REVIEWS and ARTICLES
Dave Gelly - Review of The Mirror
From the appropriately reflective title piece to the energetically eccentric 'Caliban's Dance', Andrea Vicari's album, The Mirror, is full of melodies. They fill every corner of the music, prominent in the solos or half-hidden in the leader-composer's piano accompaniment. This is a beautifully integrated quintet, with saxophonist Mornington Lockett and guitarist Elvis Staniç outstanding.
Dave Gelly (Jazz critic - The Observer)
Jazz Journal Review of The Mirror February 2017
|All of the music here except track nine was commissioned for the Leasowes Bank Festival in Shropshire i 2007 and funded by Art Council West Midlands.
The opening Prosperity sets the scene for these original snappy compositions by Ms Vicari and has some crackling solos by Andrea and Mornington Lockett on tenor.
New Atlantis is a stately theme in which, again, the leader, Lockett and Stanic shine in solo. Croatian guitarist Stanic and Andrea Vicari had just teamed up for a Jazz Extempore UK project that had been very successful and decided to work together again on this recording.
Each track has something to offer and the music represents something more than just a thin theme to blow on. El Penguin has that strong Flamenco sound mixed into Blues that Miles Davis perfected many years ago with Blues For Pablo and Flamenco Sketches.
Andrea’s best solo is on the final Sixes and Sevens, a neat, flowing track. Mornington digs in on hard-edged tenor and brother Dorian keeps the bass line steady. The Leader’s sturdy lines and light, lyrical touch set the standard on this set and the entire quintet keep up the standard throughout.
Derek Ansell. Jazz Journal, February 2017
Andrea Vicari's Research Project on Women in Jazz
|Photos | James Keates | www.jk-photography.net
click for a larger version
"Vicari was wedded to the jazz church from an early age. “My father was a jazz pianist who played with the Second City Jazzmen in Birmingham. And my mother is a jazz fan and my brother plays drums. I think I must have been about six or seven when I started playing piano. We had a Kemble ‘Minx’ in the house which my dad played, so it was always around.”
Though Vicari had private and peripatetic lessons at various schools on the piano, she first rehearsed on the clarinet – “that only lasted a year”, and then briefly on the violin... “It was too difficult and not really suited to jazz. My school had what might be called an ‘encouraging’music department, but my real musical training didn’t start until I was in my mid-teens.” She continues. “When I was 15, I joined the Midlands Youth Jazz Orchestra and I stayed with them until I was 19.”
Vicari went on to study music at Cardiff University, focusing on composition. “At the time I went to college there weren’t really any jazz courses and so I opted for an academic degree. However, by the time I finished there was an established post-graduate jazz course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and so I applied to study there. I was accepted and awarded a scholarship for my fees.......etc
|Photo | Melody McLaren
click for a larger version
"more success for the international project JazzExtempore….an important international jazz unit with conspicuous access to the European jazz scene" JazzHr (Croatia)
LONDON JAZZ NEWS JAZZ-EXTEMPORE REVIEW 18 OCTOBER 2013 (LINK)
"fabulous, fluid playing by all with Andrea’s sweet, choral vocal tone gelling the irregular bar lengths into a melodic melange."
Jeanie Barton, London Jazz News - October 2013
"Sari Gellen "Medina’s haunting vocals and violin performed in unison add an authenticity that takes this number beyond the jazz sphere and into a class of it’s own."
London Jazz News - October 2013
East & West "combining eastern folk elements with the west of a traditional and contemporary jazz sound" BBC R3 Jazz Line-Up
East and West "demonstrates (JazzExtemporé's) apparently never-ending scope for harmonic creativity and highly-focused improvisation"
The Musician Magazine
"Andrea Vicari's playing is a constant delight - intense,
probing, and generating a seemingly endless succession of
"scary..it's worth seeing her play" JJ
Marshall, Oxford Times
"irresistibly catchy" The Observer
"Beautiful, Excellent !!!" Jens Jørn
Gjedsted, Denmarks Radio
"an impressive, startling body of work." Mike
"one of the most brilliant young jazz musicians in
the UK - an outstanding pianist and superbly fertile composer"
Penguin Rough Guide to Jazz
"a sharp post-pob piano improviser and prolific
composer - breathtakingly eclectic. The Guardian
"a brilliant young British talent"
Humphrey Lyttleton, BBC R2
"one of the very brightest stars in the jazz firmament"
Ian Carr (biographer of Miles Davis and Keith
"the bright lucidity of Vicari's compositions bepeak
a clarity of vision rare in so young a composer"
"Andrea Vicari shares with Django Bates an irreverent
wit and a wanton disregard for musical borders yet she
can swing with the best of them" Neville
"a jazz composer of formidable range...the variety
of texture and colour is truly remarkable" Dave
Gelly , Musician
"atmospheric and original" Time Out
TIMES LIVE REVIEW FEB 2005 (LINK)
click for a larger version
Jazz ExTemporé "demonstrate their apparently never-ending scope for harmonic creativity and highly-focused improvisation"
The Musician Magazine
Jazz ExTemporé “An important and enjoyable contribution to the new, emergent European jazz - full of confidence and creativity.”
