In his 80th year Pee Wee is back to celebrate with a host of special guests.
Pee Wee Ellis was born to play music. From his first piano lessons - “Miss Sharp hit my hands with a ruler and I never went back” laughs Pee Wee - to discovering a saxophone in his grandmother’s bureau at age 9 - he showed exceptional aptitude. “I didn’t come from a musical family, it just came naturally”.
After a stint playing the carnival circuit with Great American Shows and as a sideman in the hotels of Miami (once with Dinah Washington), Pee Wee got the offer to join the late, great James Brown in 1965. Pee Wee began writing with Mr. Brown as soon as he was promoted to Musical Director/Bandleader/Arranger after only 6 months, following the departure of Nat Jones. Their first collaboration was ‘Let Yourself Go’ quickly followed by ‘Cold Sweat’ universally considered the world’s first pure Funk hit. The years Pee Wee spent with James Brown were those of the classic line-up: Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker, Jimmy Nolen, Clyde Stubblefield were all in the band that Pee Wee led but he yearned to grow beyond the confines of the James Brown machine. By 1970 he had left the James Brown Revue to work in New York City as an arranger and musical director for CTI-Kudu records, the most popular jazz label of the 70s.
In 1979 Pee Wee’s neighbour Van Morrison (encouraged by Mark Isham) asked Pee Wee to do arrangements for his Into The Music album, which led to Pee Wee becoming Van’s musical director. “I was off on another whirlwind” says Pee Wee. It was a whirlwind that lasted for six years and five albums, some of the best of Van’s career, repeated for another five years and five more albums in the mid 90’s. In between, there was a reunion of the great James Brown horn section, The JB Horns: Pee Wee, Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker, with several albums and extensive touring.
“Pee Wee makes funk sound jazzy and jazz sound funky. Somehow he synthesizes the two into one great music.” – Peter Madsen
Line-up: PEE WEE ELLIS - tenor sax; JOSH ARCOLEO - tenor sax; JAMES MORTON - alto sax; DENNIS ROLLINS - trombone; TONY REMY - guitar; GARETH WILLIAMS - piano; LAURENCE COTTLE - bass; MARK MONDESIR/GUIDO MAY - ldrums with special guests including FRED WESLEY trombone, IAN SHAW vocals, CLARE TEAL and more...
Returning to London’s West End after a SOLD-OUT Worldwide tour with standing ovations at every performance, The Simon & Garfunkel Story is back! Using huge projection photos and original film footage, the international hit show also features a full live band performing all the hits including 'Mrs Robinson', 'Cecilia', 'Bridge Over Troubled Water', 'Homeward Bound' and many more. Get your tickets fast as this is an evening not to be missed!
Celebrating twenty years, Ballet Black are delighted to present two new works. Say It Loud, is choreographed and directed by Ballet Black's Founder and Artistic Director, Cassa Pancho. It is a ballet created by Pancho and the BB Company artists charting the struggles and inspiration behind the formation of this exciting and pioneering company, from the uncomfortable reasons behind the Company’s existence to the frenetic, creative energy that has seen them create an enviable repertoire and build a reputation as a necessary part of the British ballet industry. The second ballet in this double bill, Black Sun by acclaimed South African choreographer Gregory Maqoma (Vuyani Dance Theatre) featuring an original score by Michael 'Mikey J' Asante (Boy Blue) is a work that draws energy from the sun and the moon giving rise to descendants of ancestors. These forces only meet to blacken, allowing us to draw from their powers as we prepare for life after life.
This September, the world’s leading ballet stars will join together to celebrate the legacy of the legendary dancer Rudolf Nureyev. Widely regarded as the greatest ballet dancer ever, he transcended borders and his performances popularized ballet with audiences throughout the world. Nureyev’s unique artistry continues to influence and inspire ballet today. Nureyev Legend and Legacy will feature a dazzling array of highlights from Nureyev’s transformative career performed by an international cast of dancers from the most illustrious ballet companies . The dancers taking part are William Bracewell, Yuhui Choe, Alina Cojocaru, Cesar Corrales, Guillaume Côté (12th September), Benjamin Ella, Francesco Gabriele Frola, Emma Hawes, Francesca Hayward, Oleg Ivenko, Daichi Ikarashi, Natascha Mair, Hugo Marchand (5th and 6th September), Maia Makhateli, Vadim Muntagirov, Yasmine Naghdi, Natalia Osipova, Xander Parish, Iana Salenko, Marcelino Sambé, Alexandr Trusch, and Marianna Tsembenhoi Each piece has been selected to represent different aspects of Nureyev’s incredible life and work and are accompanied by live music performed by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia conducted by renowned Music Director David Briskin. Set to be one of the ballet events of the decade, Nureyev Legend and Legacy gives audiences the chance to experience the magic and mastery of Nureyev through a new generation of dancers. Truly a night that audiences will never forget. This event is presented in association with the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation.
