Craig Handy Quartet

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Last Show: Wednesday 4 th October 2017

PizzaExpress Jazz Club (Soho)

From the time he arrived in New York in 1986, as part of the groundbreaking Marsalis generation, saxophonist Craig Handy was acknowledged as a musician with big, burly tenor sound, sharp wit, and above all, individuality. He played with everybody, notably Art Blakey, Herbie Hancock and Dee Dee Bridgewater, and became an acclaimed band leader most recently with his album ‘CH and 2nd Line Smith'. Pianist , Jonathan Gee, is known for his scintillating trio compositions, and as an accompanist to Pharoah Sanders and Joe Lovano. Nicola Sabato is the swingiest bassist in Paris and a longterm associate of Handy and Gee. Washingtonian Drummer Rod Youngs’ extensive history includes Gil Scott Heron, Lee Konitz and symphony orchestras.

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“All grace and liquid ease“

New York Times

The Craig Handy Quartet features Nicola Sabato bass, Jonathan Gee piano and Rod Youngs drums. This is a fresh line up for Craig. He plays regularly with Nicola in Europe who recommended he work with Jonathan, who then suggested Rod as the perfect fourth band member. They will play music from Craig’s recent 2nd Line Smith project, Jonathan’s acclaimed originals, and from the canon of the great Cedar Walton.

Craig is one of the giants of the Marsalis generation who reinvigorated acoustic jazz in the 80’s and 90’s. His distinctive sound and authentic instrumental prowess were redoubtable traits immediately noticed by artists of stature, especially those committed to nurturing new talent on the bandstand and road. Handy moved to New York in 1986 and began several associations with formidable artists including master drummers Art Blakey. Eleven Jones and Roy Haynes, South African melodist Abdullah Ibrahim, and the Mingus Dynasty Band.

He went on to work with Betty Carter, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Cedar Walton, and Freddie Hubbard. As a band leader he has released some highly acclaimed albums, most recently 2nd Line Smith, a reimagining of the work of uber-organist Jimmy Smith on the legendary Okeh Label. Since being named ‘ Most Promising Newcomer in the 1991 British Jazz Awards ‘pianist,singer,keyboardist, composer Jonathan Gee has become according to Visions of Britain “ One of European Jazz’s most celebrated musicians, His music is precise, lucid and original, and at times breathtakingly lyrical “As a specialist trio pianist he was for many years featured at Ronnie Scotts as the trio or as rhythm section for luminaries such as Joe Lovano, Pharoah Sanders or Benny Golson. He has released eight of his own albums , including by his Italian trio GeeGallo Minetto, and his New York trio with Joseph Lepore and Nasheet Waits. He recently sold out Dizzy’s at Lincoln Centre in New York. He currently works regularly with Tony Kofi, Cleveland Watkiss and Tim Whitehead.

Parisian bassist Nicola Sabato, one of the swingingest in Europe, is one of the ‘to go to’ bassists in France. Apart from leading his own band and having released a number of his own albums he works regularly with Craig Handy of course, with other New York legends Kirk Lightsey, Harry Allen and Jeff Hamilton, and a who's who of French stars such as Alain Jean-Marie and Anne Ducros. Washingtonian Rod Youngs, after graduating in music from the prestigious Howard University has played with for instance Gil Scott-Heron, Natalie Cole, Lee Konitz, Mica Paris, David Murray and the BBC Concert Orchestra. Music OMH magazine describes the London based drummer and composer as “supremely subtle and melodic...dynamic and powerful”.

Band Lineup

Craig Handy (sax and flute)

Jonathan Gee (piano)

Nicola Sabato (double bass)

Rod Youngs (drums)