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Babelfish  -  Thu Sep 20, 2018  |  08:00 pm
Admission £ 10.00 ( £ 8.00 concessions)
Vocalist Brigitte Beraha appeared at the Jazz Café three years ago as part of the sextet Riff Raff, and as a member of Issie Barratt’s wonderful Interchange Dectet at this year’s Gateshead International Jazz Festival. On both occasions she left us wanting to hear more, so it’s a real pleasure to welcome Babelfish, the band that she has been co-leading with the endlessly inventive pianist Barry Green since 2012.

Described by critic John Fordham as “a definition of a contemporary class jazz act”, the quartet is completed by the A-list pairing of bassist Chris Laurence (whose recording history reads like a Who’s Who of the greatest UK jazz artists) and drummer Paul Clarvis. Collectively they have evolved a unique musical language, Laurence and Clarvis providing an unobtrusive but nonetheless rock solid foundation, liberating Beraha and Green to unleash a string of surprises, yet always maintaining a close knit group identity (the lightning fast reactions of each member keeping the threads together no matter how diverse the direction of travel).

The band’s repertoire is built around lyrics, which are as likely to come from modern poetry as from the standards songbook, and are impeccably delivered by Beraha in a manner which simultaneously pushes to the limits of vocal agility while investing the words with deeply felt meaning. But this is far more than a vocalist plus rhythm section situation; it’s an equal partnership, with the whole being the sum of very special parts indeed. Fascinating, captivating, and not to be missed.

Tickets are available from the Jazz Café (0191 222 9882), Reflex CD (0191 260 3246) or online from