XMAS JAZZ 2023
FRIDAY 22nd DEC at 20:00
SATURDAY 23rd DEC at 15:00
SATURDAY 23rd DEC at 20:00
another year … another stage … another unmissable XMAS Jazz Special …
continuing our tour of Chelmsford venues (!!) … this year’s programme will be presented at:
THE CHELMSFORD SOCIAL CLUB
Larry, Zak and various hangers-on / maestros will present all the old favourites …
Larry Berkovitz - piano / vocals
Robert Rickenberg - double bass / vocals
Andy Frost - drums / beatbox
Zak Barrett - saxes / clarinet
Rowan Ward - alto sax
Dominic Copestick - saxes / vocals
Adam Mader - trumpet / violin / melodica / recorder / multi-instumentalist / vocals
Tickets are already on sale … so make sure to get yours well in time to avoid an early night at home!
As always, your bargain price ticket includes much ado about lots …. Rowan and Dom blowing horns, Adam playing anything, Andy banging and making daft noises … AND … Rob slapping a good few thousand pounds !
a note from Larry: as always, your continued support is gratefully appreciated by my mortgagees …. so … please bring everyone you know … and even a few you don’t … no silly paper hats … we promise …
The XMAS Jazz Special is live this year … THE CHELMSFORD SOCIAL CLUB with a fully-licensed bar yippee! lots of XMAS Jazz and more, seasonal cheer, some pretty bad jokes + oodles of complimentary kisses and mince pies!
what are you waiting for? … “I can resist everything except temptation !” (Oscar Wilde)
NEED HELP WITH BOOKING YOUR TICKETS ? Call 01865 798792 (Mon-Fri 9:30am - 5pm)
in my humble opinion, the secret of a good gig (beyond the sheer talent and appeal of the performers) lies in choosing the right repertoire - Larry Berkovitz, November 2017
We are very privileged to have a superb audience of loyal followers, encompassing a wide range of ages and tastes and we always try to ensure something for everyone. So it is always a fun and challenging task compiling the repertoire for our regular Xmas Jazz seasons. The annual programme features a permanent core of around eight staples - the absolute best of the Christmas Jazz songbook. To this core, we then add at least a dozen or more numbers to complete the set, most of which we replace each year so as to provide a constantly refreshed programme for our regular audiences. This provides the perfect opportunity to put together a wide programme of good supporting numbers, the main criteria for which lies in choosing pieces that we personally enjoy, think that our audience will enjoy and / or ones that my wife won’t react with a proverbial - you’re not really going to play that are you ...
We endeavour to pick approachable material - a light balance of differing Jazz styles and rhythms. These include a healthy dose of recognisable standards ideal for the audience to hum, bleat or just tap their feet (or raise a finger), together with the odd offering of something newer or just a little less known. Sometimes we focus on a particular version of a piece and endeavour to find or even script a transcription of it or, at other times, we simply start with a fresh leaf and write our own arrangements to a popular standard.
Whatever we choose, our aim is to suit all tastes, whether hardcore Jazz enthusiasts, their wives (or husbands), people that have turned up at the wrong theatre, or just fans of the good crooners.
It’s all great fun and makes for a light-hearted season's cheer !
Larry Berkovitz - Piano / Vocal
With little formal training, Larry’s playing style can best be described as “unorthodox”. Equipped with a very early Farfisa organ, he survived the underground rock years of the late sixties/early seventies as one half of “TWO” – playing support to the likes of URIAH HEEP, OSIBISA, and even SLADE (what a racket!). He doesn’t remember very much. Back in the UK from the mid-eighties, and some years older and returning to his original passion of Jazz, Larry became a popular performer on the local Essex and London Jazz scene, leading his own band E-MAIL SPECIAL for some 12 years until 2011, amassing a strong following and enchanting concert audiences at home (Chelmsford) and in Southend, Bury St Edmunds, London’s VORTEX Jazz Bar, Knightsbridge’s much-lamented prestigious PIZZA ON THE PARK, etc. In recent years, however, Larry has concentrated on the arranging and developing of much of the Spring, Summer and Xmas Jazz repertoires and on performing these in concert to much acclaim. But with much of his time now spent abroad, public appearances in the UK are now more of a rarity.
