Gig Review:
Burton Bradstock - All Upon A Lovely Summer's Day Album Launch,
at The Pizza Express Jazz Club Soho, London W1, Tuesday 30th October 2012

Burton Bradstock - All Upon A Lovely Summer's Day Album Launch

with Support from


Pizza Express Jazz Club Soho
10 Dean St., London W1D 3RW
Tuesday 30th October 2012, 8.30pm


Burton Bradstock :

Burton Bradstock - vocals
Dorian Ford - piano
Rob Updegraff - guitar
Julian Bury - bass
Tim Giles - drums

Lynia :

Nia Lynn - vocals, guitar
Katie Butler - flute, viola
Laura Metcalfe - violin
Luke Ritchie - guitar

Date of Review: 2012/10/31

All illustrations by and © Alban Low

Image of Burton Bradstock
Burton Bradstock
Img of Nia Lynn
Nia Lynn, Support Band Lynia
Burton Bradstock - All Upon A Lovely Summer's Day Album Launch,
at The Pizza Express Jazz Club Soho, London W1, Tuesday 30th October 2012

The slightly more than month-long F-IRE Festival, presented primarily at the Pizza Express Jazz Club, had come up with some special gigs right from the start. However, the penultimate presentation, the Burton Bradstock - All Upon A Lovely Summer's Day Album Launch proved something more than a bit extra-special, in fact it turned out to be one of if not the most exciting, original jazz gigs of the year. So if you didn't attend this, you may wish to start kicking yourself, hard, now.

From the time doors opened, the Pizza started rapidly filling pretty much to the rafters, with a free CD of Burton Bradstock's amazing All Upon A Lovely Summer's Day provided with every seat. The atmosphere was almost palpably special, too, from even well before the music started. One could sense that something special, and different, was in the air.

Extra special, original, different things certainly turned out to be right from the start with opening band Lynia. I'm rarely given to comment upon support acts, but in the case of Lynia this is practically unavoidable and certainly more than well deserved. Based around singer-songwriter Nia Lynn, they are principally folk-influenced, and there's more than a whiff of Joni Mitchell, wholesome touches of blues, hints of Fairport Convention, and more.

Lynia, quite frankly, astounded and delighted. Ms. Lynn's voice came almost as a shock with its incredible versatility, power, expressiveness and warmth. Her guitar was fluid and dexterous, too. Two superb fiddlers, Katie Butler and Laura Metcalfe on viola and violin, and excellent guitarist Luke Ritchie, made for the perfect combination.


All songs but one were Lynn originals, and exquisite ones they were too, with superb lyrics, excellent harmonies - indeed, nothing to fault them. And a performance to match, full of passion, fun and pathos.

The Pizza crowd were suitably appreciative and impressed. A delight in itself to see Lynia so well received.

Lynia were simply exquisite. They deserve far better than just opening someone else's gig, and I fervently hope to hear much more of them. Indeed, Lynia are outrageously stunning. One wonders what the full band with banjos, full backing vocals and more sounds like!

Img of Nia Lynn
The stunning Nia Lynn, of support band Lynia

The irrepressible man of jazz and folk, Burton Bradstock - a sensation!

This very substantial and delectable 'starter' of Lynia was soon followed by the sensational 'main course' of Burton Bradstock. The band this Tuesday night featured Dorian Ford on piano, Rob Updegraff on guitar, Julian Bury on bass and Tim Giles on drums. Updegraff and Bury stood in for Pete Berryman and Riaan Vosloo respectively from the album, and a stunningly excellent job they did of it too!

Burton Bradstock is, of course, the very suitable alter ego of Jimmy Cannon, one of the most excellent male jazz singers/crooners that this land offers. For this project, he wanted to adopt an alternative identity, and he found it, as indeed I had already surmised, in the form of Burton Bradstock when he and his fiance happened to visit this attractive sea side village of that name near Lyme Regis in Dorset, on the English south coast. 'Burton Bradstock' somehow is a name that seems to have folk cred, in that it could well be the name of a folk singer or band. It sounds just right.

Img of Dorian Ford
Dorian Ford

And Bradstock himself sounded more than just right in the stunning performance that ensued. Bradstock breathed his own magical new life into the nine traditional English folk songs dating from the early to mid 19th century and one Pentangle original from the late 1960s, plus one original by album guitarist Pete Berryman, The Mermaid Of Hampstead Heath. A line from the lyrics of the latter lent the album its title. It also provided the inspiration for the exquisite painting by Ed Gray that furnished the cover.

Album cover, All Upon A Lovely Summer's Day
The cover by Ed Gray

Burton Bradstock - All Upon A Lovely Summer's Day Album Launch proved the most exciting, original, very different, extra-special gig of the year yet, I dare say. Bradstock always remained authentic and respectful to the tradition, while placing it into a jazz context. His superb voice was just perfect for this. But this was far more than a mere jazz-folk experiment. It was a very personal journey for Bradstock, seeking to combine the present and the past, a nostalgic longing, an exploration of distant memories. It was easy to follow Bradstock on this journey, this marvelous adventure, and moreover, it was a joy to do so.

Img of Rob Updegraff
Rob Updegraff

Unusually perhaps, Bradstock presented the songs in the same order as on the CD. This worked very well, especially for anyone already familiar with the album. (The vinyl LP version, which was also on offer, follows a slightly different order and leaves out Pentangle's Train Song. A glory in its own right, the LP will receive a separate review shortly. The much larger cover art is also an added attraction.)

Img of Julian Bury
Julian Bury

Making their own far from inconsiderable contributions to this outstanding performance were the rest of the band members of course. Dorian Ford shone with a frequently plinky-plonky kind of folk style that he combined with sophisticated, sometimes complex jazz harmonies - a breath-taking performance in itself and a class act.

Rob Updegraff distinguished himself with some very fine and versatile guitar work, often enhancing bluesier interpretations superbly. On the bass, Julian Bury provided more than merely a steady grounding and was excellent throughout. Drummer Tim Giles proved both sensitive and inventive, often showing superb restraint and imagination - watch out for him!

Img of Tim Giles
Tim Giles

The sophisticated contemporary harmonies and rhythms enhanced the old traditional material, much of it well known and much loved, rather than detracting from it in the slightest. The songs themselves offered just the right balance between the humorous and the tragic, poignant, sometimes full of subtle innuendo. Bradstock, an experienced performer of The Great American Songbook, has conjured up a uniquely Great English Songbook, as it were. His love of and enthusiasm for both this traditional material and jazz are totally infectious and irresistible.

This outstanding performance must have pleased both jazzers and folkies alike, and certainly enthralled and enchanted the Pizza audience without end. The Burton Bradstock - All Upon A Lovely Summer's Day Album Launch was an unqualified success and an experience not to be forgotten.

N.B. - A big thank you to artist Alban Low for the use of his brilliant illustrations of the gig and all his hard work in preparing them. To find out more about Alban Low's work and to see more examples of his exquisite art and to get a catalogue of posters, please visit his web site.

You can find out more about Ed Gray's marvelous art on his web site and on flickr.

© 2012 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.

N.B. 2 - If you missed out on Burton Bradstock - All Upon A Lovely Summer's Day Album Launch, you have another chance to catch the amazing Burton Bradstock with the same line-up at The Forge Venue in Camden Town, London NW1, on Saturday 1st December. Or you may simply wish to repeat this extraordinary experience! But book soon!

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