“Got a definition for soul? No, me neither. But if you wanted to smell it, taste it, lick it off the walls, you could have done worse than catch the Mike Hobart Quintet warming up a chill night at the Vortex” – Andy Robson, Jazzwise
“Thirty years ago this might have been called acid jazz, and thirty years before that hard bop. But it doesn’t matter what you call it – the quality of the music is evidential.” – London Jazz News
“Hobart’s Quintet has all the funky oomph of bands like Led Bib and Get the Blessing whilst fully encompassing the old-school jazz virtues of melodic and harmonic development which those otherwise admirable bands tend to forego. Hobart’s crew shifts between moods and idioms with Mingusian ease …excellent compositions and exciting improvisations…” – Barry Witherden, Jazz Journal / BBC Music
“…fresh with surprises: the romantic melody of “Rosie”, or “Maces Paces” toying with a Maceo Parker riff before Adrian Reid’s keyboards move towards Head Hunters-era Herbie Hancock. Reid’s electric piano at the start of “Victory to the Underdog” provides the base for a wondrous extended dialogue between Lee and Hobart.” – David Honigmann, Financial Times
“meaty, beaty, big and bouncy” – Jez Nelson
“an intense distillation of the music they call jazz. Big music played with a passionate cool”. “The highlight of the night was Hobart’s composition ‘The Vista’. Hobart’s gruff tenor sax sound whipped the 12/8 groove into a storm” – Andy Robson & Jonathan Carvell, Jazzwise
“superb” – Chris Phillips
“Hobart himself plays a thrilling, sometimes raw-sounding sax, controlled and lyrical where needed, at others wild and echoing shades of R&B as he drives into the edges of the avant-garde” – John Harvey, Straight No Chaser
“awesome stuff” – Orphy Robinson
Mike Hobart (tenor) is a soulful saxophonist who has played with Esther Phillips and Maceo Parker. Self-taught with help from Evan Parker, his first inspirations were the flowing freedoms of Miles Davis’ 1960s quintet and the soul-soaked blues of Ray Charles, but a lot has happened since then. Evidential puts it all together, adds new beats and keeps it swinging hard. Mike is the Financial Times’ jazz critic.
Chris Lee (trumpet/flugelhorn) is a founder member of the 1980s punk-jazz band Pig Bag. His influences range from the mainstream to free improvisation – he joined the London Musicians Collective in 1986 – and his many sessions include work with The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl. He formed his own band Such Sweet Thunder in 1997.
Tal Janes (guitar) has recently graduated from the Royal academy of Music with an MA in jazz. He is already an in-demand sideman in some of the most exciting groups in London, imaginatively welding folk, West African and blues influences into his solid jazz core. He also leads his own Judeo/Jazz group Bahia
Michele Montolli (double bass and bass guitar), studied double bass at Verona Conservatory and Graz Universität für Musik before moving to London in 2010. His busy schedule stretches from clubs and festivals to world tours. Playing/composing credits range from Marshall Allen and Heidi Vogel to LA-based big band arranger Don Menza and work for the BBC.
Eric Ford (drums) is a founding member of the well-received band Partikel and a rising star of UK jazz. He’s played with US musicians including Bud Shank, Bobby Shew and Bill Watrous, and is in demand in the UK with the likes of Guy Barker, Jim Mullen, Nathaniel Facey and Jim Hart. Recordings include Marc Almond, Nicolas Meier and Martin Shaw.