Portrait of the MJQ

Stacks Image 11

Nat Steele: vibraharp | Gabriel Latchin: piano | Dario Di Lecce: bass | Steve Brown: drums

For bookings please contact Nat Steele.
Stacks Image 32
"Portrait of the MJQ" was formed to pay homage to one of the most successful and influential jazz groups of the 20th century, the ‘Modern Jazz Quartet’, as it was otherwise known. In 2017 they recorded their debut album, which garnered significant critical success (BBC Music Magazine album of the month) and even made it into the top 10 in the jazz charts in Japan. For the past few years the band has been playing at sold out venues and festivals up and down the country, with the format proving to be a considerable hit with audiences and critics alike.

Joining him are the young pianist Gabriel Latchin (Christian McBride, Renée Fleming), Italian bassist Dario Di Lecce (George Garzone, Renato D'Aiello) and Steve Brown (Benny Golson, Scott Hamilton) on drums. The gigs feature tunes from the album, among them such stellar favourites such as ‘Django’, ‘Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise’, ‘Bags Groove’, and a complete performance of ‘La Ronde Suite’.
Creative brilliance
Peter Vacher, JazzWise Magazine (on 2020 MJQ Tour)
MJQ tour in 2020
2020 Tour - Sonny Rollins and the Modern Jazz Quartet
In February 2020 we did an extensive 17-date tour around the UK with New York tenor saxophonist Grant Stewart guesting in the role of Sonny Rollins as we paid tribute to the classic 1956 Prestige album "Sonny Rollins and the Modern Jazz Quartet". The tour was funded by Arts Council England, and we played to sold out crowds at every venue, to audiences as big as 250 at a time.

There was a preview article in JazzWise Magazine, a really nice writeup in JazzJournal, a nice piece by Martin Chilton on the LondonJazzNews blog, and a really extensive interview with me about the music, the process of putting the tour together, and future plans by Nick Lea over at JazzViews, and finally a review appeared in JazzWise by Peter Vacher - "Creative brilliance"

On the tour we played at Watermill Jazz Club Dorking, Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, Tower Theatre Folkestone Jazz Club, Royal Festival Hall Foyer at London South Bank, Steyning Jazz Club, Lincoln JazzPAC, played at Lincoln Cathedral for a Jazz Mass, Peggy’s Skylight Jazz Club in Nottingham, Severn Jazz in Worcester, Theatr Clwyd North Wales Jazz, Concorde Club in Eastleigh, Shepperton Jazz Club, a private house concert in Manchester, The Bear Club in Luton, the Cramphorn Theatre Chemlsford, The Oxford Tavern, and finished off at Fleet Jazz at the Harlington Theatre.
Portrait Of The MJQ’ is the debut album of vibraphonist Nat Steele, released at a sold out CD launch at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in Autumn 2017, with a swinging take on the music of the MJQ.

Reviews: *update*

The CD has received rave reviews in the press, including being “Jazz Choice of the Month” in the December 2017 issue of BBC Music Magazine with a 5**** review and half page feature, and a 4**** from Dave Gelly in the Observer. It has also just been the subject of a half hour feature and interview with me on BBC Radio Ulster! There are also reviews in upcoming issues of Jazz Journal and Jazzwise, which will be posted as and when they are printed. Please let me know if you see any elsewhere! See below for quotes and direct links to the reviews.

“Compelling.” Ian Mann (TheJazzMann)
“Sheer delight.” Peter Vacher (Jazzwise)
“Vibrant.” - Bruce Lindsay (JazzJournal)
“A refreshing treat for the ears.” - Rebecca Franks (BBC Music Magazine) - 5 star review and “Jazz Choice” of the month for Dec 2017 issue!
“Vital intensity…” - Dave Gelly (Observer)
“Effervescence … captured to perfection.” - Euan Dixon (JazzViews)
“Honours the MJQ with poise.” - Adrian Pallant (AP Reviews)
“A great debut album.” - Tim Rolfe (Sandy Brown Jazz)
“A pleasant surprise.” - Lance Liddle (Bebop Spoken Here)
“Pays homage to the MJQ… extremely well.” Charlie Anderson (Sussex Jazz Magazine)
Remembering the MJQ - Jazz Club (BBC Radio Ulster)

Soundcloud Player

OK, I am now officially a fan!
Joe Locke (on Nat Steele)
Nat Steele… a remarkable young vibraphonist in the Milt Jackson tradition.
Dave Gelly (Observer)
You can buy a copy using the PayPal button on the right - it is not necessary to have a PayPal account. Postage is included in the price.

Select the destination and press “Buy Now”.
Select destination:
The MJQ gained attention for bringing jazz out of the club and into the concert hall in the 1950s, and for being an early pioneer of the “third stream” fusion, combining classical compositional techniques with jazz improvisation. It featured the contrasting talents of its musical director and pianist, John Lewis, who played with an understated control, with the fiery, boppish stylings of vibes pioneer Milt Jackson.
Stacks Image 52
Since his arrival on the scene, Nat Steele has quickly gained a reputation as a talented musician to watch out for, described by Clark Tracey as "one of the best vibes players this country has ever produced." Following in the style of Milt Jackson and Cal Tjader, Nat takes a two mallet approach to improvisation, focusing on melodic interpretation and a great swing feel.

Pianist Gabriel Latchin is constantly in demand as a side man. Most recently he’s gained attention for his role in performing with Christian McBride and Renee Fleming at Wigmore Hall. He has worked with Ronnie Cuber, former Jazz Messenger Jean Toussaint, Alex Garnett, The London Jazz Orchestra and The Royal Scottish National Orchestra. He has performed at concert halls, clubs and festivals around the UK and Europe, including The Barbican, The Queen's Hall, The London Jazz Festival, The Jazz Bar and in Holland and Monaco.
Double bassist Dario di Lecce was raised in Bari, Italy, where he began studying double bass with Maestro Giorgio Vendola. He’s studied with Lee Konitz, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Kenny Barron, Dado Moroni, Eddie Gomez, Buster Williams. He has performed in Italy, UK, Netherlands, France, Slovenia and the United States, and in 2012 he moved to London where he is currently working with some of the most important musicians the British jazz scene.

Multi award-winning drummer Steve Brown moved from his home town of Manchester to London in 1996 and immediately became first call sideman with many of the capital's finest musicians, including engagements with Harry 'Sweets' Edison and Conte Candoli. He’s a member of Scott Hamilton’s quartet and appears on Concorde and other major labels. Between engagements with Scott Hamilton, Steve performs and records with a wide variety of artists including Benny Golson, Benny Green, Carl Fontana, Barry Harris, Junior Mance, Charles McPherson, John Bunch and Hod O'Brien.

For bookings please contact Nat Steele.