Treason is the explosive new musical about the gunpowder plot, set to completely blow you away, featuring stunning music by Ricky Allan and book & lyrics by Ricky Allan & Kieran Lynn. Described as “the British Hamilton” by All That Dazzles, Treason will be live in concert in front of an audience for the very first time at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane this summer. Carrie Hope Fletcher, Bradley Jaden and Simon-Anthony Rhoden are amongst the incredible cast starring in Treason’s hotly anticipated stage debut. With songs ‘Take Things Into Our Own Hands’; ‘The Cold Hard Ground’; and ‘The Day Elizabeth Died’ having already taken Spotify by storm, and the streamed lockdown concert described as “an exceptional musical in the making” by West End Best Friend, this is a premiere not to be missed. Join the plotters and book your tickets now!
With music by ABBA legends Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, and lyrics by the incomparable Sir Tim Rice, the iconic musical Chess returns to the West End for the first time since a limited run at the London Coliseum in 2018. At the height of the Cold War, two chess masters meet in Bangkok to battle for the world championship, but their greatest contest is for the love of one woman. Telling a story of love and political intrigue, and set against the background of the Cold War in the late 1970s/early 1980s, Chess features an incredible score including classics such as “I Know Him So Well” and “One Night in Bangkok”. Starring Samantha Barks (Frozen, Les Miserables) as Florence and Hadley Fraser (City of Angels, Phantom Of The Opera) as Anatoly, and with the 50-piece London Musical Theatre Orchestra accompanying, this concert at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane is not to be missed. Book now! Due to exceptional demand, we are pleased to announce an extra date for Chess has now been added! Book your tickets now for 2 August at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
Prepare for a night of electrifying choreography as Oti is joined by some of the world’s greatest dancers and the West End’s finest singers and musicians. Oti Mabuse – I Am Here is a whirlwind celebration of the influences and inspirations that took her on a journey from growing up in South Africa to following her dream. From mesmerising Jives and pumping Sambas to South Africa’s exhilarating Kwaito, this is an explosive night of dance and music that will set your heart racing. Meet and Greet with Oti Become a VIP guest by also booking for the Meet and Greet event. Join Oti before the show for an exclusive photo and autograph opportunity. You’ll also receive a souvenir brochure and special gift. Select your tickets for I Am Here and when you reach the checkout, you’ll be offered the opportunity to also book for this exclusive event. Places are strictly limited.
In celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, we present a rarely performed gem from Benjamin Britten’s pool of works: Gloriana. First composed for the Coronation of our current monarch, Gloriana is presented as a concert performance, featuring the ENO Chorus and Orchestra under the baton of ENO Music Director Martyn Brabbins, and featuring a bevy of ENO favourites, such as Charles Rice, Sophie Bevan, Alexandra Oomens and Alex Otterburn. Set in the later years of Queen Elizabeth I’s (Christine Rice) reign, Gloriana focuses on the relationship between the monarch and the Earl of Essex, Robert Devereux (Robert Murray). At first friends and confidantes, the Earl and Queen later become at odds with a series of unfortunate circumstances, including an attempted coup. Depicting a Queen at her strongest, yet perhaps at her most human, Gloriana serves a celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee.
Jazz FM broadcaster, Clare Teal returns to Crazy Coqs following her acclaimed and sold-out double header last year. This further opportunity to hear her evocative voice spanning a wide range of delightful songs, combined with her self deprecating northern wit, makes these concerts a must get to night out. Clare is equally at home on large stage venues, including the BBC Proms at The Albert Hall, The Cadogan Hall and the EFG London Jazz Festival with her Mini Big Band at St.John’s Smith Square, as well as in smaller, intimate, club environments such as The Other Palace Studio, The Pheasantry and Crazy Coqs. For these two concerts at Crazy Coqs, Clare is once again joined by her regular accompanist, the brilliant pianist Jason Rebello, winner of the British Jazz Awards 2017 Best Pianist, followed by his triumphant concert in the 2018 London Jazz Festival. His eagerly awaited performance in the 2019 Steinway two-piano Festival concert with Julian Joseph was such an outstanding success that they returned earlier in 2020 for two sold out concerts.