Dave Gelly - Observer Jazz Critic
|Jeanie Barton London JazzNews October 2013
Jazz ExTempore Orchestra -
East and West - 33Records 33JAZZ235
An eclectic second CD of mainly instrumental music by The Jazz Extempore Orchestra(initially formed as a cultural exchange between Croatia and other European countries) East & West incorporates lyric-less vocalese by pianist Andrea Vicari (From the UK) as well as a song by guest singer and violinist Medina Mektiva from the UK and Azerbaijan. The superb ensemble of Elvis Staniç on guitars and accordion (from Croatia), Rico de Jeer on bass (from Holland/Indonesia) and Hristo Yotsov on drums (from Bulgaria) all contribute compositions.
Opening with Andrea’s funky, syncopated The Occidental Tourist, which although it is much more harmonically complex, brings to my mind, The All Seeing I’s “The Beat Goes On”, this album goes on to incorporate so many diverse musical and cultural influences, I almost do feel like a tourist! Things quickly develop a rock/swing facet with Elvis’ Breakout, featuring fabulous, fluid playing by all with Andrea’s sweet, choral vocal tone gelling the irregular bar lengths into a melodic melange.
Eastern flavours come to the fore with the Azeri folk song Sari Gelin; although arranged in 4/4 by Andrea this number sways as though in it’s original 6/8 – Medina’s haunting vocals and violin performed in unison add an authenticity that takes this number beyond the jazz sphere and into a class of it’s own. Track 5, Elf by bassist Rico (aptly performed in 5/4) maintains this delicate hue. It is a favourite of mine on this ever evolving album (which no one track is able to define) Elvis’ lap steel gives a country feel to the recording – somehow bringing the outdoors indoors.
The title track by drummer Hristo sets pulses racing while allowing space and swing to establish it’s self in sections of half time and even quarter time feel – Andrea and Elvis are equally matched in their dexterity with a duel-like head to head. There follow more compositions by each of the ensemble including Base My Life, a bubbly African sounding number by Andrea and another nod to traditional folk music, this time from Croatia with Ivan Klakar, about a fictitious character in folklore who survived a terrible storm at sea in a boat. The melody played on Elvis’ accordion lends the feel of a sleepy sea shanty to this track, again arranged in 4/4 as opposed to the original 3/4 making for more a contemporary interpretation.
With so many diverse numbers on one CD, this already acclaimed album seems to be bucking the more recent commercial critical preference for albums containing little or no variety of style. Personally, I like to hear a varied set both in live and recorded performance and immensely enjoyed the journey they took me on.
Robert Shore JazzWise Magazine
|Jazz ExTempore Orchestra
Round Trip - Croatia Records CD5861225
The ideal of 'music without frontiers" provides the philosophical
underpinning for this cross-cultural experiment which began
when Elvis Stanic, director of the Liburnia Jazz Festival in
Croatia, invited fellow European jazzers from the UK (Andrea
Vicari), Holland (Rico De Jeer) and Bulgaria (Hristo Yotsov)
to join him in exploring traditional music from his home country,
with each participant being encouraged to bring intuitions and
insights from their own backgrounds to the table. Stanic's mellow
'Silent Voices' gets things underway, demonstrating both the
composer's clear-toned guitar picking and generous accordion
work. It's followed by the whirling gypsy-jazz dance of 'Se
Jest On' and Vicari's pensive, abstracted 'Counting Minutes',
the latter featuring some fine ensemble work and gaining an
extra sonic dimension thanks to the addition of guest player
Primoz Fleischman on sax. Elsewhere the likes of the traditional
Croatian tune 'Ju Te San Se Zajubija' finds itself rubbing shoulders
with geographically and rhythmically diverse jazz inspirations
such as 'yotsov's 'Balkan Afro.'
