Tag Archive: louise latham


10_Spiers__BodenI don’t really like to name drop. I was saying as much to Fiona Bruce when we were over at Liam Neeson’s place only the other day waiting for Noam Chomsky to turn up. So without naming names, suffice it to say that through my musical travels and via the people I meet on the local arts and music show I’m involved in, I get to talk to a lot of the people who actually make things happen in this town, everything from music and art, dance and film, to debating societies and underground media. And the common themes that come up in conversation are how much creativity there is in this town at the moment and how your average resident probably doesn’t realise it. Swindon has long had a bad press from lazy comedians looking for a convenient cliché but also, ironically, from the people who live here, creating something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. But I tell you what, Swindon is starting to hit a real ground swell of creative energy, things seem to be falling into place, Swindon is becoming, dare I say it…cool. We just need to get behind our town and show the rest of the country what we have here.

Helping to pave that good reputation we have a week of great and varied music on offer. Tonight at The Victoria, after a couple of recent mellower shows, Songs of Praise is going all loud and shouty with 50 Shades of Punk, a band definitely keeping their genre alive with high octane music and a hyperactive live show. Support comes from another local favourite, 2 Sick Monkeys, a frantic punk drum and bass 2 piece known as much for their between song rants as their relentless musical style. Opening the show is Parva Hinton, a London based, future punk, synth sound clash.

If you prefer something less likely to upset the neighbours and spill your beer then maybe an evening of Chicago blues at The Beehive courtesy of Built For Comfort is more your thing.

Friday brings lots of opportunity for you to get behind your live music scene. At The Royal Oak, The AK-Poets mix great melodies with an uncompromising rock and roll delivery and a charismatic stage presents whilst at The Beehive The Blue Tree’s take rock and roll on a southern road trip.

A couple of acoustic options also pop up on the radar. Riffs Bar acoustic session features Leicester songster Paul McClure and Southern Folk who as their name suggests play a range of rootsy Americana flavours. The Regent plays host to Darren Hodge who you may have seen recently shortlisted in the Young Folk competition at the recent BBC Folk Awards. Also appearing is Ethemia, makers of lush dream-folk music who also featured recently on BBC radio as guests of Gaby Roslin.

Covers can be had either at The Rolleston with Humdinger playing contemporary rock standards or if you prefer a band with a sillier take on the idea, Kova Me Badd at The Victoria parody the pop classics.

Saturday continues largely in the same vein with tributes to Bon Jovi at The Victoria, Steely Dan at Riffs Bar and Rory Gallagher at The Rolleston plus party covers from Breeze at The Royal Oak. Classic rock is supplied by Rorke’s Drift at The Swiss Chalet. If however you are feeling stout of heart, reckless or just know no better then a trip to The Castle will find you in the dubious company of rhythm and booze legends, The Hamsters From Hell. Loud, in your face, no holds barred riotous pub rock flavoured with beards, beer, blasphemy and a bad attitude.  What could possibly go wrong?

If you need something less abrasive to wind the weekend down then The Beehive afternoon session features Kola Koca, a band renowned for a mix of eclectic styles, social commentary, politics and humour.

Jazz fans can catch The Wayne Elliot Trio at The Plough that evening and then on Tuesday at Baker Street The Graham Taylor Quartet. Meanwhile just along the road at The Arts Centre, Spiers and Boden (pictured) , better known as Eliza Carthy sidekicks and founders of folk super group Bellowhead, are playing what they have announced will be their last show in duo format for the foreseeable future. So, definitely one to catch.

Finally The Crown at Stratton on Wednesday features the delicate sounds and considerable song craft of Louise Latham.

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421623_337560366296411_100955706_nA bit blowy out isn’t it? Still, as long as the wind is coming from the right direction you can use it to propel yourself to one of the myriad of gigs that is taking place this week. Think of it as a climate related, musical, Russian roulette. Head out of the front door and see where the wind and the Gods of Fate carry you. Who knows, you might just discover your next favourite band.

 

A whole bunch of candidates for that title can be found at the latest Songs of Praise at The Victoria. Known for her enthralling songs built from, understated piano and emotive vocals, tonight Louise Latham is being joined by her sister Suzie on guitar, so this is a real treat for fans of her work. Support for this comes from the intimate and Buckley-esque style of Luke De-Sciscio and the shimmering, gossamer delicacies of Faye Rogers. A night of compelling and magical music and no mistake.

