Lenore Raphael, Wayne Wilkinson And Chris Hodgkins At PizzaExpress Live, Dean Street, London

The album was released on the 11th November 2017 and launch at 1pm Pizza Dean Street, London on 11th November 2017.  Albums can be purchased direct from Chris at chris.hodgkins3@googlemail.com. The cost is £11 including postage and packing.Or direct via PayPal at http://www.chrishodgkins.co.uk/recordingsreviews/  The album is also available on digital services, please see online sales links above at http://www.chrishodgkins.co.uk/recordingsreviews/

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Lenore Raphael, Wayne Wilkinson & Chris Hodgins at PizzaExpress Live Dean Street, London
Lenore Raphael
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You can hear tracks from the album below:

September In The Rain

Talk Of The Town

Georgia On My Mind (Lenore feature)

Alone Together (Lenore and Wayne feature)

When It’s Sleepy Time Down South (Wayne feature)

Bell CDs 517

Lenore Raphael, Wayne Wilkinson & Chris Hodgins at PizzaExpress Live Dean Street, London

1 September In The Rain 4:21
2 Talk Of The Town 7:10
3 Taking A Chance On Love 4:10
4 Alone Together 6:16
5 Every Thing Happens To Me 4:28
6 I Only Have Eyes For You 4:11
7 When It’s Sleepy Time Down South 2:45
8 Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams 3:40
9 But Not For Me 3:58
10 Georgia On My Mind 4:26
11 PE Blues 3:36
12 Careless Love 3:17
13 Bernie’s Tune 3:35

Total time: 55:53


“Jazz critics have compared her to Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans and even Thelonious Monk, but with all these influences, Lenore Raphael is just ONE thing … a great pianist!”

Ricky Miller, JazzUSA

“Lenora Raphael, Wayne Wilkinson Chris Hodgkins at the PizzaExpress” is a good natured album with a classy song selection. Chris always keeps the music simple and direct, and it swings!

Joe Paice, Programming Manager, PizzaExpress Live

“The current live album …… is recommended listening. Ian Mann,  The Jazzmann 8th November 2017.

Trumpeter Hodgkins …… working with the Americans Lenore and Wilkinson. Falling into the chamber jazz category and perpetuating the trumpeter’s preference for intimate groupings…….. with Hodgkins punching home the melodies in his Eldridge-to-Shavers mainstream style as Lenore and Wilkinson accompany and then take their turns to solo. While Hodgkins has both commendable facility and a vivid imagination, there’s a relative harshness to his tone that may grate for some, but no such caveats apply to the guitarist, an impressive artist with some significant credits to his name, who’s good for rhythm and a delight in solo. So, nice three- way interaction along the way, with Lenore sometimes recalling Ellis Larkins in her accompaniments before she moves into a pleasing amalgam of swing and bop when she solos”. Peter Vacher, Jazzwise December/January 2018.

This live chamber jazz album exhibits a wonderful chemistry between the trio of trumpeter Chris Hodgkins, pianist Lenore Raphael and guitarist Wayne Wilkinson. Captivating.” The Musician Winter 2017.

It was a great pleasure to receive this CD for review. Chris Hodgkins has for many years been a stalwart of the British jazz scene. I first played with him some 40 years ago and I was subsequently involved in touring for Jazz Services, an institution that benefitted greatly from his tireless work and enthusiasm. For this offering he is joined by two American musicians hitherto
unknown to me; Lenore Raphael on piano and Wayne Wilkinson  on guitar. They both come with impressive credentials to which they live up to admirably. Lenore is a Steinway Concert Artist and Wayne is a Benedetto Guitar Artist and GHS Strings Artist. They have previously performed regularly as a duo.

Chris constantly delivers with his individualistic, powerful, occasionally gravelly style which is instantly recognizable both open and muted. Lenore plays with a fluid style, always solid chordally and melodic whilst soloing. Wayne gives a dexterous and beautifully clean delivery during solos, and reliable, sometimes percussive accompaniment.

From the first note this album definitely swings with a pleasing combination of jazz genres from several decades. All three musicians get an opportunity to feature in solo and duo modes on tunes from some of the great song writers of the 20th century; Harry Warren, George Gershwin, W.C.Handy et al.

Alone Together gives Lenore and Wayne each a chance to duet lyrically and elegantly. When one sees Sleepy Time Down South one could be forgiven for expecting a trumpet feature, but in this case Wayne presents us with a thoughtful guitar solo. Piano solo credit goes to Lenore for Hoagy Carmichael’s Georgia On My Mind, a virtuosic and sensitive rendition.

There is an own composition blues track-the intriguingly named PE Blues. Physical Education? Surely not….

Careless Love gives Lenore a rest for a trumpet and guitar collaboration, and we finish right up to date with the Gerry Mulligan favorite Bernie’s Tune.

Altogether a most enjoyable CD that can be played quietly whilst the world goes by as well as standing up to a concentrated listening.

