This is a sponsored post.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know I’m obsessed with my music, and if you know me personally, you probably know there’s a special place in my heart for jazz. It’s the basis of the best gigs i’ve been to, the most special nights I can remember with my boyfriend, and the music that makes me feel most like myself.
So when Pizza Express contacted me with an invitation to one of their coveted live jazz events, I jumped at the chance to cover it on my blog – jazz and pizza?! What more could a girl want?
It may come as a surprise if you’re not aware that Pizza Express are pretty big on their jazz, and have been for a while. One of my absolute faves, Jamie Callum, was heavily integrated with them on his rise in the jazz scene and the late great Amy Winehouse also played on their stages. Safe to say I knew the music was going to be good when I joined them in Maidstone last week, where I went with a friend.
Trust me to head straight for the selfie mirror
Upon entering an intimate room with hues of pink and purple, we were greeted by the view of a grand piano, which is always certain to get my tummy tingling. Being a keyboard player is all well and good but I’m always itching to play a real piano! With prosecco and as much pizza as one can handle in an evening, we began exploring the venue.
I didn’t know how much you can actually get done in a pizza express. Dreamy pizza? Check. Live jazz? Check. Conference rooms with waitress service? Check, check. (And I’m not just talking a random room at the back either – top floor, high ceilings, art all over the walls and a mantelpiece, complete with ornate mirrors. Check.)
Beyond the gorgeous rooms and intricately detailed staircases (yes, I notice the detail of staircases), we spent the night getting lost in the voices of Liane Carroll and Gwyneth Herbert – 2 absolute queens who floored me with their presence. Gwyneth Herbert’s off-beat rhythms and distinctive technique had the whole crowd either singing, clapping along, or a moment away from tears throughout the performance. Truly something special happens when she takes the stage.
Gwyneth Herbert – atmospheric queen!
Liane Carroll was different – her voice was so soulful – a girl after my own heart! – and slightly more traditional. Her piano playing made you feel like you wanted to stay in that bar all night, watching her play, with a whiskey in hand. The incredible creativity in her songs was mindblowing, too – who ever thought you could mash up the sound of music with classic jazz tunes?
This was definitely a night to remember. Pizza Express have jazz nights all up and down the country, so whether you’re reading this in London or Birmingham, they’ve got you covered. I whole heartedly encourage you to go and discover what’s hiding upstairs in the evening of your local.
Thank you Pizza Express for having me at your beautiful event – and do get down to one of their nights near you, because in the words of Ray Brown, “Jazz is something you have to feel. Something you have to live”.