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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Roy Hargrove Quintet @ Union Chapel, Highbury. London BluesFest 2011

Roy Hargrove (tpt/flug); Justin Robinson (alt); Ameen Saleem (bs); Sullivan Fortner (pno); Montez Coleman (dms). It had been a traumatic day. Delayed train, a heatwave that became a wetwave and a few other inconveniences...
...enter Roy Hargrove. Suddenly all else seemed trivial as the notes peeled from his horn with a bell-like clarity. Aided by the amazing acoustics of the octagonally shaped chapel this was surely the finest trumpet sound I'd ever heard live!
The phrases simply rolled out - no cracked notes from this the coolest looking dude on the planet.
When he switched to flugel for Midnight Sun the results were electrifying and played with such passion.
Alongside, Justin Robinson played post-Parker bop alto full of ideas and no little technique. They played non-stop sans intermission. Roy didn't even announce the tunes but went effortlessly from start to finish. And what a finish as the two frontliners marched around the aisles challenging Gabriel to come and jam.
The crowd responded with a foot stamping standing ovation. Needless to say the band responded each soloing then leaving the stage until only bassist Saleem was left. Saleem, like Fortner and Coleman were the perfect rhythm section with Coleman driving them relentlessly forward as well as soloing with an amazing display of swing and dexterity. Fortner too played some crazy things on piano and Roy, when not reaching for the stars, sang Never Let Me Go.
One thing though - if you're going to the Al Di Meola gig tonight - take a cushion as those pews are damn hard!
PS it was Doors 7:00pm and start 8:30pm - presumably the same tonight.

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