BIG NEWS. The Jay Rayner Quartet releases its first live recording.

A Night of Food and Agony will be available from 8 September, 2017.


I’m delighted to announce that, after five years of playing our way around festivals and clubs, everywhere from Bath to Ronnie Scott’s, from Pizza Express Dean Street to Cockermouth in Cumbria, making filthy jokes and getting away with most of them, the Jay Rayner Quartet is to release its first live album (a follow up to a slim EP we’ve been selling at gigs over the summer). You can listen to the first track of the album here courtesy of the page for the EP.

A Night of Food and Agony, recorded at the glorious Crazy Coqs inside London’s Brasserie Zedel captures the atmosphere of our live gigs as I examine the relationship between jazz and two key themes in my life: food and drink, and growing up with my mother Claire Rayner, the renowned agony aunt and sex advice columnist. After all, the lyrics to so many songs sound like letters to an agony aunt. Accordingly, the stories I tell between songs are sharp, and not entirely clean. Or, as Times Jazz critic Clive Davis said in a review of our show, I am ‘the perfect communicator. Sidling up to his audience with a ragbag of jokes and family anecdotes, not to mention an imaginative repertoire’. Apparently I convey ‘the sheer joy of playing and exploring the music’ I love.

It was in The Times; it must be true.

I’m accompanied on bass by Robert Rickenberg, a brilliantly 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 who has played with the likes of Lamont Dozier, Bryan Ferry and Eric Clapton, and leads his own thrilling jazz groove outfit, 1Up.

But what completes the show is the compelling vocal performance from Pat Gordon-Smith, who gets right inside every lyric. In addition, there’s a chemistry between us which isn’t surprising given we’ve been married to each other for 25 years. This isn’t mere nepotism; it’s good fortune. In short I sleep with the singer. Unless she chucks me out for snoring. Pat has been singing longer than I’ve been playing, and trained with the legendary jazz singer Liane Carroll.

Our set lists switch 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!

The album will be available both as CD and on all download formats.

See the next announcement on my blog for details of our big album launch gig.


JR Quintet – Jay Rayner, Pat Gordon-Smith, Robert Rickenberg and Dave Lewis

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