Jazz UK magazine February/March
|A conventional-enough quintet of trumpet, saxophone and rhythm
section, but it would be a great injustice to regard Andrea
Vicari's new CD as a routine jazz exercise. For one thing, there
are ten earcatching original pieces by the leader, ably interpreted
by a fine band. For another, Andrea Vicari's own playing is
a constant delight - intense, probing, and generating a seemingly
endless succession of ideas. The stylistic contrast between
Steve Waterman's trumpet and Pete Wareham's sax playing is also
productive, with the former delivering strong, fluent solos
in a predominantly hard-hop idiom, while the latter (as listeners
to Acoustic Ladyland would expect) tends to explore the harmonic
'outside', as on the lively 'So Bigtime'. Then again, the very
next track, 'Counting Minutes', is a gentle, reflective piece.
This is primarily a vehicle for Andrea Vicari's thoughtful piano
playing, but the track also provides a chance for bassist Dorian
Lockett and drummer James Maddren to display their empathy with
the leader's ideas. An absorbing CD - the sort you'll keep going
back to. PM
Andy Robson JazzWise magazine December
|Mango Tango 33 Records 33.JAZZ163
Andrea Vicarl (Pt, Steve Waterman (t), Pete Wareham (sax), Dorian
Lockett (b) James Maddren (d)
Vicari may have prioritised teaching and motherhood over recording
of late, but her absence from the studios hasn't cramped her
writing or jaunty piano style. She remains, at the least, one
of the most optimistic of contemporary pianists, but her writing
is also rich and allusive and pushing into darker areas than
that initial gloss always suggests. And this is also one intriguing
band: although Vicari has worked successfully with larger outfits,
this quintet has the varied voices and built in paradoxes that
also reflect her eclectic writing. So Wareham's neurotic bluster
is understandably well to the fore on the driving 'So Big Time',
but it also has to go into some unexpected ballad territory
('Counting Minutes', 'Bavarde'), and it counterpoises neatly
with Waterman's more boppish, crystal clear attack, which is
prominent on 'Le Flambeur'. The rhythm section too has a tasteful
mix, with young gun Maddren mixing clatter and clash with subtler
splashes of colour, while Vicari's long time bassman Lockett
holds it all down with a confident aplomb. The only quibble
is that with such horn men sparring away, we don't have enough
of Vicari's own soloing, although she stretches out on 'Counting
Minutes' and lays down the catchiest of rhythms to the Latin
feel of 'Café Calypso'. But best of all is the madness
of the title track which threatens to tip into big time rock
but never quite loses its shape.
Chris Parker THE VORTEX October
Live review of CD launch Gig
10 October 2007
Andrea Vicari has probably played more frequently at the Vortex
in recent years as part of the Foundation Big Band than as
a leader, so it was gratifying to hear her (Wednesday, 10)
leading a sparky, responsive band through two sets of the
compositions that make up her new 33 Records album, Mango
She's been providing judiciously chosen aggregations of various
sizes (previous bands have included the likes of Phil Robson,
Mornington Lockett and her ever-present partner, Dorian Lockett)
with cheerfully accessible yet skilfully written material
since the early 1990s, but this set of originals is perhaps
her most accomplished yet; on this occasion, with bassist
Dorian Lockett and drummer James Maddren were a perfectly
balanced and tellingly contrasting front-line pairing: trumpeter
Quentin Collins and tenor player Ingrid Laubrock.
As a quintet, they were pleasingly informal but punchy and
cohesive where required, whether they were playing latin-inflected
pieces or relatively straightahead jazz, but it was the soloing
of Laubrock – characteristically texturally adventurous,
slow-building, imaginative – and Collins – all
fire, pep and sassy confidence – that brought out the
music's vigour. With Vicari's piano holding the whole together
and occasionally decorating her pieces with absorbing solos
full of subtle cross-rhythms and enlivened by the odd sparkling
run, this was a thoroughly enjoyable evening's music from
a considerable compositional and bandleading talent.
Mike Butler METRO May 11
Pianist Andrea Vicari sheds some
light on the surreal inspirations behind her work
Of all contemporary British pianists, Andrea Vicari remains
most committed to the notion that jazz should be fun, even
at the highest level of technical expertise. The result is
an impressive, startling body of work. Time signatures, for
example, go beyond the conventional 4/4 without sounding the
least bit contrived.'It's just that I often hear melodies
in odd, different time signatures,' explains Vicari. 'I don't
do it on purpose. There's one called Gaudi that's in seven
and six and at first it's like:"Oh! What's going on?"
But it's actually quite natural when you get used to it.'
Festival Dance (in the version on the superb Tryptych album)
manages to be delicate and raucous at once, and contains some
of Sebastian Rochford's best work on record. 'The solo sections
are in 4/4, so I do give the soloists a bit of a reprieve.
I don't find it particularly hard to play. It was just as
I heard it.'
