No more Jazz @ The Oxford

It is with great sadness that I can confirm that the Jazz @ The Oxford night will not be returning in the Autumn. A staple in the North London contemporary jazz and new music scenes for the last twelve to thirteen years (possibly even longer – the opening dates from the LOOP Collective are quite hard to pin down), the night has had a pretty formidable run by the standards of similar ventures, but unfortunately the new management has decided not to continue the gigs.

While this is obviously a huge disappointment, I would like to take the time to sincerely thank everyone who has been involved in any way at all, and to reflect upon what has been a terrific ride. The path was not always a terribly smooth one: it’s every promoter’s worst nightmare when inexplicably one week the audience barely outnumbers the band (!) but mercifully such evenings at The Oxford had become incredibly scarce and the night felt in good health – indeed, in the last year or two, even after a fairly drastic door money hike, nights considered ‘thin on the ground’ usually involved numbers I’d have bitten your hand off for when I started running the night in 2009!

This is entirely thanks to dedicated local followers, young and old, and support from a wonderful community of musicians, which meant that not only would musicians pop in for a beer and a set on their nights off, but knowing the spirit of the place and what we were aiming for, they were willing to come and play without guaranteed fees and share their music and talents with us all. A strength of nights such as this is undoubtedly the intimacy of the place, for audience and performers alike, and because of that, lovely relationships were formed between musicians and punters: regulars all knew each other and became friendly, and audiences were sometimes so moved by musicians’ work that they actually became active in supporting that music being recorded, which I think is a deeply wonderful thing.

With this news, there are unfortunately gigs which were scheduled to take place in the Autumn which we can no longer deliver: one such gig, however, was just too exciting to let slip, so I’m delighted to announce that our friends at The Constitution in Camden (a.k.a. the Con Cellar Bar) have stepped in and helped us out, and that the amazing trio of NY sax great Ellery Eskelin, with Matthew Bourne and Chris Sharkey, will be appearing there on October 10th! Tickets are now on sale here, more info at the Con website.

Hooray for the Con – please show them your support!

My heartfelt and unwavering thanks to anyone who has attended, played or been in any way involved in Jazz @ The Oxford over the years – it has been an absolute privilege to have known you all, and to have experienced such wonderful and unique music.

George Crowley, 03/08/16

PS. Apologies to everyone who never got an email back from me – that was never my strong point…!

Con Cellar Jazz Autumn season begins on September 2nd

For Jazz gigs in your area, please check out JazzLondonLive



Monday July 4th: James Mainwaring’s Tipping Point

We’ve come to our last gig of the current season, and we’re delighted to be using it to welcome an incredible band for their one London date of a current UK tour – saxophonist and composer James Mainwaring’s Tipping Point!

tipping point

Tipping Point:

James Mainwaring – saxophone / effects

Matthew Bourne – rhodes

Michael Bardon – bass

Joost Hendrickx – drums

Saxophonist, composer, singer-songwriter and now label boss James Mainwaring is perhaps best known as a founder member of the Mercury Prize nominated Roller Trio or more recently as a collaborator with and touring member of fellow Mercury nominees Django, Django, who he met at the 2012 awards. Tipping Point is his new project and the second release on Lamplight Social Records, the label he founded to release the second Roller Trio album, Fracture, after becoming frustrated with the machinations of the music industry.

Tipping Point features James Mainwaring on saxophone and effects alongside British improvised music legend Matthew Bourne Fender Rhodes and two of the UK’s most individual instrumentalists; Michael Bardon double bass and Joost Hendrickx drums. Members of the band have previously collaborated on projects such as; Dave Kane’s Rabbit Project, the Fusebox Orchestra, Shatner’s Bassoon and Mainwaring/Bardon/Horne amongst many others. It was whilst studying at Leeds College of Music 2007 – 2010 when Mainwaring, Bardon and Hendrickx met and were tutored by Bourne, a pianist whose innovative approach to improvisation and teaching proved to be a great influence on them that the genesis for Tipping Point was born. “Mick and I used to jam as a duo, improvising until we burst out laughing and that would be the end of a tune. We’ve all spent a lot of time working on and thinking about improvisation, absorbing contemporary classical and world influences, looking at different ways of sounding together but being free, different ways of organising sounds, Bourne’s got a PhD in it” says Mainwaring. Toying with language internalised from a vast range of music such as jazz, contemporary classical and north Indian classical, Mainwaring’s compositions for Tipping Point aim to evoke playfulness, mindfulness, darkness and extremes of emotion, the band journeys from reflective ambience to intense aggression, using telepathic improvisations, angular melodies and unorthodox sounds from eerie to comic.

