", cemented a short-lived but successful pop-career. The remaining members appear here on the 17th September, tickets cost £20.
London African Music Festival 2010
As part of this annual celebration of music and performance from the sunshine-continent, the Jazz Cafe will host two concerts, featuring the Malian musician Cheick Tidiane Seck on 22nd September and Afro-Cuban band-leader and pianist Omar Sosa on 23rd September. Seck has written and performed keyboards with Mory Kante, Youssou N'Dour and Salif Keita while Sosa has worked with members of Tower Of Power and Greg Landau. Both very accomplished musicians with tickets available at £17.50. If Afrobeat is your thing, you might want to check out the Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra on 15th October as well.
One of the most acclaimed jazz-guitarists in the world, certainly during the 70s and 80s, is Larry Carlton. He has played on many rock albums by Steely Dan, Billy Joel, Quincy Jones and Joni Mitchell, but it was his work with The Crusaders that pushed him into the spotlight for a while, before heading off to a world of solo recordings of a jazz-fusion nature towards the end of the 80s, particularly for GRP Records. He and Lee Ritenour seemed to operate in tandem before hooking up in 1997 with the album "Remembering JP" (a Joe Pass tribute), while last year he joined old-cohorts Steely Dan before releasing a 2010 album "Take Your Pick". This is a rare UK appearance - he plays the Jazz Cafe on 31st October, priced £22.50.
Joe Zawinul Syndicate
Finally, we have another legend from the world of jazz and fusion Joe Zawinul. The jazz-keyboardist sadly passed away in 2007 after several decades of session-work with Cannonball Adderley and Miles Davis, co-founding one of the most important ensembles in jazz-history, Weather Report, and recording with the Zawinul Syndicate in later years. His involvement on Davis' "Bitches Brew" has been well-documented already but his keyboard work with Weather Report is just as infamous. Under the guidance of his estate, the continuing Syndicate appear at the Jazz Cafe on 21st November, tickets cost £16.50.
Click on the links below for further details of these concerts and more.