Dave Gelly - Review of The Mirror

From the appropriately reflective title piece to the energetically eccentric 'Caliban's Dance', Andrea Vicari's album, The Mirror, is full of melodies. They fill every corner of the music, prominent in the solos or half-hidden in the leader-composer's piano accompaniment. This is a beautifully integrated quintet, with saxophonist Mornington Lockett and guitarist Elvis Staniç outstanding.

Dave Gelly (Jazz critic - The Observer)

Jazz Journal Review of The Mirror February 2017

All of the music here except track nine was commissioned for the Leasowes Bank Festival in Shropshire i 2007 and funded by Art Council West Midlands.

The opening Prosperity sets the scene for these original snappy compositions by Ms Vicari and has some crackling solos by Andrea and Mornington Lockett on tenor.

New Atlantis is a stately theme in which, again, the leader, Lockett and Stanic shine in solo. Croatian guitarist Stanic and Andrea Vicari had just teamed up for a Jazz Extempore UK project that had been very successful and decided to work together again on this recording.

Each track has something to offer and the music represents something more than just a thin theme to blow on. El Penguin has that strong Flamenco sound mixed into Blues that Miles Davis perfected many years ago with Blues For Pablo and Flamenco Sketches.

Andrea’s best solo is on the final Sixes and Sevens, a neat, flowing track. Mornington digs in on hard-edged tenor and brother Dorian keeps the bass line steady. The Leader’s sturdy lines and light, lyrical touch set the standard on this set and the entire quintet keep up the standard throughout.

Derek Ansell. Jazz Journal, February 2017

Andrea Vicari's Research Project on Women in Jazz


Andrea teaching at Trinity Laban Conservatoire
Photos | James Keates |
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"Vicari was wedded to the jazz church from an early age. “My father was a jazz pianist who played with the Second City Jazzmen in Birmingham. And my mother is a jazz fan and my brother plays drums. I think I must have been about six or seven when I started playing piano. We had a Kemble ‘Minx’ in the house which my dad played, so it was always around.”

Though Vicari had private and peripatetic lessons at various schools on the piano, she first rehearsed on the clarinet – “that only lasted a year”, and then briefly on the violin... “It was too difficult and not really suited to jazz. My school had what might be called an ‘encouraging’music department, but my real musical training didn’t start until I was in my mid-teens.” She continues. “When I was 15, I joined the Midlands Youth Jazz Orchestra and I stayed with them until I was 19.”

Vicari went on to study music at Cardiff University, focusing on composition. “At the time I went to college there weren’t really any jazz courses and so I opted for an academic degree. However, by the time I finished there was an established post-graduate jazz course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and so I applied to study there. I was accepted and awarded a scholarship for my fees.......etc
Andrea Vicari
Photo | Melody McLaren
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"more success for the international project JazzExtempore….an important international jazz unit with conspicuous access to the European jazz scene" JazzHr (Croatia)


"fabulous, fluid playing by all with Andrea’s sweet, choral vocal tone gelling the irregular bar lengths into a melodic melange."
Jeanie Barton, London Jazz News - October 2013

"Sari Gellen "Medina’s haunting vocals and violin performed in unison add an authenticity that takes this number beyond the jazz sphere and into a class of it’s own."
London Jazz News - October 2013

East & West "combining eastern folk elements with the west of a traditional and contemporary jazz sound" BBC R3 Jazz Line-Up

East and West "demonstrates (JazzExtemporé's) apparently never-ending scope for harmonic creativity and highly-focused improvisation"
The Musician Magazine

"Andrea Vicari's playing is a constant delight - intense, probing, and generating a seemingly endless succession of ideas"

"'s worth seeing her play" JJ Marshall, Oxford Times

"irresistibly catchy" The Observer

"Beautiful, Excellent !!!" Jens Jørn Gjedsted, Denmarks Radio

"an impressive, startling body of work." Mike Butler, Metro

"one of the most brilliant young jazz musicians in the UK - an outstanding pianist and superbly fertile composer"
Penguin Rough Guide to Jazz

"a sharp post-bop piano improviser and prolific composer - breathtakingly eclectic. The Guardian

"a brilliant young British talent"
Humphrey Lyttleton, BBC R2

"one of the very brightest stars in the jazz firmament" Ian Carr (biographer of Miles Davis and Keith Jarrett)

"the bright lucidity of Vicari's compositions bepeak a clarity of vision rare in so young a composer" The Times

"Andrea Vicari shares with Django Bates an irreverent wit and a wanton disregard for musical borders yet she can swing with the best of them" Neville Hadsley

