Line up: NAT STEELE vibes, GABRIEL LATCHIN piano, DARIO DI LECCE bass
CD / ALBUM LAUNCH - RONNIE SCOTT’S JAZZ CLUB - SEPTEMBER 10th 2017
“OK, I am now officially a fan!” - Joe Locke (on Nat Steele)
“Nat Steele… a remarkable young vibraphonist in the Milt Jackson tradition.” - Dave Gelly (Observer)
‘Portrait Of The MJQ’ is the debut album of vibraphonist Nat Steele, to be released at a CD launch at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club on Sunday September 10, with a swinging take on the music of the MJQ.
Nat will be performing the music of one of the most successful and influential jazz groups of the 20th century, the ‘Modern Jazz Quartet’, as it was otherwise known. Joining him are the young pianist Gabriel Latchin (Christian McBride, Renée Fleming), Italian bassist Dario Di Lecce (George Garzone, Renato D'Aiello) and Steve Brown (Benny Golson, Scott Hamilton) on drums. The gig will feature tunes from the album, among them such stellar favourites such as ‘Django’, ‘Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise’, ‘Bags Groove’, and a complete performance of ‘La Ronde Suite’.
The MJQ gained attention for bringing jazz out of the club and into the concert hall in the 1950s, and for being an early pioneer of the “third stream” fusion, combining classical compositional techniques with jazz improvisation. It featured the contrasting talents of its musical director and pianist, John Lewis, who played with an understated control, with the fiery, boppish stylings of vibes pioneer Milt Jackson.
Since his arrival on the scene, Nat Steele has quickly gained a reputation as a talented musician to watch out for, described by Clark Tracey as "one of the best vibes players this country has ever produced." Following in the style of Milt Jackson and Cal Tjader, Nat takes a two mallet approach to improvisation, focusing on melodic interpretation and a great swing feel.
Pianist Gabriel Latchin is constantly in demand as a side man. Most recently he’s gained attention for his role in performing with Christian McBride and Renee Fleming at Wigmore Hall. He has worked with Ronnie Cuber, former Jazz Messenger Jean Toussaint, Alex Garnett, The London Jazz Orchestra and The Royal Scottish National Orchestra. He has performed at concert halls, clubs and festivals around the UK and Europe, including The Barbican, The Queen's Hall, The London Jazz Festival, The Jazz Bar and in Holland and Monaco.
Double bassist Dario di Lecce was raised in Bari, Italy, where he began studying double bass with Maestro Giorgio Vendola. He’s studied with Lee Konitz, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Kenny Barron, Dado Moroni, Eddie Gomez, Buster Williams. He has performed in Italy, UK, Netherlands, France, Slovenia and the United States, and in 2012 he moved to London where he is currently working with some of the most important musicians the British jazz scene.
Multi award-winning drummer Steve Brown moved from his home town of Manchester to London in 1996 and immediately became first call sideman with many of the capital's finest musicians, including engagements with Harry 'Sweets' Edison and Conte Candoli. He’s a member of Scott Hamilton’s quartet and appears on Concorde and other major labels. Between engagements with Scott Hamilton, Steve performs and records with a wide variety of artists including Benny Golson, Benny Green, Carl Fontana, Barry Harris, Junior Mance, Charles McPherson, John Bunch and Hod O'Brien.