Graham Read, Allegedly Hot News International, Autumn 2018

Recorded at a live session at the Pizza Express Jazz Club, Dean Street, in 2016, this album was released last November. The event had originally been planned as a duo performance by American pianist Lenore Raphael and UK trumpeter, Chris Hodgkins, but Lenore’s regular guitarist, Wayne Wilkinson joined them to make the Trio. With interpretations of 12 Standards and one original track by the three musicians, the album features enjoyable solo tracks, duets and ensemble performances. Ian Maund Sandy Brown Jazz Whats New March 2018

 Listen to pianist Lenore Raphael and guitarist Wayne Wilkinson ‘Alone Together’ from their recent album at Pizza Express Jazz Club with trumpeter Chris Hodgkins: http://www.sandybrownjazz.co.uk/Features/JazzAsArt/RaphaelWilkinsonHodgkinsAloneTogether.html   and see what you think of the art work chosen to go with the music

Liner notes

Maintaining the ‘chops’ to work effectively as a recording and performing musician, requires a rare discipline. Even when Chris Hodgkins operated as the director of Jazz Services until 2014, he could be heard every evening running scales in his office on Southwark Street, where he kept a pocket trumpet specifically for the purpose. Soon after retiring Chris released ‘Back In Your Own Backyard’a CD with fellow Welshman pianist Dave Price, bass players Erika Lyons and Ashley John Long that revisited his roots in the jazz scene of South Wales. Two years later he has returned with another fine album.

This CD began life as a plan for a duo recording with the much admired American pianist,Lenore Raphael. Raphael, a leading exponent of that wonderful blending of swing, bebop and the more advanced harmonic language of Bill Evans, which was the hallmark of pianists like Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan and Ellis Larkins. The elegance of those players too is a cornerstone ofRaphael’s approach. Lenore is also a Steinway Concert Artist.

The addition of Raphael’s regular guitarist Wayne Wilkinson brings an extra percussive edge to the ensemble swing with some Freddy Green-style chording, as well as some impressive soloing – audible from the start on the high energy rendering of Harry Warren’s ‘September in the Rain’,which kicks off the album. Raphael’s ‘Shearingesque’ block chords are another highlight.Chris makes great use of the appealing gravel in his tone in his reading of the nostalgic ‘It’s The Talk Of The Town’. Both he and Wilkinson take well placed detours into double time, which keep the interest going in what is the album’s longest track at just over 7 minutes.

Raphael’s creative introductions are a delight throughout and on ‘Taking A Chance On Love’ she momentarily teases us with suggestions of ‘Surrey With The Fringe On Top’. Her admiration for Oscar Peterson shows itself in both her soloing and her gifts as a sensitive accompanist.Chris switches to the cup mute on Matt Dennis’ lovely ‘Everything Happens To Me’ and another great Warren tune ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’. His bluesy rendition of the melodies on both tracks isfollowed by solos from Raphael and Wilkinson. The guitarist then reprises ‘When It’s Sleepy TimeDown South’ from his own 2014 album ‘It’s A Lark’ in a virtuosic solo performance ‘Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams’ by the singer Harry Barris features some bright playing by Raphael, a one time student of similarly named bebop pianist, Barry Harris, still a regular performer in the Dean Street basement into his late 80s.

Gershwin’s ‘But Not For Me’ is another standout track with persuasive performances from the whole trio in another swinging interpretation of a song that started life as a ballad. Lenore Raphaelgets the chance to stretch out in her solo interpretation of ‘Georgia On My Mind’ – a rootsy, gospel affair that continues the ‘late night blues’ feel. Another beautiful introduction on piano leads into a surprisingly brisk version of ‘Alone Together’,on which Chris sits out. Fine solos by both Raphael and Wilkinson are followed by choruses where they move entertainingly from exchanging eight bar sequences to trading fours.

The earthy vocalising in Chris’ succinct trumpet choruses on the original ‘PE Blues’ shows off just what a good blues player he is, and the trumpet/guitar duet on WC Handy’s ‘Careless Love’reminds us of his early influences. The track is yet another reminder of just how good Wilkinson is too – not surprising I suppose for a guitarist who has performed with everyone from Tony Bennett and Henry Mancini to Michael Brecker and, ahem, Bill Clinton.The album ends with something of a ‘post-bop’ outing for the trio. ‘Bernie’s Tune’ was made famous by the Gerry Mulligan Quartet, and Chris, Lenore and Wayne all have fun playing off the catchy minor theme.

Recorded at the PizzaExpress Jazz Club in November 2016 (and produced by the club’sesteemed sound engineer, Luc Saint-Martin), seems a particularly happy marriage of music and location. The club first made its name in the 1970s and 80s with appearances by countless US mainstream jazz greats. Among the frequent visitors were trumpeters Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison, Joe Newman, Wild Bill Davison and Ruby Braff, and echoes of each of these can be heard in Chris’ accomplished playing on this easy going set of standards.

The mood of the album reflects the chamber jazz approach that Chris is so fond of. It calls t omind at various times (even with the addition of guitar), the trumpet/piano duets of Oscar Peterson with Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison and Clark Terry, those of Ruby Braff and Ellis Larkins, all the way back to that famously early recorded jazz duet ‘Weather Bird’ by Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines. This is a good natured album with a classy song selection. Chris always keeps the music simple and direct, and it swings!

Joseph Paice – Programming Manager – PizzaExpress Live