 

Similarly acoustic driven sounds can be found at The Beehive as Keith Thompson plays a sampler of the raw and honest songs that can be found on his Steel Strings and Bruised Reed album. In a night of acoustic offerings, other options are Bookends at The Art Centre, a tribute to Simon and Garfunkel and acoustic covers from Stripped at The Wheatsheaf.

 

All sorts of things going on musically on Friday, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a gig with your name on it. A good place to start is at The Victoria for The Smokestack Shakers a genre twisting band who take ska and bluebeat and add liberal doses of Latin rhythms and the simmering blues vibes of harmonica and slide guitar.  You also get a DJ set from Erin Bardwell for your money.

 

Fans of superbly executed, fired up electric blues should do everything they can to get tickets for Larry Miller (pictured) at The Arts Centre but if you like the idea of saxophone driven, 50’s swinging rock’n’jive then the place to be is The Rolleston for the Imperial G-Men.

 

A few acoustic options are also up for grabs. At Riffs Bar in celebration of landlady Tiggy’s birthday, Mark Wilderspin will be leading a scratch band of musical waifs and strays and the usual open mic’ spots are available prior to the gig proper.  At The Beehive, Stressechoes will be serving up their usual brilliantly harmonics and well crafted acoustic creations whilst David Marx at The Roaring Donkey, minus his usual AK-Poets, will enthral you with his mix of melody, tunesmithery and eloquent interludes. As the saying goes, Dave (pardon the familiarity) is indeed the home of witty banter.

 

At The Victoria on Saturday you can catch a tribute to Genesis covering both the Gabriel and Collins eras whilst at The Phoenix Bar in Wootton Bassett you will find Hammond organ driven blues standards courtesy of Shades of Blue. Punters should remember to adopt a proper blues name for the night to add to the authenticity. Joe, Willie, Joe Willie, Willie Joe, Hank and Poor Boy are all acceptable choices. Derek, Keith and Damien are not permissible blues names; no matter how many men you have shot in Reno!

 

The Rolleston has a bit of a treat for you with the welcome return of Bristol’s Natural Tendency, a euphoric high mix of emo-rock and futuristic synth grooves that will connect with the “get up and boogie gene” in even the most reclusive barfly.

 

Putting a new twist on the standard piano trio is Rob Terry who plays Baker Street on Tuesday. Mixing contemporary jazz with modern classical he weaves his way through a musical landscape that references the likes of Chopin and Grieg, as much as it does the more expected jazz icons.

 

We wrap the week up with the chance to catch Singer-Songwriter Jenny Bracey at The Crown on Wednesday, or if you are looking for a bigger musical experience, Ten in a Bar will be unveiling a new show of humour and harmonies called Brand New Day at the Art Centre, always wonderful value for money.

Live and Local on 105.5fm

swindon105_5logo-300x186The PRS friendly version of this weeks show. Join Sean and Dave this week as we talk to Bill Cox from Artsite and have the mercurial sounds of George Wilding in session. Music from Drew Bryant, Headcount, Super Square Cloud and Louise Latham and all the usual banter and features.

Listen to the show here

February at Songs of Praise

February at Songs of Praise

Radio Latham

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It seems as if I have spent the last week looking at lists. The TV has been bombarding me with everything from Charlie Brookers wonderfully sarcastic take on the year’s events to The Valleys least forgettable moments (for which I am now seeing a therapist on a weekly basis.) In the music world every website in existence seems to have compiled their run down of 2013’s best music and I must confess that even for someone relatively knowledgeable about current music, it seems like an avalanche of acts that I have never heard of and that would take me the next three years to properly explore. Maybe there is just too much new music out there! What a dilemma, music buffs all want to be the first to get on board with the potential next big thing, but there is just so much music on offer that the chances are that you will miss the designated band wagon. Or as I call it Catch 33 and 1/3! The answer is simple. Learn to stop worrying about the next big thing and just enjoy the music. Just because every Guardian reader in the country is listening to Mumford and The Whale doesn’t mean that you can’t be grooving away to the latest in Russian Chanson or Tibetan Dubstep. Ignore the hype, ignore the hipsters and ignore the media  (the irony!) and just embrace what feels right for you.

