SPICEJAZZ promoter Paul Pace has been presenting live jazz at the Spice of Life pub since 1998. The basement bar of this centrally located Soho pub with a capacity of 100 people has an intimacy and atmosphere evoking the world’s best jazz clubs. Paul and his team ( Jackie, Ben and Matthew) present a varied weekly jazz programme on Wednesday and Thursday nights and occasionally on Sunday lunchtimes.
Wednesday nights have a vocal emphasis, typically a ‘name’ guest vocalist backed by a piano trio performs in the main set (45 mins) during the middle of the evening. Featured guests have included such stellar singers as Anita Wardell, Jamie Cullum, Lee Gibson, Rachael Calladine, Victoria Newton, Joe Stilgoe, Craig Schneider, Anton Browne, Iain Mackenzie, Pete Churchill, Nina Ferro, Cecilia Stalin, Frank Holder, TJ Johnson, James Hunter, the Puppini Sisters, Barbara Jay, Marlene VerPlanck, Daryl Sherman, Malene Mortensen, Nia Lynn and Natalie Williams.
Preceding the main set is a 40 minute set where the band ‘warms up the room” with an instrumental or two, Paul usually sings a couple of songs and perhaps within this first set there will be a ‘mini-set’ where an up and coming performer will be showcased.
Following the main set is typically an open-mic session on nights when the Barry Green Trio are playing (10:15 – 11:00pm) who generally appear on the first Wednesday of the month. It is advisable for those wishing to ‘sit-in’ to contact Paul in advance on <email@example.com> or through <www.spicejazz.co.uk> or tel/text: 07870 915682. Audience pre-bookings for all the ‘SPICEJAZZ’ gigs can be effected similarly.
Thursday nights are ‘band nights’ and have featured jazz in its broadest sense from the straight-ahead swing of the Alan Barnes Quartet, via the guitar virtuosity of Jim Mullen, Carl Orr, Deirdre Cartwright, Cameron Pierre and Andrea Quintarelli, the high energy of the Gareth Lockrane Septet, established and rising stars of the scene such as vibists Jim Hart and Lewis Wright, trombonists Trevor Mires and Tom White and saxophonists Soweto Kinch and Brandon Allen, trumpeters Steve Fishwick and Quentin Collins, pianists Geoff Eales and Rick Simpson, bassists Gary Crosby and Jeremy Brown, drummers Winston Clifford and Jon Scott through to the freer outreaches of the music with the improvising titan Evan Parker. Other jazz influenced genres generously represented have been fusion, jazz-rock, funk and afro-beat represented by the likes of MTHeadz, Jazz Proof and Seeds of Creation.
The Rico Reeds Jam hosted by saxophonist and Rico endorsee Matt Telfer occupies the first Thursday of each month where the core band play an hour set and then open out the evening to the floor. Special guests have included US sax master Jim Snidero and the highly regarded alto player Geoff Simkins.
The third Thursday of the month is curated by the young multi-genre Chaos Collective comprising a multitude of projects presented by a core of students from the Trinity Laban jazz course and headed by trumpeter Laura Jurd, pianist Elliot Galvin and drummer Corrie Dick.
Spicejazz has also garnered a reputation as a home for a thriving big band scene and has often been the venue of choice for many large ensembles where they can develop their material in a sympathetic space and an appreciative audience before moving onto the touring circuit. The Gareth Lockrane Big Band, Tom Richards Jazz Orchestra, Matt Roberts Big Band, Beats & Pieces Big Band, London City Big Bandand Stan Sulzmann Big Band played their early gigs at the Spice.
There is usually a big band is presented on at least one Thursday evening and one Sunday lunchtime per month.
PS. Paul is also part of the music team at Ronnie Scott’s. In 2008 he was awarded The All-Party Parliamentary Jazz Award for Services to Jazz for his unflagging and passionate promotion of the music within the live sector and record retail.