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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ryan Quigley Sextet @ The Corner House

Ryan Quigley (tpt/flug), Paul Towndrow (alt), Paul Booth (ten), Steve Hamilton (pno), Mario Caribe (bs), Alyn Cosker (dms).
Not for the fainthearted! This was adrenaline pumping, yet accessible, mind blowing stuff. Six guys shooting from the hip and taking no prisoners. It was loud, possibly the loudest non-electric, six-piece band I've ever heard. Think Art Blakey, double it and then add some.
Leader Quigley is one helluva trumpet-player with a big fat Clifford Brown sound and a range capable of reaching into the stratosphere to maybe Jupiter on a clear night.
On tenor it was a welcome return to the region by local boy made good, international tenor star, Paul Booth. I'm pleased to be able to claim a small part in his success - I sold him his first sax 22 years ago and the rest is history. Part of that history was at the Black Bull, Blaydon where Paul played some of his early gigs with our man Roly Veitch.
Another fine saxist, also called Paul (Towndrow), blew some wild alto solos although possibly the wildest man of them all was drummer Alyn Cosker who could and did switch from swing to free to rock to Latin to a multitude of other rhythms and back again without missing a beat - although I guess the audience's hearts missed a few. During Alyn's final drum blast the frontline blew a riff from, I think, Louis Bellson's "Skindeep" - very appropriate.
Steve Hamilton, playing a 'real' piano excelled throughout and Brazilian bassist, Caribe, supplied a strong harmonic foundation.
The music itself varied from ultra-modern hardbop to free with some compelling group improvisation; imagine the Don Ellis Band, on a 'trip', playing Modal Dixieland and you've maybe got the picture. Supremo Extremo!
If there has to be a criticism an extra ballad wouldn't have gone amiss - Roly agreed and Roly knows a thing or two about ballads.
However, it didn't detract from an evening that kicked from start to finish - my pulse is still racing!


Hil said...

I thought "Laura MacDonald" from Glasgow was billed to appear alongside Paul?
Her Dad, Don (yes Donald MacDonald) worked with Mike(Gilby)in the Glasgow Locarno 38 yrs ago, he was a very good vocalist. I became great friends with her Mum and we have kept in regular touch over the years even after they moved to USA.
Laura was married to Tommy Smith until a few years ago.

Lance said...

You're right Hil, Laura was billed to play alto but no explanation was given as to why she wasn't there. I'm sure Russell or Adrian will be able to update us.

Roly said...

It was a pleasant surprise to see altoist Paul Towndrow on the gig though. I was fortunate enough to be on a private gig with Paul a few years back and was struck by what a great young player he was. Very 'Konitz/Pepper' in style at that time. Beautiful light tone. There has recently been quite a bit publicity about him eg. Jazz UK profile/European Jazz Orchestra chair etc. and clearly his playing has moved on a lot. Yet another of a whole bunch of fantastic Scottish musicians many of whom are equally at home with contemporary jazz and contemporary folk music. Great stuff!

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