They’re back! The London Quartet return to Crazy Coqs with their trademark mix of comedy, charm and vocal virtuosity: from Pop to the Classics, Folk to Jazz, Musical to Movie. Great singing, Great songs, Great fun from a Great British vocal group. The Quartet will be accompanied at the piano by Chris Hatt, Associate Musical Director of Hamilton, in an evening which embraces the Sublime and the Ridiculous. There will be Songs of Cricket and Songs of Love and War, in a wide-ranging programme which includes music from some of the great vocal groups, amongst which the Hi-Lo’s and the Four Freshmen from 1950s America and the great inter-war German group, the Comedian Harmonists. All presented with The London Quartet’s signature blend of virtuoso singing and side-splitting humour.
After these guys had to postpone due to illness earlier in the year, we're absolutely thrilled to have them back! Forj is an exciting quartet led by drummer Jonathan Silk, featuring the critically acclaimed and long time friend and collaborator, Nick Jurd on double bass alongside the incredible musicianship of two of London’s finest improvisers, Joe Wright and Josh Arcoleo on tenor saxophones. This band promises high octane grooves and expansive improvisation across a whole series of original compositions. Forj attempt to bridge the gap between chaos and purpose. With original compositions as a framework, the band move to reshape what the music is at every outing. With improvisation at the heart of the ensemble, every performance is a new experience. Performing a rocky, but subtle, set of intricate grooves and diverse melodies, Forj blur the lines between composition and improvisation in a highly interactive manner in this exciting chordless ensemble. Debut release Skirfare was released in February 2021, only available through their dedicated album builder on the Forj website. Their latest album Our Space is to be released April 2022 and is available through the FORJ bandcamp.
Winner of the 2018 BBC Young Jazz Musician of the year, Xhosa Cole is an embodiment of the success of numerous community arts programmes in Birmingham including the Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra, Jazzlines Ensemble and Birmingham Music Service. Having grown up in Handsworth and first played the Tenor at Andy Hamilton's Ladywood Community Music School, he's now among a long legacy of Birmingham Saxophonists including Soweto Kinch and Shabaka Hutchings. Xhosa has performed twice at the BBC Proms, Composed music for the Ripieno Players, a Birmingham Based String Orchestra, recorded saxophone for Mahalia’s debut album ‘Love and Compromise’, completed a 22 date UK tour, all along side his studies as a scholar at Trinity Laban Conservatoire. Xhosa Also received the Parliamentary Jazz Award for ‘Best Newcomer’ in 2019 and Jazz FM 'Breakthrough act of the year'. Xhosa's earliest memories of the arts are with ACE Youth Dance group. However, since playing in Holyhead School's Jazz band with Ray Prince and Sid Peacock he decided to pursue music and joined the Jazzlines Ensemble, Birmingham Schools Symphony Orchestra, Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra among others. Xhosa attended courses with the National Youth Jazz Collective and National Youth Wind Orchestra. He is now finishing his degree in Trinity Laban Conservatoire in London alongside a wide spectrum of work writing and performing across the UK. in 2019 Xhosa received the Parliamentary Jazz award for 'Best Newcomer”.
Jazz fusion guitarist, Jules Hay, brings his second album, ‘Where Next?’ back from South America to London. Jules will also be playing tracks from his first album, ‘From London to Little London.’ Both albums were recorded in Brazil bringing together infectious Brazilian grooves with a modern jazz fusion sensibility. Where Next? also brings in influences from Afrobeat, Latin Jazz, Reggae and Jazz Funk. ‘…this harmonious thinking and rhythmical characteristics are addictive, relaxing and life giving.’, jazz.sk ‘beautiful guitars, convoluted technical passes, bouncing bass, skilful keyboards, jazz, and jazz to a bossa nova tune, rejoice!’, DJOLO. His debut album – From London to Little London (July 2020) – traced his journey from his home in the UKs capital to the Brazilian city of Londrina – aka ‘Little London.’ But what started out as a short-term recording project saw him locked down in South America for more than a year during the pandemic. The subsequent months spent hanging out, playing and recording with local musicians brings him full circle; Where Next? was recorded in Brazil and finished back in the UK, essentially documenting his journey home. Musically, the set of 9 original songs brings together infectious Brazilian rhythms and grooves with a modern jazz fusion sensibility. We’re thrilled to have Jules upstairs at Toulouse! Book your ticket now for this perfect Thursday night gig.