"a jazz composer of formidable range...the variety of texture and colour is truly remarkable" Dave Gelly , Musician Magazine

"atmospheric and original" Time Out


Andrea Vicari

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Jazz ExTemporé "demonstrate their apparently never-ending scope for harmonic creativity and highly-focused improvisation" The Musician Magazine

East and WEST

Jazz ExTemporé “An important and enjoyable contribution to the new, emergent European jazz - full of confidence and creativity.” Dave Gelly - Observer Jazz Critic

Andrea Vicari
Jeanie Barton London JazzNews October 2013

Jazz ExTempore Orchestra -
East and West
- 33Records 33JAZZ235
An eclectic second CD of mainly instrumental music by The Jazz Extempore Orchestra(initially formed as a cultural exchange between Croatia and other European countries) East & West incorporates lyric-less vocalese by pianist Andrea Vicari (From the UK) as well as a song by guest singer and violinist Medina Mektiva from the UK and Azerbaijan. The superb ensemble of Elvis Staniç on guitars and accordion (from Croatia), Rico de Jeer on bass (from Holland/Indonesia) and Hristo Yotsov on drums (from Bulgaria) all contribute compositions.

Opening with Andrea’s funky, syncopated The Occidental Tourist, which although it is much more harmonically complex, brings to my mind, The All Seeing I’s “The Beat Goes On”, this album goes on to incorporate so many diverse musical and cultural influences, I almost do feel like a tourist! Things quickly develop a rock/swing facet with Elvis’ Breakout, featuring fabulous, fluid playing by all with Andrea’s sweet, choral vocal tone gelling the irregular bar lengths into a melodic melange.

Eastern flavours come to the fore with the Azeri folk song Sari Gelin; although arranged in 4/4 by Andrea this number sways as though in it’s original 6/8 – Medina’s haunting vocals and violin performed in unison add an authenticity that takes this number beyond the jazz sphere and into a class of it’s own. Track 5, Elf by bassist Rico (aptly performed in 5/4) maintains this delicate hue. It is a favourite of mine on this ever evolving album (which no one track is able to define) Elvis’ lap steel gives a country feel to the recording – somehow bringing the outdoors indoors.

The title track by drummer Hristo sets pulses racing while allowing space and swing to establish it’s self in sections of half time and even quarter time feel – Andrea and Elvis are equally matched in their dexterity with a duel-like head to head. There follow more compositions by each of the ensemble including Base My Life, a bubbly African sounding number by Andrea and another nod to traditional folk music, this time from Croatia with Ivan Klakar, about a fictitious character in folklore who survived a terrible storm at sea in a boat. The melody played on Elvis’ accordion lends the feel of a sleepy sea shanty to this track, again arranged in 4/4 as opposed to the original 3/4 making for more a contemporary interpretation.

With so many diverse numbers on one CD, this already acclaimed album seems to be bucking the more recent commercial critical preference for albums containing little or no variety of style. Personally, I like to hear a varied set both in live and recorded performance and immensely enjoyed the journey they took me on.

Robert Shore JazzWise Magazine September 2010
Jazz ExTempore Orchestra
Round Trip
- Croatia Records CD5861225

The ideal of 'music without frontiers" provides the philosophical underpinning for this cross-cultural experiment which began when Elvis Stanic, director of the Liburnia Jazz Festival in Croatia, invited fellow European jazzers from the UK (Andrea Vicari), Holland (Rico De Jeer) and Bulgaria (Hristo Yotsov) to join him in exploring traditional music from his home country, with each participant being encouraged to bring intuitions and insights from their own backgrounds to the table. Stanic's mellow 'Silent Voices' gets things underway, demonstrating both the composer's clear-toned guitar picking and generous accordion work. It's followed by the whirling gypsy-jazz dance of 'Se Jest On' and Vicari's pensive, abstracted 'Counting Minutes', the latter featuring some fine ensemble work and gaining an extra sonic dimension thanks to the addition of guest player Primoz Fleischman on sax. Elsewhere the likes of the traditional Croatian tune 'Ju Te San Se Zajubija' finds itself rubbing shoulders with geographically and rhythmically diverse jazz inspirations such as 'yotsov's 'Balkan Afro.'
Jazz UK magazine February/March 2008
A conventional-enough quintet of trumpet, saxophone and rhythm section, but it would be a great injustice to regard Andrea Vicari's new CD as a routine jazz exercise. For one thing, there are ten earcatching original pieces by the leader, ably interpreted by a fine band. For another, Andrea Vicari's own playing is a constant delight - intense, probing, and generating a seemingly endless succession of ideas. The stylistic contrast between Steve Waterman's trumpet and Pete Wareham's sax playing is also productive, with the former delivering strong, fluent solos in a predominantly hard-hop idiom, while the latter (as listeners to Acoustic Ladyland would expect) tends to explore the harmonic 'outside', as on the lively 'So Bigtime'. Then again, the very next track, 'Counting Minutes', is a gentle, reflective piece. This is primarily a vehicle for Andrea Vicari's thoughtful piano playing, but the track also provides a chance for bassist Dorian Lockett and drummer James Maddren to display their empathy with the leader's ideas. An absorbing CD - the sort you'll keep going back to. PM
Andy Robson JazzWise magazine December 2007
Mango Tango 33 Records 33.JAZZ163
Andrea Vicarl (Pt, Steve Waterman (t), Pete Wareham (sax), Dorian Lockett (b) James Maddren (d)