 

Well, quite a parochial line up this week, not that there is anything wrong with embracing the bands that are on your doorstep. And one of the best is on at The Victoria tonight. Rocket Box have been around in one form or another for the past 30 years and tonight will be delivering their trade mark blend of melodic rock, punk and pop. Support comes from the riotous yet accessible grungefest that is The Damned and The Dirty.

 

Friday provides a few choice acts from out of the area, most notably Louise Latham who plays Riffs Bar. Louise is known for her chilled and ethereal sounds, a mixture of pop and classical piano that sits somewhere between the mercurial sounds of Tori Amos and the sparser, folk traditions of Cara Dillon.  Support comes from Ben Maggs, a very charismatic folk troubadour who I urge you to catch live.

 

The Beehive offers a range of covers and originals with Newquay Times but if you are staying in the centre of town then my money is on Kubris who play The Rolleston. Any band armed with acoustic instruments and still vary their sound from folk delicacies to a very reasonable impression of Metallica has got to be worth checking out.

 

Glam fans can catch a potted history of The Thin White Duke himself as the Bowie Experience grace The Victoria stage and playing The Ferndale Club are Post 12, a band whose extensive biography tells me that they play pop punk and once came 2nd in a battle of the bands competition.

 

Saturday is all about some wonderful slices of loud and shouty music. Fans of classic metal will want to be at The Rolleston for the ever popular Shepherds Pie who cover all the classics from iconic bands such as AC/DC, Judas Priest and the like. Meanwhile over at Riffs Bar, energetic folk-punk is on offer from Missin’ Rosie and support comes from the oddly named Fist Full of Foozy who cover iconic songs from classic bands such as AC/DC, Judas Priest and the like.

 

For an original take on the genre head to The Victoria to catch the alt-rock majesty of All Ears Avow, the heavy cross genre sound of Burnthru (pictured)and the west coast, big chorus, pop-punk vibes of Sell Your Sky.

 

At The Castle The AK-Poets will be showing you just why they are considered one of the most exciting bands around as they mix raucous riffs and maximum melody with the charisma and tight delivery that only comes with extensive gigging experience. Not a show to miss.

 

The ever popular folk wunderkind, Charlie Anne plays The Beehive on Sunday and the weeks final offering comes with the classic Latin acoustic dexterity, hats, sharp suits and banter of Gilmore ‘n’ Jaz at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday.

936668_10151582452128891_1408839903_nIt seems a bit of a quieter week all round, but then I have had a bit of a problem gathering information as of late. Without going into specifics, here is a radical idea for venues, promoters and bands – tell people about your event! Better still, tell people like me who can get the information out to thousands of people, In the words of Werhner von Braun, “it’s not rocket science” (pause until the sound of a wave of people googling him dies down.)

 

Tonight sees the very welcome return of an artist that Swindon has taken to it’s heart, Louise Latham. Blending an ethereal voice with emotive piano lines, the result is a wonderful dream pop soundscape and a collection of songs that already sound like classics. She is joined by the soulful acoustica of Benji Clements and Friends and the delicate and heartfelt creations of Drew Bryant. All that takes place under the Songs of Praise banner at The Victoria tonight.

 

A couple of people have told me that I need to check out The Darwin Republic, so I did, well, I tried to. Unfortunately, as if to ram home the point of my opening paragraph, at the time of submitting this article there was no information about them on the venue website and they appear to have no on-line presence, though I can’t decide if that is a clever campaign of deliberate mystique and anti-marketing or just lack of promotion. Though I can say that if you go to The Beehive tonight you will almost definitely….find them there.

 

No questions about the calibre of the band playing The Beehive on Friday though. Port Erin are one of those bands that genuinely challenge the listener to pigeon hole them, which is something I admire in a band. They manage to meander through jazz vibes, trippy funk workouts, rock drives and wrap them up in a chilled, unified groove. The Rolleston offers rockabilly in the form of The Corsairs and elsewhere it is covers and tributes all the way with Peleton playing mod, ska and soul at The Victoria and The Floydian Doors at The Castle paying tribute to…well, I’m sure you can work it out.

