On the Eve of Black History Month we present:
Man of Words and Music – Shake Keane (Part II)
Jazz & Poetry with Philip Nanton (poet), Henry Lowther (trumpet), Dave Green (Bass)
On the eve of Black History Month the Vortex Jazz Club presents Man of Words & Music: Shake Keane (Part II), as we celebrate some of the great contributions by Caribbean musicians who came to the UK and left their creative mark in the UK jazz scape.
Philip Nanton the author of Riff – the Shake Keane Story, will read a selection of poetry by Keane with jazz veterans Henry Lowther (trumpet) and Dave Green (bass) providing the sound, rhythms and free improvisations: rolling two art forms into one. Keane was not only a trumpeter and flugel horn player, but also a published poet before he arrived in Britain in 1952. Undoubtedly his improvisatory skills on the trumpet and flugel horn were informed by his skills as a poet with his open-ness to experimentation, and vice versa.
Shake wanted his poems to reflect joy and delight. He felt that they should both entertain and reflect his poetic technique. For him pleasure in writing poems came from solving the problem of words. Often the words that he chose were laced with humour. Though he wrote throughout his life most of the poems that he published were written in two locations – St Vincent during his return there in the 1970s and in later life in New York. Both locations reflected difficult periods of his life but despite this his poetry always shone through. Jazz was also a strong influence in his poetry and could be seen in his use of the repeated phrase, fragmented texts and a lot of play with words. I will read a selection of his poems from his time when he returned to St Vincent in the 1970s and from his later period in New York. Philip Nanton
Poet and author Nanton has published widely in regional and metropolitan magazines and has performed his work at festivals in the Caribbean and internationally. He has published two collections of poetry ‘Island Voices from St Christopher & The Barracudas’ and ‘Canouan Suite & Other Pieces’, both with Papillote Press. Nanton’s biography of Shake Keane – Riff: The Shake Keane Story – was published by Papillote Press in January 2021. Some of his work is on his website www.philipnanton.com
Bandleader, composer and trumpeter Lowther has been a busy professional musician for over 50 years. He played at Woodstock in 1969 with Keef Hartley, was associated with the bands of John Dankworth, Gil Evans and George Russell. In 1967 he played on the now legendary Ken Wheeler album, Windmill Tilter. Lowther has a long history as a session player, a performer with classical ensembles including the London Philharmonic, and as a free improvising musician.
Dave Green is an English jazz bassist. His first public performances were with his childhood friend Charlie Watts in the late 1950s and much later was a founding memebr of the Charlie Watts Quintet. He performed with Humphrey Lyttelton from 1963 to 1983, and played with the Don Rendell–Ian Carr band in the early 1960s, then went on to play with Stan Tracey. In the early 1980s, he led his own group, Fingers, featuring Lol Coxhill, Bruce Turner and Michael Garrick. Green regularly backed visiting US stars at Ronnie Scott’s, including Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, Roland Kirk and Sonny Rollins.
Shake Keane’s Volcano Suite