Jazz Night – Poetry and Jazz Layer Cake

Friday 29th December 2017 at 8pm.  Venue and bar open at 7.15pm.


Poetry and Jazz Layer Cake.

Featuring the writer John Harvey and the John Lake Band

• Award winning crime novelist and poet John Harvey in a poetry and jazz performance
• Brighton based band led by John Lake playing his original modern and melodic jazz-groove compositions
• Latest CD Wave of Translation launched to a capacity audience at the Verdict Jazz Cafe Brighton in March 2016


Novelist, poet, dramatist and, for twenty years, editor and publisher of Slow Dancer Press, John Harvey was the recipient, in 2007, of the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger for Sustained Excellence in Crime Writing.The first of his Charlie Resnick series, Lonely Hearts, was named by The Times as one of the 100 most notable crime novels of the last century. He has been awarded Honorary Doctorates by the Universities of both Nottingham and Hertfordshire. He reads his work regularly with the band Blue Territory – most recently at Derby Book Festival and on a mini-tour of Nottinghamshire Libraries – and wrote and presented a programme about the relationship between jazz and poetry for BBC Radio 4.

The John Lake Band has worked with John Harvey previously, at the Green Door Store, Brighton and Shoreham WordFest in 2014, using material from the writer’s published poetry Out of Silence, Bluer Than This and Ghosts of a Chance. This event will celebrate that writing, providing a layer cake of jazz with by a poetry “jam” in the middle – at times the two intermingling to form a mouth-watering combination.

“He sings the blues for people too bruised to carry the songs themselves.” New York Times Review of Books
“No one conveys better the lazy vibrancy of jazz, the urgency of a shared pulse.” Rosie Johnston, London Grip
“From the heart… as well as the hip.” Simon Armitage http://mellotone.co.uk/


Sussex born musician and jazz composer, John Lake has pursued a passionate interest in performing, composing and studying music throughout the last 50 years focussing on jazz and poetry & jazz in performance. He has won a Brighton Lions Bursary for the 2017 Brighton Fringe Festival. He and his band have worked with many poets including Lee Harwood, Rommi Smith, Anjan Saha, Kadija George, Lucien Zell, Leah Fritz and the
award-winning US writer Franklin Reeve https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F. D. Reeve on several occasions. They performed the “Blue Cat Walks the Earth” on a UK tour in 2009 with a final night spotlight at the Ledbury Poetry Festival. He now lives in Brighton, performing regularly at the Grand Hotel, Brighton, the Verdict Jazz cafe and other venues in the South East region.


John Lake’s compositions often draw on observations and experiences during his life including his passion for the South Downs (Up on the Downs); the team GB’s first gold win in the 2012 Olympics (Clear Water); a visit to Cuba (Cubanicity); and homages to jazz heroes such as Dave Brubeck, Thelonius Monk and Abdullah Ibrahim. He also re-invents pieces of classical music into a jazz setting including music by Frederic Chopin, J.S. Bach and Isaac Albeniz.

The 2016 album Wave of Translation features strongly melodic original tunes and themes supported by complex rhythms and high quality sound recording mixed and mastered by the Brit Award winning and Grammy nominated producer, James McMillan (Quiet Money Studios, Hastings) whose recording of Liane Carroll’s Seaside won the British Jazz New CD Award in 2015.


The John Lake Trio was established in 2012 when they recorded their first album Up on the Downs, launching the album at the Verdict Jazz Cafe in Brighton (in the Guardian’s top ten jazz venues in Europe in 2016) and playing the Brighton Fringe Festival in 2013 and 2014, Rays’ Jazz Cafe in London and in Odense Bibliothek, Denmark as high points during their first three years.