 

If you want to get out into the fresh air on Saturday (weather permitting) and take in some great music then the place to be is at The Old Town Bowl where The Reggae Garden brings you the best of the genre from midday. Macca B, Solo Banton and Murray Man all front their respective bands plus you can catch local rocksteady outfit, The Erin Bardwell Collective and a host of other acts.

 

The Arts Centre has a bit of a treat for you as no less than ex-Yes guitar shaman Steve Howe pays a visit. But prog fans be warned, this isn’t going to be a  note perfect rendition of Tales From Topographic Oceans, although some of the back catalogue is revisited, as the band explore jazz and country swing alongside the more expected numbers.

 

Pretty much at the opposite edge of the spectrum, dirty rhythm and blues is on offer at The Queens Tap. Looking like a cast of villains from The Sweeney and sounding like Dr Feelgood and The Blockheads fighting in a back alley, The Hamsters From Hell have become local legends for their ability to entertain and offend in equal measure. Crimes against songwriting are also being considered.

 

The rest of Saturday comes in the shape of Hypermused, a tribute to Teignmouth’s most famous alt-rock trio and at The Rolleston, Kok Rok will be setting their tongues firmly in their cheeks and performing the best of classic rock.

 

If harp driven Chicago R’n’b is your sort of thing then get down to The Beehive on Sunday for the afternoon session with Built For Comfort. (Note to younger readers – a harp is what bluesman call the harmonica and r’n’b was a sub-genre of rock and roll before it was applied to lip synching girl bands wiggling to landfill pop tunes, so don’t turn up expecting Little Mix with a classical string section.)

 

And finally on to Wednesday and the usual great offerings from the two midweek acoustic shows. The Running Horse goes blues with established local blues guitar aficionado Ian O’Regan and uber-talented new kid on the block Adam Sweet.

 

 

Meanwhile The Roaring Donkey has the wonderful Chalice, a folk band that brings the sound of the 60’s folk revival bang up to date. Imagine the Albion Band with Court and Spark era Joni Mitchell guesting and you get an idea of why you need to check this band out.

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In many ways today can be seen as the anniversary of the birth of the rock and roll era. It was sixty years ago today that a Tennessee truck driver payed $3.98 to go into a Memphis studio and record a two track disc as a present for his mother. This may have been a footnote in the annals of music history had that truck driver not been Elvis Presley. Five years later an even more significant event occurred in Manchester, England when Nigel Twist came kicking and screaming into the world, presumably already sporting aviator shades and back combed hair. Significant as he went on to drum for The Alarm and record Sixty Eight Guns! I guess it’s all relative but in my world a much more important event, I mean Elvis Presley…what ever happened to him?

Anyway back in the modern age we seem to have a week of quality over quantity when it comes to live music options. Tonight a quite bizarre selection is on offer at The Victoria as Three Minute Tease (pictured) pay a return visit to Songs of Praise. Formed around Sacramento musical oddball Anton Barbeau and featuring a rhythm section made up of post-punk royalty in the form of Morris Windsor and Andy Metcalfe (former Robyn Hitchcock bandmates in The Soft Boys and The Egyptians) this band are a must see for fans of Julian Cope, Syd Barrett, XTC and psychedelic, underground, power-pop in general. Add to that the equally left field Schnauser who sound like The Bonzo Dog Band re-writing Pet Sounds and the more accessible but no less brilliant 8 Minutes Later providing the filling in this strange musical sandwich and you have something a bit special.

Also a bit special is Kent DuChaine at the The Beehive, who delivers a taste of the Delta through his authentic slide blues sound drawn from his “beat up 1934 National Steel guitar.” You can almost taste the mint julep!

On Friday, again it is The Victoria that offers something a bit special. Anyone who caught The Lovers play their stripped down set their back in April will know how great this band is, this time they are back fully amped up, no holds barred. They are a band that prove that rock can have good melody or pop can have attitude and drive, depending on which angle you look at it from. And I also managed to get through that description without resorting to the lazy journalistic fall back of pointing out that they are an all girl band. Damn!

Also on the bill are the ever popular Shudders who seem to be moving from strength to strength with their ever evolving brand of folk meets alt-country meets lo-fi pop meets…anything they can think of really. Plummie Rackett in solo mode opens up the nights proceedings.

