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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Alter Ego @ Splinter @ The Bridge. January 9th

Keith Robinson (alto sax), Niall Armstrong (tenor sax & flute), Dave Hignett (trumpet & flugelhorn), Andy Hawking (keyboards), Andy Champion (electric bass) & David Francis (drums).
The new season of Splinter gigs at the Bridge Hotel kicked off with the Blue Note to hard bop sound of Alter Ego. This was just the sort of session to blow away the cobwebs and encourage people to switch once more to gig-going mode.
The spirit of the Jazz Messengers is with the band from first note to last. Drummer David Francis drives the band Blakey style and the front line, led by altoist Keith Robinson, could easily be mistaken for Messengers' alumni. JJ Johnson's In Walked Horace and Miles' Compulsion featured in a varied first set with solo opportunities for all. The set's closing number - ETA - exemplified what this band is all about; tight, together ensemble work with one cracking solo after another.
The second set opened with Bingo (the tune, not the game. Now there's an idea - an interval raffle and a game of bingo). A couple of tunes by Bobby Shew (a visitor to the Corner House long ago) - Kiss Abyss and Dancing Bishop were right up Dave Hignett's street (trumpet?). A favourite of, I'm guessing, Keith Robinson, is altoist Bobby Watson (another who has played the Corner House). Watson is drawn regularly from the pad and this time we heard Ode For Aaron. The power of Robinson and Hignett is balanced by the unhurried, considered tenor and flute playing of Niall Armstrong. Pianist Andy Hawking impressed, finding the right chord and producing fully formed solos time and again. Recent recruit Andy Champion has secured the bass chair in double quick time. He has readily established a rapport with Francis and his solo flights are the stuff of legend. The gig set the standard for the season.
Next week checkout the acclaimed Sam Coombes Quartet (Sunday 16th).
Photos. Russell.

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