Review: Wild Card At Pizza Express – Jazz Club Soho

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Tiece Edwards reviewed nu-jazz band Wild Card’s performance at Pizza Express in Jazz Club Soho.

“Jazz washes away the dust of everyday life.” — Art Blakey

It is safe to say that there is something extremely fulfilling about attending a live music event. For those of us who have experienced live music gigs we know that there are the odd occasions where live performances can sway towards disappointing and on the other hand there are performances that can leave you speechless and exhilarated. The latter is one of the many reasons why I’d recommend all Jazz lovers and music lovers alike to go and see the dynamic Jazz band Wild Card live.

On 27th June, Wild Card graced the Pizza Express at the Jazz Club in Soho with their inspiring sounds. The band; Clement Regert (Guitar), Sophie Alloway (drums) and Andrew Noble (Organ & Bass) were joined by special guests Graeme Blevins (sax) and Jay Phelps (trumpet) as they provided two sets of warm, upbeat and flamboyant grooves in one of London’s finest Jazz venues.

The intimate venue set with dimmed lighting and 1920s decor allowed the audience to unwind and embrace a night of soulful jazz rhythms. Wild Card founder and guitarist Clement often linked songs with anecdotes that subsequently had members of the audience in hysterics. His interaction created an enjoyable atmosphere and gave the musician likeable qualities. The music was just as entertaining and depicted conventional jazz fused with a variation of urban and Latin melodies. The opening song ‘Oz’ was the start of a harmonic journey that ascended throughout the night. The second song ‘Sweet Smoke’ took the audience back to the birthplace of jazz (New Orleans) as it demonstrated its heavy Southern American influences, beautiful use of crescendo and classy solos from Phelps on the Trumpet and Blevins on the Saxophone. The song ‘Berimbau’ (Brazilian word for Slums) encompassed elements from Brazilian Bossa Nova rhythms and accentuated the warm energy that was present in the room. By the end of the first set the audience were mesmerised by the idyllic sounds that flooded the venue.

Just as you think a set couldn’t get any better, the second set proceeded to impress the audience with a collection of energetic, funky, ‘feel good’ songs. ‘Tchouks’ an original piece written by Wild Card is boisterous and featured a charming solo from Guitarist Clement and a rather seductive solo on the Saxophone. Throughout all the pieces Sophie Alloway on the drums and Andy Noble on the bass and organ were proficient in providing flawless compositions. In the song ‘Heartbeat’ Noble and his organ didn’t shy away from taking the lead and dominating with dexterity. As a Multi instrumentalist Noble played the organ with his left hand and bass with his right hand- this just emphasises the talent that was present on that stage. Each musician added something incredible to both sets and one that stood out was Sophie Alloway’s astounding drum solo in ‘Monty’s Samba’. It was inspiring to listen to her excellent stick control and her adequate use of dynamic accents.

Together the band, including the special guests, played coherently creating an exciting and refreshing experience for the audience. It must be noted that these guys put the fun back into Jazz! Thus, if you are new to Jazz or a loyal lover of Jazz, I’d recommend seeing this flamboyant band live because they deliver a new dimension of Jazz. If toe tapping, hand clapping, hip swinging and a good time is what you are after go and see Wild Card at one of their London shows.