Vicari may have prioritised teaching and motherhood over recording of late, but her absence from the studios hasn't cramped her writing or jaunty piano style. She remains, at the least, one of the most optimistic of contemporary pianists, but her writing is also rich and allusive and pushing into darker areas than that initial gloss always suggests. And this is also one intriguing band: although Vicari has worked successfully with larger outfits, this quintet has the varied voices and built in paradoxes that also reflect her eclectic writing. So Wareham's neurotic bluster is understandably well to the fore on the driving 'So Big Time', but it also has to go into some unexpected ballad territory ('Counting Minutes', 'Bavarde'), and it counterpoises neatly with Waterman's more boppish, crystal clear attack, which is prominent on 'Le Flambeur'. The rhythm section too has a tasteful mix, with young gun Maddren mixing clatter and clash with subtler splashes of colour, while Vicari's long time bassman Lockett holds it all down with a confident aplomb. The only quibble is that with such horn men sparring away, we don't have enough of Vicari's own soloing, although she stretches out on 'Counting Minutes' and lays down the catchiest of rhythms to the Latin feel of 'Café Calypso'. But best of all is the madness of the title track which threatens to tip into big time rock but never quite loses its shape.
Chris Parker THE VORTEX  October 10 2007
Live review of CD launch Gig 10 October 2007

Andrea Vicari has probably played more frequently at the Vortex in recent years as part of the Foundation Big Band than as a leader, so it was gratifying to hear her (Wednesday, 10) leading a sparky, responsive band through two sets of the compositions that make up her new 33 Records album, Mango Tango.

She's been providing judiciously chosen aggregations of various sizes (previous bands have included the likes of Phil Robson, Mornington Lockett and her ever-present partner, Dorian Lockett) with cheerfully accessible yet skilfully written material since the early 1990s, but this set of originals is perhaps her most accomplished yet; on this occasion, with bassist Dorian Lockett and drummer James Maddren were a perfectly balanced and tellingly contrasting front-line pairing: trumpeter Quentin Collins and tenor player Ingrid Laubrock.

As a quintet, they were pleasingly informal but punchy and cohesive where required, whether they were playing latin-inflected pieces or relatively straightahead jazz, but it was the soloing of Laubrock – characteristically texturally adventurous, slow-building, imaginative – and Collins – all fire, pep and sassy confidence – that brought out the music's vigour. With Vicari's piano holding the whole together and occasionally decorating her pieces with absorbing solos full of subtle cross-rhythms and enlivened by the odd sparkling run, this was a thoroughly enjoyable evening's music from a considerable compositional and bandleading talent.
 Mike Butler METRO May 11 2007
Pianist Andrea Vicari sheds some light on the surreal inspirations behind her work

Of all contemporary British pianists, Andrea Vicari remains most committed to the notion that jazz should be fun, even at the highest level of technical expertise. The result is an impressive, startling body of work. Time signatures, for example, go beyond the conventional 4/4 without sounding the least bit contrived.'It's just that I often hear melodies in odd, different time signatures,' explains Vicari. 'I don't do it on purpose. There's one called Gaudi that's in seven and six and at first it's like:"Oh! What's going on?" But it's actually quite natural when you get used to it.'

Festival Dance (in the version on the superb Tryptych album) manages to be delicate and raucous at once, and contains some of Sebastian Rochford's best work on record. 'The solo sections are in 4/4, so I do give the soloists a bit of a reprieve. I don't find it particularly hard to play. It was just as I heard it.'

