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Biography of Jazzhearts

Dynamic Australian saxophonist/flautist Louise Eliott leads this contemporary London jazz ensemble in an "African-inspired jazz explosion". Since her arrival in London from Sydney she has worked with a distinguished selection of African and South American musicians, including the Grand Union Orchestra, Mervyn Africa and the late Clifford Jarvis and his Prophets of Jazz.

She regularly performs with British jazz guitarist Deirdre Cartwright and has featured on recordings by Annie Whitehead, Jah Wobble & Deidre Cartwright. Her music reflects the diversity of these influences and has been referred to in the Guardian as "her profoundly diverse smorgasbord of funk, blues and rock".

The Jazzhearts current line-up also features outstanding South African pianist Mervyn Africa, the fiery trumpet of fellow South African, Claude Deppa, Chris Thorn (guitar), Mark Bassey (trombone) and the driving rhythm section of Richard Ajileye (congas/percussion), Steve Lamb (bass) and Greg Leppard (drums).

The Jazzhearts and much of the music contained on "The Way it Feels" have developed during the time Louise Elliott has spent in London since arriving here from Australia in the 1980's. London is a city which offers unparalleled opportunities for musical cross-fertilization of ideas and culture. One of the most vibrant aspects of the London music scene has undoubtedly been the presence of the South Africans. Musicians such as Dudu Pukwana, Louis Moholo, Brian Abrahams and indeed Mervyn Africa and Claude Deppa have enriched the London jazz community with their unique interpretation of the jazz tradition. They possess an approach to playing which gives the music a live and spontaneous quality. It is music that speaks from the heart to the heart.

This influence can be heard in many of the pieces presented on this album; in Annie Whitehead's haunting. "See you Dudu" and more indirectly in some of Louise Elliott's own tunes. By contrast "Tierra Roja" displays a definite Latin feel while "Hello Ornette" is something at once free and funky. "The Way it Feels" features some of the most outstanding jazz musicians in London today. The Jazzhearts line-up which appears on the album includes renowned British trombonist Annie Whitehead. Mervyn Africa, Annie Whitehead, Claude Deppa and Richard Ajileye are each well known as composers and band leaders in their own right. Add the driving rhythm section of Steve Lamb and Greg Leppard, the bluesy guitar of Chris Thorn and you have a line-up of immense diversity and vitality.

Since forming in 1997 to appear at the Glastonbury Festival, the Jazzhearts have toured extensively throughout the UK performing at major music festivals such as the Hull Jazz on the Waterfront Festival, Norwich Jazz Festival, Marlborough International Jazz Festival and Cheltenham International Festival of Music as well many renowned jazz clubs such as Pizza Express (Soho), Wavendon Stables and most recently six sell-out performances at London's Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club supporting the Yellowjackets as part of the programme for the 2002 London Jazz Festival.

The "The Way it Feels" CD, recorded live at Ronnie Scott's, was acclaimed by jazzreview.com as being "what contemporary jazz with world influences is all about in the year 2001". The group have again been touring in the UK throughout 2002/03 with the support of the Arts Council of England through the National Touring Programme and the PRS Foundation.


"maintained a consistent peak throughout their two hour session, making an immediate leap towards a tightly-bonded energetic brashness" THE BIRMINGHAM POST
"African inspired jazz explosion" TNT MAGAZINE
"profoundly diverse smorgasbord of funk, blues and rock" THE GUARDIAN
" a powerful player in the King Curtis mould" LEICESTER MERCURY "This was no ordinary jazz concert! The blend of African township music, blues, rock, Latin rhythms & minor-key themes aimed for the heart. Joy and anger, gospel sounds, harmony and dissonance, shouts for freedom, all were discernible in the music" COVENTRY EVENING TELEGRAPH
"...much of the atmospheric intelligence of Abdullah Ibrahim's though Mervyn Africa's performances have an exuberant energy not always present in the older pianist's more stately manner." THE GUARDIAN "Supergroup" THE TIMES
"what contemporary jazz with world influences is all about in the year 2001" JAZZREVIEW.COM
"bristles with inventive jazz" JAZZ JOURNAL
"Bask in the joy of the African sound" METRO
"Impress yourself with the Afro-Latin sizzler Tiera Roja, an Elliott original, sway to the gentle flute-led Flute in Eleven and just try not dancing to Rise and Shine" THE TIMES
"proudly wears her jazzheart on her sleeve" JAZZ REVIEW
"Township warmth on a cold night" NOTTINGHAM EVENING POST
"set up a steaming groove over which Elliott and Deppa shoot out repeatedly heated solos. Mervyn Africa and trombonist Mark Bassey were particularly wired for passion, by turn flaying the keys into vigorous note-cascades and rasping with an agile sliding grace." THE BIRMINGHAM POST
"locks into a swinging township groove, and launches Deppa into the stratosphere" JAZZ REVIEW
"Terrific and skillful blend of global influences" COVENTRY EVENING TELEGRAPH
"if somebody came up to me on a street corner and whispered, "Could you explain jazz to me in a manner which I could understand?" then I would turn and say, listen to a new CD by Louise Elliott titled THE WAY IT FEELS
and you will have your answer!" JAZZ REVIEW.COM
"she is hugely impressive on tenor sax, while her agile flute best captures the volatility and sheer joy of South African music. The bands latest album, The Way it Feels, captures the exuberance of a live show, authentically preserving the glorious Afro-jazz style." METRO
"Great sounds, great performances, great harmony, this CD has it all." JAZZ REVIEW.COM
"one of the most exciting and uplifting performances I have heard in a long time" OZZYJAZZ.COM
"My feet are still tapping twenty four hours later." EUROCLUBDEJAZZ.COM
"This is a terrific band so buy the CD while you wait for a return visit" COVENTRY EVENING TELEGRAPH

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