A Night Of Food And Agony Live At Zédel
by Jay Rayner
Masterchef judge, restaurant critic and jazz pianist Jay Rayner releases first live album
September 2017 sees the release of A Night Of Food And Agony, the debut album from The Jay Rayner Quartet, recorded ‘Live At Zedel’, the iconic venue in the heart of London’s West End.
Jay, voted the most influential food and drink journalist in Britain by his peers, is notorious for his acerbic wit as a critic both in print and on television. He is the author of ten books, fiction and non-fiction, appears regularly on TV – including on the soon-to-launch Tried and Tasted for Channel 4 – and presents The Kitchen Cabinet for BBC Radio 4. Alongside all this he has a career as a jazz pianist, performing with his quartet everywhere from the Bath International Festival and PizzaExpress Live in Soho to the world-famous Ronnie Scott’s.
A Night Of Food And Agony captures the atmosphere of the quartet’s live shows as Jay examines the relationship between jazz and two key themes in his life: food and drink; and growing up with mother Claire Rayner, the renowned agony aunt and sex advice columnist. As he says, ‘The lyrics to so many blues songs sound like letters to an agony aunt.’ Accordingly, the stories Jay tells between songs are sharp, hilarious and often utterly filthy. As Times jazz critic Clive Davis said in a review of their show, Jay is: ‘the perfect communicator. Sidling up to his audience with a ragbag of jokes and family anecdotes, not to mention an imaginative repertoire, he conveys the sheer joy of playing and exploring the music he loves.’
Jay is accompanied on bass by Robert Rickenberg, a formidably inventive player who rose to prominence with the Sheena Davis group and who has accompanied jazz greats such as Will Gaines and Mark Murphy, as well as pop diva Kylie Minogue. On sax is the highly-regarded Dave Lewis whose lyrical breaks power the groove in his own band, 1Up, and have seen him accompany the likes of Lamont Dozier, Bryan Ferry and Eric Clapton.
But what completes the show is the compelling vocal performance from the extraordinary Pat Gordon-Smith, who gets right inside every lyric. There’s a special chemistry between Pat and Jay too – which isn’t surprising given they’re married to each other. This isn’t mere nepotism; it’s good fortune. Pat has been singing longer than Jay has been playing, and has spent time training with the legendary jazz singer Liane Carroll.
Jay’s monologues provide delicious interludes between jazz classics and hidden gems; tracks include ‘Black Coffee’, Leonard Cohen’s ‘Dance Me To The End Of Love’ and a jazz arrangement of ‘Food Glorious Food’ from Lionel Bart’s musical Oliver! Like the perfect dish, the evening’s elements make a seamless whole underpinned by exquisite good taste. Through A Night of Food and Agony The Jay Rayner Quartet have created a fiery and enthralling live show, to be enjoyed by seasoned jazz fans, curious newcomers and discerning music lovers alike.
- It Must Be Jelly ('Cause Jam Don't Shake Like That) (06:19)
- Better Than Anything (05:22)
- After You've Gone (03:05)
- Black Coffee (05:12)
- Food Glorious Food (05:11)
- The Ladies Who Lunch (04:25)
- Blue Skies (03:15)
- Tenderly (05:56)
- Dance Me To The End Of Love (05:38)
- Get Me To The Church On Time (04:18)
- Hallelujah I Love Him So (04:20)