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Thursday, February 11, 2010

New release from Tommy Whittle.

Tubbs, Ronnie, Danny Moss may be gone but there are still a few Grandmasters left on the British tenor scene.
Don Rendell, of course, Vic Ash and a personal favourite - Tommy Whittle.
Tommy's two recent (ish) CDs on the Spotlite label have brought home to me just how wonderful a tenor player he still is. Now in his 80s he blows with the zest and enthusiasm of youth.
The tone is rounder and perhaps more related to, say, Lucky Thompson than the Getzian approach he once favoured yet the playing is as melodic and lyrical as ever.
On "The Tenor Connection" , rated in Jazz Journal's Critics Poll as no. 3 in the New Releases of 2009 section, Tommy pays tribute to some of his favourite tenor players - Lucky, Lester, Byas, Zoot...
With Mark Nightingale on trombone, Richard Busiakiewicz on piano (how much would Pee-wee Marquette demand to announce that name correctly at Birdland?) Jim Richardson, bass and Bobby Worth drums this is one of those discs that can stand, head held high, on either side of the Atlantic.
Listen to Tommy's wistful exploration of Lucky's A Lady's Vanity this is musical confection of the highest order. Likewise The Things We Did Last Summer his gentle exposition of the melody gets to the very heart of the song I almost believed I'd found an explanation for that 'sudden Summer rain' so convincing was his playing!
I'm already in danger of wearing it out.
PS: It is quite a while since Tommy was last at Blaydon and it would be lovely if Roly were to bring him back one more time but, needs must...
I note Tommy, along with Karen Sharp is at Boston Spa on March 27 which also happens to be the weekend of the Gateshead Sage Jazz Festival... How I'd love to have seen this coupling at the Festival but I guess it is not cutting edge enough for the Sage although Whittle and Sharp does sound a bit cutting edgy...

1 comment :

Liz said...

"I never could explain
that sudden summer rain..."
that is such a clever line, covering such a suggestive hidden agenda (at least that is how I have always read it!)

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