Perhaps the delight, the wistfulness and the madcap invention of Vicari's tunes come from their unlikely sources of inspiration.' Cafe Calypso was inspired by a very odd service station in France. It had four white grand pianos and all this rattan furniture. Very surreal. Very bizarre. The pianos were actually out of tune, because I tried a couple of them.' Who else in jazz raises frivolity to this level of the sublime ?

'There's one called Mango Tango, inspired by my daughter who drew a hotel with beautiful, very sunny colours. It was her homework at school. In the middle it almost goes into heavy rock. I love that kind of craziness, but I love the lyrical as well. It's about creating atmosphere within a piece of music.'

This delight in the surreal clearly extends to putting a band together. The frontline of the Andrea Vicari Quintet features Pete Wareham, the manic saxophonist from Acoustic Ladyland, and Steve Waterman, a warm, melodic trumpeter who excels at hard-bop.'He's really out there if he has to be,' informs Vicari. 'I think it will be a nice contrast. And they're very nice chaps, which is very important.'

The drummer is a second-year student at the Royal Academy Of Music called James Maddren. Vicari calls him 'absolutely phenomenal' and says that his name will be well-known shortly. The faithful Dorian Lockett, who played on Lunar Spell, Suburban Gorillas and Tryptych (that is,every album under Vicari's nameto date) completes the line-up on double-bass. Mike Butler METRO 11/05/07
Hot Jazz Warms up Funky Town  - IOW County Press 16/3/07

THE summery sound of saxophone maestro Mornington Lockett blew away the winter blues as he joined virtuoso jazz pianist Andrea Vicari for a night of top-flight music at the Ventnor Towers Hotel.
The weather may have been appalling outside but it did not deter Island jazz aficionados from enjoying a quartet of top-notch jazz artists, said organisers.

The unique appearance of the combo had a strong family feel to it. The band, which also comprised drummer Mike Bradley and Andrea's partner and Mornington's brother, Dorian Lockett, on bass, performed some steaming takes on the sometimes challenging Vicari compositions, mixed with some racy standards.

The Lockett brothers grew up on the Island and began their musical careers playing locally. Tenor sax legend Mornington, once famously described by Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher as "Jimi Hendrix on sax", will be performing with Bradley in the outfit, Sax Appeal, at the 1W Jazz Festival.

The Locketts' strong Island ties were enough to bring them back to Ventnor and is perhaps a reason why fans had travelled from as far afield as Portsmouth and Port Solent to watch them.
One of the highlights of the band's set was Vicari's humorous jazz take on Scotsmen in kilts. As her kilt rose, so did the intensity of the sound, to heavy jazz posthop crescendo.

Geri Ward, of 1W Jazz, said: "It was another in a series of great gigs in the rather funky little corner of the Island known as Ventnor.

"The audience was treated to a terrific encore of Chick Corea, which was delivered with such energy that Mornington and Andrea both nearly took off from the stage. "The full force of their international talent rose from the soul" JON MORENO Isle Of Wight County Press 16/3/07
'JAZZ UK March/April 2005
ANDREA VICARI Tryptych (33JAZZ099)
Pianist Vicari doesn't make it into Chilton's British Who's-Who but deserved to on the evidence of this well-crafted and uplifting set.
Combining with bassist Dorian Lockett and Seb Rochford (drums} she sets out on a programme of originals and standards, coming up trumps initially on 'Gaudi', Rochford's splashy shading adding to the colour of the piece. Vicari gives 'Bewitched' a fresh lick of paint, the theme harmonised, before she digs in and then does much the same with Cole Porter's 'l Love You'. This and her own 'Coming of Age' are highlights, the latter moving from Evans-like calm into a fevered sequence whose drive and momentum bring to mind the late Hampton Hawes at his best. Still, there's little need to overplay such comparisons since all these tracks offer ample testimony to Vicari's refreshing fusion of creativity and command. (PV) JAZZ UK
'The Observer' Sunday November 7, 2004
Andrea Vicari Tryptych (33 Records 33JAZZ 099)
Once you have heard Andrea Vicari, you could probably pick her out from a dozen of her contemporary pianists, mainly by the precision and clarity of her touch. She improvises such lucid lines and brightly voiced chords that you can't help following her train of thought. The programme here is roughly half-and-half standards and originals, and it says a lot for her composing that both come out sounding equally melodic. There is one particularly beautiful piece, called 'When Did the World Become Colour?' Some of the rhythm patterns set up with bassist Dorian Lockett and drummer Sebastian Rochford are irresistibly catchy, and the interplay among the three is hugely inventive. Dave Gelly