Zak Barrett - Tenor / Soprano Sax, Clarinet
Born in Mandeville, Jamaica, Zak certainly added an exciting and unique dimension to E-MAIL SPECIAL when he joined in 2002. A graduate of the Royal Northern College Of Music, Zak studied Jazz Masterclasses with Ed Thigpen and Johnny Dankworth. Bursting on to the local Essex scene as front man of “The Fellowship”, Zak performed to packed houses at the Bassment in Chelmsford for over ten years. He has worked with Guthrie Govan, Mick Hucknall, the late legendary blind pianist / vocalist Reg Webb, amongst many others and maintains an extremely busy schedule combining teaching, performance, composition / arranging and recording. Although predominantly a Jazz-Funk performer, Zak is equally at home with mainstream jazz (and even with klezmer!) as can be evidenced by his outstanding contribution to the annual Xmas Jazz stage.
Robert Rickenberg - double bass
A graduate of the Guildhall School of Music, Robert came to prominence with the Sheena Davis group and the late great American saxophonist Spike Robinson. Jazz Review describes him as “a real gem of a player, with a rich dark sound… spot on the beat and lays down a really solid framework”. Robert has played alongside numerous British & American jazz greats including Herb Geller, Danny Gottlieb (Pat Metheny Group), Will Gaines & Mark Murphy. He has also played and recorded for Kylie & Danii Minogue, Westlife, the Fun Lovin’ Criminals, and writer/pianist Jay Rayner and has also superbly held the Xmas Jazz stage since 2014.
Rowan Ward - alto sax
Rowan’s “understated” tone and style is well known to local jazz fans. A founder member of E-MAIL SPECIAL, he met Larry Berkovitz whilst on tour in France in 1996 and, together with Larry, has performed at a multitude of restaurants, clubs, etc., building up a strong following of regulars throughout Essex.
Dom Copestick - tenor / alto saxes, vocals
Dominic was already a “seasoned actor” by the time he began his musical career at the age of 10, having already performed on West End stages, in BBC productions and in the film “Franklin”. Attending acting schools and Guildhall Drama, Dom has also been a member of several choirs, performing an extremely varied repertoire, from operas such as “La Boheme” and “Carmina Burana” to concerts with the London Community Gospel Choir. As a saxophonist and vocalist, Dominic has performed with several county and national level youth orchestras and groups and joined the Xmas Jazz stage in 2016, courtesy of the Essex Youth Jazz Orchestra
Andy Frost - drums & vocal percussion
Not only a superb jazz drummer, Andy Frost is also a very entertaining vocal percussion beat boxer, one of the world’s leading exponents and acknowledged leaders of this complex genre. He joined the Xmas Jazz stage in 2012 stage to indulge his particular penchant for Jazz and has provided audiences with a truly unforgettable experience. Andy studied drumming with internationally acclaimed drum master Bob Armstrong and drums / percussion with Dave Hassell. But in terms of beat box, he is largely self-taught, citing his early influence as Michael Winslow (from “Police Academy”) who he later met at a Winslow gig when they were both performing at the Edinburgh Fringe. Back in 1998 when The Magnets were looking to recruit a beat-box with a solid theory / drumming background, Andy Frost was an obvious choice and he was with The Magnets for over 19 years touring the world. In June 2015, however, Andy, together with Steve and Fraser - three leading members of the Magnets, left to form a smaller a-capella group – We3 - in their own style and touring the world. Additionally, Andy also plays drums on tour with singer Paul Davinci. When not on tour, Andy runs a busy schedule teaching and holding drum and Vocal Percussion workshops With Andy on board, there’s always a surprise treat in store for our audiences!
Adam Mader - trumpet, violin, mandolin, melodica, recorder, whistling, face slapping and ... vocals
A brilliant maestro on a whole host of instruments and vocal talents. Adam Mader is today one of Israel’s top musicians renowned for stunning audiences throughout the world with his effervescent stage presence and mastery of instruments. His career was launched in the late seventies, when, as a teenager, he featured on strings, flutes (and anything else that made a noise) in the band GALILEO led by Larry Berkovitz. Many years later, inviting Adam to join the Xmas Jazz stage, Larry commented “I played with him for many years when we were both very much younger, and he was bloody amazing then! Our audiences can expect some virtuoso stuff on violin, mandolin, trumpet, etc. together with some unexpected surprises – whistling, face-slapping, exhaling, etc.” Incredibly busy and always in demand, Adam plays alongside literally all of Israel’s top stars.
!! ADAM MADER WILL BE IN UK FOR TWO DAYS ONLY !!
.. a taster?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOt4Qb89FsA I Wanna Be Like You /Rudolph /Jingle Bells (2019)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePGnXckgVhU What A Difference A Day Made (2019)
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (2012)
Whilst every effort goes into ensuring this gig listing is accurate and up to date, always check with the venue before you travel.