EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

Shez Raja ft Dennis Rollins

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Last Show: Friday 23 rd November 2018

PizzaExpress Jazz Club (Soho)

British-Asian electric bass player Shez Raja and his world-class band will be performing their unique brand of Indo-jazz funk. This evening’s concert includes the world's first preview of the forthcoming album 'Journey to Shambhala', which tells the tale of a young man who embarks on an adventure to discover the mystical city of Shambhala. He has a wild experience of excitement, danger, friendships, love and deceit but ultimately this tale about the pursuit of happiness holds the message that, as in life, the journey often holds more wonder than the destination.

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"Shez Raja personifies the modernisation of jazz. He is fearless as a musician" - All About Jazz ★★★★+

"A tailor-made festival band with a unique identity" - The Guardian ★★★★

The group will also be performing music from their latest highly acclaimed album ‘Gurutopia’, recorded with global jazz legends Randy Brecker and Mike Stern. Shez leads a stunning line-up tonight that features trombone star Dennis Rollins (Jamiroquai, Brand New Heavies, Maceo Parker) and enchanting Polish folk-jazz singer Monika Lidke.

The band's live show is an eclectic headcharge of raw energy and always leaves audiences uplifted, inspired and asking for more. Expect exciting music that’s full of surprises – a sonic kaleidoscope of euphoric jazz, thundering funk, tuneful ragas and intoxicating grooves!

Shez Raja

Shez Raja was born to an Asian father and English mother in the North-West of England. Classically trained on the violin from the age of 9, a few years later he traded the instrument for electric bass and hasn’t looked back since.

Educated at Leeds College of Music, Raja toured the UK with groups such as Elephant Talk and Loka (signed to renowned label Ninja Tune) before becoming a highly sought-after session musician.

He then went on to perform at Glastonbury Festival, the prestigious Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Shepherd's Bush Empire and the London Forum, as well as touring Europe with platinum-selling hip-hop artist MC Lyte.

Inspired by travels with his father to the Punjab region of the Indian sub-continent as a young boy, Shez immersed himself in the musical culture of his South Asian roots. He now merges his rich musical heritage with a hugely diverse playing experience to create dynamic and passionate music that blends East with West.

Dennis Rollins

A passionate performer and educator, British trombone player Dennis Rollins MBE has established a reputation as an artist of excellence, and has lent his unique and stylish talents to some of this country's, and indeed the world's, top jazz and pop personalities such as Courtney Pine, Maceo Parker, Jamiroquai, US3, The Brand New Heavies, Blur and Pee Wee Ellis.

Monika Lidke

Polish-born singer Monika Lidke’s artistry cuts through worldly clamour with lucid freshness, entwining contemporary jazz, European folk, pop and Latin – a vocal warmth drawing comparison with Stacey Kent and Norah Jones. Lidke’s jazz/funk agility is part of the vibrant Shez Raja band and her exuberance floods the sound with colour. London-based, and performing at clubs/festivals including Ronnie Scott’s and London Jazz Festival, Lidke’s golden voice continues to delight: “sometimes ethereal… full of heat and passion… took me to a different dimension.”


Band Lineup

Shez Raja (electric bass guitar)
Dennis Rollins (trombone)
Vasilis Xenopoulos (saxophone)
Pascal Roggen (violin)
Monika Lidke (vocals)
Alex Stanford (keyboards)
Chris Nickolls (drums)