Thursday, April 23, 2015

Musical Postcards: Mitch Dalton and the Studio Kings

Pizza Express, Soho, London, W1. One of the best jazz venues in the UK (and, no, they are not paying me to write this!).
Recently, I bumped into old friend, Mitch Dalton, at the Pizza Express, Soho. His band, the Studio Kings, were on fine form. Indeed I haven't enjoyed a guitar-led jazz combo this much in ages.  Mitch describes his music as "smooth jazz". I don't think I agree as I usually equate the term with "muzak", "elevator music" or, Heaven forbid, Kenny G.  The Kings gave some highly original takes on several jazz standards including the Coltrane classic, Giant Steps as well as On Green Dolphin Street popularized by Miles Davis. The band's own Shuffle Kerfuffle was also a stand out piece. Nothing insipid here! Indeed the quality of musicianship was truly world class: over the course of the evening Mitch and the lads showed they could hop, skip and jump with the best of them. Most of the time they were melodic, nimble and quick but could segue into solid-as-fudge rock licks when required.  Great stuff! Do catch them if you get a chance.

Mitch Dalton and the Studio Kings (Mitch Dalton, guitar; David Arch, Keys; Steve Pearce, bass; Brett Morgan, drums) at the Pizza Express, Soho, London.

Mitch Dalton lays down some great grooves: he's a flawless player capable of playing many styles of music.
The incomparable David Arch on keys. Dave was moonlighting from his regular gig as musical director of Strictly Come Dancing.
Steve Pearce on bass was brilliant. He's played with just about everybody and can get some amazingly subtle sounds out of his Fender bass.

Mitch's style reminds me of Lee Ritenour playing with American jazz giants, Fourplay