“Playful, dark, skilful and spontaneous… a surefooted trip across many persuasions in contemporary music.” – John Fordham, The Guardian ****

“Moments of collective beauty” – Daniel Spicer, Jazzwise ****

“Adventurous, ironic, playful, and humorous” – Nick Stevenson, Jazzlines

This is going to be an awesome gig with which to end our run, and we hope you can come and join us and catch these brilliant musicians on a rare-ish visit to London – we recommend a prompt arrival to get a good seat!

As ever, doors 8:30, music from 9 – entry £10 / 5.

See you there!

Monday June 27th: NO GIG

Just a reminder that we have no gig this week – we are back for our final gig of the season on July 4th, and it’s going to be a very special one, as we welcome Mercury / Mobo nominated saxophonist and composer James Mainwaring for the only London gig of a UK tour with his project ‘Tipping Point’, featuring the brilliant Matthew Bourne, Mick Bardon and Joost Hendrickx – don’t miss it!

Monday June 20th: Bruno Heinen and the Italian Job

Already at our last gig of June (we have no gig on the 27th, but jazz fans may want to investigate this) and our penultimate gig of the season (!) and it will be a very great pleasure to welcome one of London’s most brilliant pianists and composers, Bruno Heinen with a recently formed trio featuring the excellent rhythm section of Michele Tacchi and Riccardo!

bruno italian trio

Bruno Heinen – piano

Michele Tacchi – electric bass

Riccardo Chiaberta – drums

Regulars at The Oxford probably already know Bruno Heinen well, if not for his many great appearances at night then for his many inspiring projects – most recently his Bill Evans tribute duo with Kristian Borring, his reinvention of Vivaldi or jazz reimagining of Stockhausen’s Tierkreis – a musical presence in the capital which goes from strength to strength.

For this gig he is joined by two fantastic London-based Italians, bassist Michele Tacchi and drummer Riccardo Chiaberta, to form this collaborative trio and forward-thinking trio, playing original music by each of the members. Unified by language stemming from the European jazz tradition, the trio is equally defined by the distinctive character of its members; Heinen’s roots in impressionistic classical music, Tacchi’s lyrical fretless bass sound and wide dynamic range of Chiaberta’s sensitive drumming – this promises to be a very special gig!

(Rumours of a guest turn by a brilliant young Scottish saxophonist can neither be confirmed nor denied.)

‘Erudition, eclectic studies and a jazz sensibility make Heinen the kind of newcomer who repositions the goalposts. ****’ John Fordham, The Guardian

As ever, doors at 8:30, music from 9; entry £10 / 5.

We hope to see you there!

Monday June 13th: Phelan Burgoyne Trio

We’re back on Monday with a very special trio, lead by a fantastic young drummer and composer – the Phelan Burgoyne Trio!


Phelan Burgoyne Trio:

Phelan Burgoyne – drums / compositions

Martin Speake – alto sax

Rob Luft – guitar

The Phelan Burgoyne Trio is a close-knit improvising unit consisting of exiting young drummer and composer Phelan Burgoyne, British Jazz legend saxophonist Martin Speake and fearless young guitarist Rob Luft. The trio primarily play Burgoyne’s own evocative compositions, but also specialise in free improvisation as well as their own take on a songs by the late great Paul Motian. Expect strong melodies, visceral grooves and mediative improvisations.

As ever, doors 8:30, music from 9 – entry £10 / 5.

We hope to see you there!

ps. Please note our friends at the Con Cellar Bar have their monthly night tomorrow – June 10th – with a pretty splendid line-up of Brass Mask + Josephine Davies Trio… Click the link for more info.

Monday June 6th: Alex Haines solo + Crowley / Lasserson / Scott

Delighted to be back after a week away, and kicking of a packed June programme we have a very special double bill!


Alex Haines – solo guitar

A rising star on London’s jazz scene, guitarist and composer Alex Haines released his debut EP ‘Outlanders’ last year and makes beautiful, plaintive music with patience and space quite uncommon in many young musicians. As well as the recorded trio with Alex Munk and Nick Jurd, Alex also has an expanded band with horns and drums and this new solo project – this will be only the second gig, so we can’t wait to hear what he has in store!


George Crowley – sax

Sam Lasserson – bass

Jon Scott – drums

Two thirds of Can of Worms (AKA Tin of Leaches / The Lasserson Wedding Band) unite for a spirited romp through some Crowley originals and some choice tunes.

As ever, doors 8:30, music from 9; entry £10 / 5.

We hope to see you there!

Monday May 30th: NO GIG

Just a reminder that we have no gig at The Oxford this week due to the bank holiday – we’ll be back to business as usual next Monday, June 6th, with a solo guitar set from Alex Haines, plus a trio set from Crowley / Lasserson / Scott.

See you then!