Robert Mitchell Live at The Verdict Jazz Club

Saturday 14th October

Robert Mitchell is one of Britain’s finest and most versatile pianist-composer-improvisors.’ Stewart Smith – The Wire

 

‘There are two poems by Mr. Mitchell included in the liner notes, both of which show him to be a wonderfully thoughtful, articulate and probing poet of the highest order.’ Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG NYC

Robert Mitchell performs solo for the first time at the Verdict – and launches his second collection of poetry/audiobook – City Of Sanctuary (Common Tone Press, USA).

The sets will include a range of his solo piano/poetic interests – a combination of music from 13 previous albums, music by undersung Jazz and Classical figures, left hand only, inside piano and improv. The poetry narration will be accompanied/unaccompanied and copies will be available after the performance. Earlier in the evening there is a lecture/workshop on the left hand only repertoire that Robert has been researching/performing/composing/recording for over a decade.

Robert Mitchell is one of the most significant voices in British . Multi-faceted creator, pianist, keyboardist, composer, improviser, writer, poet and so much more. As Gilles Peterson put it “a very important, influential musician” and a relentless seeker and thinker, encompassing many art forms, musical genres and constantly pushing the envelope. Robert Mitchell and True Think performed at the Verdict earlier this year. He is proud to have been a Steinway artist since 2009 . He was MD on the successful BBC4 television programme ‘Jazz 625 Live: For One Night Only’ which won the British Broadcasting Award. He has played with Billy Harper, Greg Osby, Courtney Pine CBE, Alicia Olatuja, Orphy Robinson, Steve Coleman, Phil Ranelin, Omar Puente, Ernesto Simpson, Daymé Arocena, Jason Rebello, Shirley Smart, Basement Jaxx, Dub Colossus, Daniel Casimir, Joshua Redman, Jacqui Dankworth MBE, and many others. Robert Mitchell’s works have been performed by the Grammy-winning Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and the London Sinfonietta, amongst others. He is a sought-for composer and known as an innovator with a distinct, unique voice. He is a Professor of Jazz Piano at the Guildhall School Of Music, Principal Lecturer at Leeds Conservatoire and YMM. He is a member of the MusicHE Committee, Task Force Member at Black Lives In Music, and Ambassador for the Featured Artist Coalition.

‘For me though, the stand-out moment is “A Son Of Windrush Reflects”, another spoken-word piece in which Robert essentially recounts his mother’s history and the difficulties she encountered whilst working for the NHS over here. Her constant sense of positivity, along with elements of frustration and the feeling of love that Robert’s words exude, are just delightful.’ Mr Olivetti, FREQ

‘Mitchell’s political and poetic eloquence, his words delivered in impeccably enunciated English, is comparable to that of Linton Kwesi Johnson, even though the style of delivery, both musically and vocally, is very different. More than forty years after Johnson’s landmark album “Forces of Victory” and the track “Sonny’s Lettah” has that much really changed? Musically “A Son of Windrush Reflects” is another performance for voice and cello only, with Smart delivering another brilliantly empathic response, making effective use of both plucking and bowing techniques. Both “A Son of Windrush Reflects” and the earlier “The First Note” are featured in Mitchell’s forthcoming second poetry collection “City Of Sanctuary”.’ Ian Mann – The Jazzmann

‘The central set contained the most powerful moment of the evening, Robert Mitchell’s recitation A Son of Windrush Reflects, was very well judged and I’m still thinking about it. We want and we need artists to reflect on what goes on around us. As Proust wrote: “Whatever idea life has left in us, its material shape, a trace of of the impression it has left on us, is still the necessary guarantee of its truthfulness.” Mitchell brought home that truth irresistibly with a combination of pride in his Bajun heritage and in what his mother had achieved in the NHS, of her determination and her high principles, tempered by a reasoned, justifiable and well-expressed anger about the rising tide of racism and the normalizing of it in this “isle in denial,” and at the scandalous deportations of Windrush generation and their descendents.’ Sebastian Scotney (London Jazz News)

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