At The Beehive, masters of the cross-generic set, Kola Koca, make a welcome return. Freely mixing styles as diverse as folk and jazz, blues and pop to drive some great social observations, kitchen sink dramas, politics and humour, this is a band that you really need to see.

After this the weekend switches away from original music but that’s not to say that there isn’t some great music to be had. (I know I do have a bit of a reputation of not favouring cover and tribute bands so much but it’s probably time to come clean that my favourite song of all time is Kirsty McColl’s 12” version of A New England – not only a cover but an extended re-mix, there I said it.) Friday is all about a range of covers from The Great Nothing at The Rolleston and on Saturday a couple of tributes might take your interest, Green Day at The Victoria and Ian Dury and The Blockheads at The Rolleston.

Original music comes back on the radar on Wednesday with Louise Latham at The Running Horse. Dealing in heartfelt and painfully honest lyrics, driven by wonderfully understated piano, and for this gig accompanied by her sister on guitar, if you are fans of the likes of Sarah MacLachlan, Tori Amos or the more sweeping end of The Indigo Girls, then this is for you. The Beehive are at the other end of the musical scale with Loonaloop and their genre hopping, cosmic electronica.

Final mention is for the show at The Victoria which sees Old Colors bringing back their cinematic folk pop to brighten up your mid-week slump support comes in the form of the ambient pop of The Sea,The Sea and the gentle balladry of Billyjon.

Library - 47The weather may not be reflecting the fact but with three festival gatherings taking place in town in the coming week, to quote Fountains of Wayne – it must be summer. Yes, the rain will be getting slightly warmer, the hail marginally softer, there will be far fewer half dead umbrellas littering the streets and maybe you will be able to use those sunglasses you optimistically bought two months ago, just maybe.

 

Taking these main events in isolation from the rest of the gigging week, it goes a bit like this. The biggest event of the weekend is Riffstock, over at Riffs Bar, (naturally) which features ska, pop, and Indie on Friday and a more family orientated bill on Monday. The two days between are all about rock and metal inside the venue with an acoustic stage outside, best to check the venues website for the full listing.

 

Of a more acoustic, folk and rootsy nature is the Sunbeat Festival at The Sun Inn at Coate Water aptly on Sunday. Again check online for full details but highlights for me are the evocative voice and piano of Louise Latham, the joyous vibe of The Real Raj, the ethereal Faye Rogers and festival favourites Bateleurs.

 

The third and by far the weirdest of the three is the Duck Race which takes place by The Running Horse on Monday and to help celebrate this quirky event the venue’s garden will be filled with great music from the likes of Ethemia, Benji Clements, Josie and The Outlaw, The Blue Trees and Nick Felix.

 

Right, now with the big stuff covered, this is what the rest of the week looks like. Tonight, after what seems like a long time absent from the parish, Talk In Code bring their vibrant, dance rock to The Victoria. Once musically written off as Dad Rock, now they are more like the CD that your musical savvy big brother refuses to lend you. Support is from Jimmy Moore and Marky Thatcher. The Beehive revels in Funke and The Two Tone Baby, a one-man operation that is based around loop-induced, psychedelic blues.

 

Rock and Metal fans not content with the raft of box ticking acts to be found at Riffstock over the weekend can start a day early by heading over there tonight for a six band line up. Headliner, Girls That Scream, is a collision of dance beats and white hot metal riffs and AshestoAngels are a riot of dark energy, glorious synth washes, aggression and melody. Also make sure you catch I’m Designer a band that play with sound in such a way that I can only describe them as indescribable.

 

On Friday, Shaun Buswell is at The Victoria talking about his recent 121212 Challenge, there will be music from a small version of the band and probably slides, flip charts and pointy sticks. All sounds very Dave Gorman to me. If that’s not your sort of thing, maybe a trip to The Beehive instead for Port Erin, a band that deconstruct rock music and blend it with jazz, funk and chilled late night vibes.

 

Original music is hard to find on Saturday but if you aim to watch The Four Fighters at The Victoria you will get to see the soaring, Muse-esque creations of False Gods. Sunday on the other hand is rammed with options.

 

The big draw is going to be at The Oasis when Jahmene Douglas and Josh Kumra return home to headline a Best of Swindon show. For my money, however, the more interesting acts are further down the bill (nothing personal Josh but I really liked Kicaberry!) in the shape of the wonderfully considered and spacey music of Colour The Atlas and Theo Altieri.

