Just East of Jazz
About the Band
A dominant presence on the UK jazz scene, Just East of Jazz continue to captivate audiences with their intimate live performances. Under the leadership of Jeremy Shoham, and building on extensive touring and three highly-acclaimed albums, the band has developed an instinctive empathy on stage and an organic creativity in composition and arrangement.
The band was formed in 1993 by bandleader/saxophonist Jeremy Shoham out of a desire to integrate jazz and East European-influenced melodies and rhythms. His Jewish upbringing and his many years on the London jazz circuit (most notably seven years with Roland Perrin’s Evidence) provided the formative influences for the early compositions played by the band.
Over the years, Jeremy’s writing & arranging has been enhanced with contributions from the many musicians who have appeared with the band. The idiosyncratic sound has moved on from the original concept – it’s not klezmer, but listeners will hear the yearning echo of the shtetl. It’s not Hungarian but it goes down a treat with goulash. In his compositions you’ll hear Shoham’s subconscious at work, drawing on his suburban teenage fascination with American jazz, and a performing career that has taken in Mecca ballrooms, Klezmer barmitzvah bands, and Balkan revivalists Dunav.
“The third album from this impressive quartet, coinciding with a current tour, [gives] a clear indication of why the group has become such a strong attraction in the clubs. This is a consistently compelling set, providing plenty of evidence of the band’s growth during its short career, and signs that it is establishing a distinct identity.”
Pete Martin Jazz UK
Just East of Jazz have performed all over Britain, with two major tours and gigs at over 70 venues, including London’s Purcell Room, Dartington Arts and Wakefield Jazz. A popular choice for festivals, the band has appeared at Brecon, Ealing, Birmingham, Canterbury and many others.
Their three cd’s, Feast (2002), Swerve (1999) and Just East of Jazz (1996), have drawn an ecstatic response from the UK national and jazz press, and are played regularly on JazzFM and BBC radio. All CDs are distributed by mactwo distribution, and are available from major record outlets.
The band draws on a flexible pool of musicians who bring a diverse range of influences to a broad repertoire. Their line-up includes Neil Angilley on piano and accordion who made such a dazzling debut with the band at the Union Chapel as part of the London International Jewish Music Festival – his numerous credits include US3, Snowboy, Down to the bone, Steve Martland, Vanessa-Mae and James Galway! Regular collaborator Rick Finlay (percussion) currently plays in the London production of Blood Brothers, and has worked with Sinead O’Connor, Liane Carroll and Jacqueline Dankworth. Phil Scragg (bass) has worked recently with Sigi Finkel, The Beautiful South, Billy Jenkins, Sax Appeal and Incantation (his mysterious past includes a period with Robert Plant ).
This quartet is sometimes supplemented with special guests on certain dates. Previous featured artists have included award-winning saxophonist Gilad Atzmon, John Donaldson (piano: Norma Winstone, freelance), Rob Townsend (saxes: Hungry Ants, Mark Lockheart’s Scratch Band, Hkippers), Roland Perrin (piano: Dudu Pukwana, Chris MacGregor, Blue Planet Orchestra), Kim Burton (piano: Roberto Pla, Working Nights), Paul Downing (bass: Cayenne, Mark Murphy, Martha Reeves). In the interests of “putting something back”, the band has led educational workshops on both their music and on the business of music for Jazz Services, Middlesex University and other organisations.
Various funding bodies have demonstrated their belief in the project over the years, and JEOJ are grateful to the Arts Council of England, the Musicians’ Union, Jazz Services and Jazz Action for their past support.