Picnic at the Palace with Tom Seals - London
An exclusive festival experience overlooking a beautiful lake in the grounds of Blenheim Palace, with live music and delicious food.
Tom Seals, one of ASW's jazz favourites, will be headlining! His first single "Coffee" was released on Saturday, August 1st and is currently No. 1 in the iTunes blues chart.
Available to listen here: Tom Seals "Coffee" on Spotify
Tickets can be purchased by following the link below:
3 members and guests attending
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Fresh from his sold-out gig at Ronnie Scott’s, and live appearances in Las Vegas & Japan, Tom Seals, “quite possibly the future of Jazz/Blues and Pop”, literally has the world at his fingertips. His virtuoso solo-ing, excellent improvisation skills, as well as a distinctive voice have left top industry officials hailing him as one of the UK’s finest Blues/Boogie-Woogie piano/vocalists.
Tom has worked with and supported established artists such as Jools Holland, Jamie Cullum, Gregory Porter, Mo Pleasure, Dame Cleo Laine, Cerys Matthews, DJ Trevor Nelson,
With recent performances playing ‘four hands’ with legendary pianist Mo Pleasure at the Steinway2 Festival and appearing with Jools Holland at his recent Boogie Woogie and Blues Spectacular, it is perhaps no surprise that Seals coveted main stage show at Ronnie Scott's sold out 2 months prior to the show. Recently described as “Jamie Cullum in the making. Jools Holland on speed”*, Seals performed everything from classic boogie-woogie to jazz and blues.
"And what a thrilling entrance he made as he entertained a sold-out house with his breath-taking mastery of the piano, cool vocals and big juicy doses of wit – all intertwined with lots of self-deprecation and musical improvisation. Boogie-Woogie on acid. What makes him special is his inclusiveness and warmth – his ability to connect to an audience. Nigel Kennedy like. His performance, quite rightly, received a standing ovation."
You can follow Tom Seals here:
Now that outdoor gigs are allowed again, going to one felt strangely clandestine. Would Blenheim Palace be transformed into a kind of outdoor speakeasy? The audience was carefully grouped in deckchairs around tables, like islands on the grass outside the palace. The breeze carried the music over the decorative pergolas down to the distant lake.
After several months of not gigging, the Tom Seals Band opened like a horse straight out of the starting gate, full of pent up energy. British singer-pianist Seals is still in his 20s and had the relaxed confidence of someone who’s been playing constantly since the age of 13. The band plunged straight into their jazz-soul set with a shuffle version of Charles’ Hallelujah I Love Her So. Seals grew up listening to his grandfather’s big band, and he sang with a great sense of swing, his voice as rhythmic as a drumkit. Neatly-placed tenor notes (Harry Green) enhanced the sweet intensity of the voice. Just the Two of Us burst into superb piano gestures and a powerful backbeat (Joel Barford on drums), very Winelight-era Grover Washington. The voice had soul phrasing but a timbre with a gritty hint of contemporary singers like Lewis Capaldi and CeeLo Green. Seals moved between piano and Fender Rhodes sounds, and he used the latter to lay his solo right back into the groove. “Just the four of us, due to social distancing rules,” sang Seals- his bantering with the audience had a friendly Clare Teal-like ease.
A number of his songs were drawn from singer-pianists’ songbooks. The stomping feel of These are the Days (by Jamie Cullum) leaned heavily on Nick Bayes’ fine electric bass. Seal’s falsetto slides broke out into virtuosically-racing boogie piano and a roaring drum solo. John Cleary’s When You Get Back had a Steely Dan feel, with Harry Green doubling on guitar- some excellent funky single string riffs lifted the groove. Seal’s blues-based keyboard solo mined the blues, with Oscar Peterson-Esque flourishes. Three songs became one: a freely sung vocal/piano take on Joel’s New York State of Mind became the intro to A Song for You, some Donny Hathaway phrasing pulling the ballad into a taut rock feel, then Zelada’s The Blues Remain. (The illicit thrill of an audience singing along- safely- in public…)
Gregory Porter’s Hey Laura was gentler, over a restrained groove, Bayes’ nifty bass work jumping on certain beats. The mood was touching- Seals played his heart out. BB King’s Let the Good Times Roll saw sparks flying from the keys- Seals talked about how his hero Jools Holland had given advice on playing boogie-woogie. Alicia Keys is known for using her classical piano style in her songs, but Seals brought jazz to her If I Ain’t Got You, with slinky Fender Rhodes and a moody guitar solo from Green. More stonking boogie from Sweet Home Chicago got people dancing (at a distance) and left us wanting more. Seals has built up quite a following online during lockdown, but It was good to feel the shared experience of a gig again- with a band that’s so full of energy, skill and love of music.
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