Rob Luft & Elina Duni Duo

With special guest Kit Downes

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Last Show: Sunday 29 th July 2018

PizzaExpress Jazz Club (Soho)

Elina Duni is a Swiss-Albanian singer. Having been signed to ECM Records since 2012, her hallmark combination of traditional Albanian folk songs and jazz has lead to worldwide critical acclaim. For this new project, she is joined by guitarist Rob Luft, acclaimed as one of the rising stars of London's flourishing contemporary jazz scene. Luft's playing incorporates echoes of West African high-life, English folk and indie rock, and his joyously original sound finds an ideal counterpart in Elina Duni's vocals. Together, they steer us on a journey through timeless folk songs which still resonate so truly today. The duo will be joined for a few songs by the incredible British pianist, Kit Downes.

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“With Riser, Luft has produced a debut album of remarkable originality, strong compositions and he’s assisted by a formidable quartet of musicians whose natural sensibilities and talents only serve to enhance the project.”

All About Jazz (USA)

Elina Duni

Born into an artistic family in Tirana, Albania, in 1981, Elina Duni made her first steps on the stage as a singer aged five, singing for National Radio and Television.
In 1992, after the fall of the communist regime, she settled in Geneva, Switzerland, with her mother, where she started studying classical piano and thereafter discovered jazz.
She went on to study on the jazz programme at the Hochschule der Künste in Bern. During this time, she formed the Elina Duni Quartet with Colin Vallon on piano, Patrice Moret on double bass and Norbert Pfammatter on drums. This represented a return to her musical roots, a combination of Balkan folk songs and jazz.
After two albums, “Baresha” (2008) and “Lume Lume” (2010), both on Meta Records, the quartet went on to release its debut album for ECM in 2012, “Matanë Malit” (Beyond the Mountain): a musical homage to Albania.
In 2014, Elina Duni released her first album as a singer-songwriter in Kosovo and Albania, entitled “Muza e Zezë” (The Black Muse).
The quartet released its second album for ECM in 2015, “Dallëndyshe” (Swallow), which was praised by the wider European media for its lightness as well as its subtle manner of exploring Albanian folklore.

Rob Luft

Rob Luft is an award-winning 24-year-old guitarist from London whose virtuosity has been compared to that of six-string legends John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola & Paco De Lucia.  Praised by The Times for performances with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, who said he was destined ‘to achieve great things in the future’, Rob was subsequently the recipient of the 2016 Kenny Wheeler Prize from The Royal Academy of Music, and he also received the 2nd Prize in The 2016 Montreux Jazz Guitar Competition at the Montreux Jazz Festival. His debut album, “Riser”, was released on Edition Records in 2017 to widespread critical acclaim from the European jazz media. John Fordham wrote in The Guardian that it’s a “very sophisticated debut, but given Luft’s old-soul achievements since his early teens, we should have heard it coming”.

Concert highlights for Rob include performances with artists including Django Bates’ Saluting Sgt Pepper, Loose Tubes, Laura Jurd’s “Dinosaur” and Tommy Smith’s Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (SNJO). As well as leading his own project, Rob is a regular member of a multitude of some of London’s finest modern jazz groups, such as Byron Wallen’s “Four Corners”, Eddie Parker’s “Airborn”, The Alice Zawadzki Group and Iain Ballamy’s “Molecatcher”. Additionally, he appears on Liane Carroll’s last album on Linn Records (‘Seaside’), the debut album from Italian drum virtuoso Enzo Zirilli on Milanese label UR Records (‘Zirobop’) and the last release from Misha Mullov-Abbado on Edition Records (‘Cross-Platform Interchange’). Finally, he was the recipient of the 2015 Peter Whittingham Award as part of two collective ensembles: Patchwork Jazz Orchestra and jazz-rock quartet Big Bad Wolf.