Tuomo and Markus, The Borderline, London, 12th November 2018

When offered the opportunity to hear Finnish musicians Tuomo & Markus and their band in the intimate surroundings of Soho’s Borderline club it seems plain stupid not to turn up, if only out of curiosity – the phenomenon this legendary basement has long traded upon. The fact that Tuomo Prättälä and longtime collaborator Markus Nordenstreng (of Finnish band The Latebirds) are joined by Nordic jazz trumpet superstar Verneri Pohjola means it doesn’t take long before the surreality of finding yourself in this subterranean netherworld on a Monday evening begins to seem perfectly normal. And why wouldn’t it when the finely honed ‘Over the Rooftops’ immediately takes you elsewhere – a uniquely Nordic vision of Americana. Insistently repetitive guitars emulate migratory flight, a voyage across the wide-open spaces of the American continent and the forests and ice of Finland. A trajectory determined by the song writing sensibilities of Markus combined with the gentle artistry of Tuomo. Continue reading “Tuomo and Markus, The Borderline, London, 12th November 2018”

Lilly Hiatt, Nell’s Jazz and Blues, West Kensington London, 25th April 2018

It would be an understatement to describe Lilly Hiatt’s introduction to London as understated. But when you are courageous enough to hang yourself out to dry, literally and metaphorically, in full view of the audience, you don’t need bells and whistles, or even a full band. Instead Hiatt sings ‘Championship Fighter,’ from her 2012 debut ‘Let Down,’ as a cowboy lament, accompanied only by her own guitar. “If it weren’t for the music, I probably wouldn’t be here now” Hiatt has said, and her songs, infused though they are, with existential musings on life, death and authenticity, are very much for the living. None more so than ‘All Kinds of People,’ a rocking opening to outstanding new album ‘Trinity Road,’ for which she is joined onstage by guitarist John Condit and Robert Hudson on bass and electric mandolin. Continue reading “Lilly Hiatt, Nell’s Jazz and Blues, West Kensington London, 25th April 2018”