 

Elsewhere you can find acoustic, jazz-folk courtesy of Cindy Stratton and Marius Frank at The Beehive, dance floor classics at The Victoria with The Funk’daMentals and piano led, jazz standards at Baker Street from The Alex Steele Trio.

 

More jazz, again at Baker Street with saxophonist Dom Franks on Tuesday but a trip to the Art Centre will reward you with an acoustic show by folk legends Fairport Convention. (pictured)

 

Wednesday is all about rounding off a busy week at The Running Horse with another outing for the soulful and atmospheric Benji Clements and the ubiquitous rising star Charlie-Anne Bradfield.

Library - 23After the doom and gloom of recent events surrounding venue closures, it’s good to see that the town can still put a full event diary in front of its discerning gig going public. Maybe it’s the fact that the rain has got slightly warmer and the Met Office is predicting another half our of sunshine sometime in late August, but what ever the reason there is plenty to choose from this week.

We start with a change in the previously advertised schedule. Songs of Praise at The Victoria tonight was to feature one of the most popular bands on their roster, The James Warner Prophecies, but sadly their travel plans for some European festival dates mean that they are no longer available. But fear not, their replacement comes in the shape of False Gods who alchemize elements of Muse and The Manics to make their music an intriguing proposition. Headliners Empire manage to blend pop melody into hard and angular rock deliveries and opening the night is Babies vs. Rabies, who are like nothing you have experienced before, unless you have come across music that is in turn hypnotic, oppressive, violent, atmospheric, brutal and car crash beautiful, sort of like a cross between an art-punk band and a napalm strike. Or a concerto for guitar and hand grenade!

The Hive has similarly original music on offer in the form of The Blue Trees, a stripped back, lo-fi, roots rock sound that will appeal to fans of The Black Keys, the Black Crows and even some bands with other colours in their title.

True legends can be found at The Wyvern Theatre when Colin Blunstone and virtuoso organist Rod Argent lead The Zombies through all the classics. Fifty years on and the band still sound amazing. Those with more of a jazz leaning might wish to head for the Arts Centre as The Bateman Brothers, aided by a host of famous friends, pay tribute to Louis Armstrong.

Staying at The Arts Centre for Friday and it’s the welcome return of Lotte Mullan; story telling, contemporary folk and famous for her “inside the music business blog.” Musically think Laura Marling meets Loretta Lynn, but her stories make her more like the Bridget Jones of the music industry. More folk can be found at The Beehive with Bateleurs, this time a sort of trans-Atlantic blend that makes you think that if Dylan had not been born alongside Highway 61 but had embraced the A1 in the same mythical fashion, these songs might have been the result.

Two big events happening on Saturday, firstly the Fieldview Festival Launch show at The Victoria. Fieldview is one of the success stories of the local festival scene and their launch show will give you a taste of the event to come, a host of acts to catch including the channeling of the spirits of long forgotten delta bluesmen by Sam Green and The Midnight Heist and the Cameron Brothers (the people who brought you Old School Tie) current brilliant musical vehicle, Weatherstorms.

Last year I was lucky enough to attend the Refuge gig at the Museum and Art Gallery where a combination of some stunning music, a very worthy cause and a wonderfully intimate setting made for an unforgettable night out. Following last years success, this years event, to raise money for Swindon Women’s Aid, will take place at Christ Church, Old Town and features the harmonious arrangements and velvet vocals of Emily Barker and Red Clay Halo (pictured), the mathy-acoustic intricacies of Jen Olive, the emotionally rich and beautifully economical songs of Colour The Atlas and the pin drop talents of Faye Rogers. I can’t recommend this show highly enough.

The place to be on Monday is in the garden of The Running Horse as their Acoustic Garden show is an all day celebration of the brilliant music they host their through out the year. This cast of thousands, okay, cast of many, includes Gilmore n’ Jaz, Louise Latham, Alice Offley, Benji Clements and Ethemia. And that’s not the half of it, so get down there for more music than you can shake a shaky thing at.

On Tuesday, drummer Dave Betts brings his Latin Jazz Quartet to Baker Street; so put your dancing shoes on and revel in this wonderful jazz, funk and Latin fusion driven by by Dave’s kit and congas, timbales and tablas. Very exotic!