Perhaps the delight, the wistfulness and the madcap invention
of Vicari's tunes come from their unlikely sources of inspiration.'
Cafe Calypso was inspired by a very odd service station in
France. It had four white grand pianos and all this rattan
furniture. Very surreal. Very bizarre. The pianos were actually
out of tune, because I tried a couple of them.' Who else in
jazz raises frivolity to this level of the sublime ?
'There's one called Mango Tango, inspired by my daughter who
drew a hotel with beautiful, very sunny colours. It was her
homework at school. In the middle it almost goes into heavy
rock. I love that kind of craziness, but I love the lyrical
as well. It's about creating atmosphere within a piece of
This delight in the surreal clearly extends to putting a band
together. The frontline of the Andrea Vicari Quintet features
Pete Wareham, the manic saxophonist from Acoustic Ladyland,
and Steve Waterman, a warm, melodic trumpeter who excels at
hard-bop.'He's really out there if he has to be,' informs
Vicari. 'I think it will be a nice contrast. And they're very
nice chaps, which is very important.'
The drummer is a second-year student at the Royal Academy
Of Music called James Maddren. Vicari calls him 'absolutely
phenomenal' and says that his name will be well-known shortly.
The faithful Dorian Lockett, who played on Lunar Spell, Suburban
Gorillas and Tryptych (that is,every album under Vicari's
nameto date) completes the line-up on double-bass. Mike
Butler METRO 11/05/07
|Hot Jazz Warms up Funky Town - IOW
County Press 16/3/07
THE summery sound of saxophone maestro Mornington Lockett blew
away the winter blues as he joined virtuoso jazz pianist Andrea
Vicari for a night of top-flight music at the Ventnor Towers
The weather may have been appalling outside but it did not deter
Island jazz aficionados from enjoying a quartet of top-notch
jazz artists, said organisers.
The unique appearance of the combo had a strong family feel
to it. The band, which also comprised drummer Mike Bradley and
Andrea's partner and Mornington's brother, Dorian Lockett, on
bass, performed some steaming takes on the sometimes challenging
Vicari compositions, mixed with some racy standards.
The Lockett brothers grew up on the Island and began their musical
careers playing locally. Tenor sax legend Mornington, once famously
described by Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher as "Jimi Hendrix
on sax", will be performing with Bradley in the outfit,
Sax Appeal, at the 1W Jazz Festival.
The Locketts' strong Island ties were enough to bring them back
to Ventnor and is perhaps a reason why fans had travelled from
as far afield as Portsmouth and Port Solent to watch them.
One of the highlights of the band's set was Vicari's humorous
jazz take on Scotsmen in kilts. As her kilt rose, so did the
intensity of the sound, to heavy jazz posthop crescendo.
Geri Ward, of 1W Jazz, said: "It was another in a series
of great gigs in the rather funky little corner of the Island
known as Ventnor.
"The audience was treated to
a terrific encore of Chick Corea, which was delivered with such
energy that Mornington and Andrea both nearly took off from
the stage. "The full force of their international talent
rose from the soul" JON MORENO Isle Of
Wight County Press 16/3/07
ANDREA VICARI Tryptych
Pianist Vicari doesn't make it into Chilton's British Who's-Who
but deserved to on the evidence of this well-crafted and uplifting
Combining with bassist Dorian Lockett and Seb Rochford (drums}
she sets out on a programme of originals and standards, coming
up trumps initially on 'Gaudi', Rochford's splashy shading
adding to the colour of the piece. Vicari gives 'Bewitched'
a fresh lick of paint, the theme harmonised, before she digs
in and then does much the same with Cole Porter's 'l Love
You'. This and her own 'Coming of Age' are highlights, the
latter moving from Evans-like calm into a fevered sequence
whose drive and momentum bring to mind the late Hampton Hawes
at his best. Still, there's little need to overplay such comparisons
since all these tracks offer ample testimony to Vicari's refreshing
fusion of creativity and command. (PV) JAZZ UK
Vicari Tryptych (33 Records 33JAZZ 099)
Once you have heard Andrea Vicari, you could probably pick
her out from a dozen of her contemporary pianists, mainly
by the precision and clarity of her touch. She improvises
such lucid lines and brightly voiced chords that you can't
help following her train of thought. The programme here is
roughly half-and-half standards and originals, and it says
a lot for her composing that both come out sounding equally
melodic. There is one particularly beautiful piece, called
'When Did the World Become Colour?' Some of the rhythm patterns
set up with bassist Dorian Lockett and drummer Sebastian Rochford
are irresistibly catchy, and the interplay among the three
is hugely inventive. Dave Gelly