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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.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Howard Alden Quintet @ Bois(terous)dale. May 10.

Howard Alden (7 string gtr); Karen Sharp (ten); Simon Woolf (bs); Sebastian de Krom (dms); Jeanne Gies (vcl).
(Review by Lance).
One may be forgiven for thinking that the presence of one of the world's great jazz guitarists - a living legend - would have the audience sitting in hushed silence in awe of greatness. Fat chance! This is Boisdale where the volume of noise from the crowd makes the mob at Hoochie Coochie seem like a meeting of Whisperers' Anonymous!
Nevertheless, for those prepared to listen, and this includes  a charming couple - Leanne and Drew - whose acquaintance I was delighted to make (our views on jazz, the venue and the gig ran parallel), there was some great jazz played.
Opening up with I Hear a Rhapsody Karen Sharp took the first solo. Her rich full sound proved you don't have to be a man to blow masculine tenor! Karen ably carried on the tradition begun by Kathy Stobart and Barbara Thompson. Enter Alden with a solo that really should have been appreciated by more than the select few paying attention. This was George Van Eps, George Barnes, Bucky Pizzarelli  and, most of all Howard Alden.
Embraceable You once again showed off the wonderful Sharp sound - I think I'm in love! Alden of course was brilliant but Simon Woolf's bowed bass solo was, I think, the most melodic bass solo I've ever heard!
A swinging I'll Remember April culminated in an exciting round of fours.
So far so good.
Enter Jeanne Gies. Jeanne, an American singer of great originality put her stamp on Little White Lies, My Foolish Heart and On the Street Where You Live bringing the set to a close.
It was during the break I met the aforementioned Leanne and Drew and eventually joined their table prior to which I'd been kept amply supplied with Bombadier Bitter by barman Ernest. Thank you kind sir.
The second set began with a duo take on I Wanna Be Around by Alden and Ms. Gies which was superbly effective. Gies stayed on stage until the end of the set. Now with all due respect to the lady - she is an interesting singer - it meant less of Howard Alden and I'd made the trip out to Canary Wharf specially to hear him.
Perhaps it was, as suggested by my table companions, because he'd sensed the general indifference and decided to go down the cabaret road. Who knows? So, like the well known egg of the Curate, this gig was very good in parts but, as an audience, they (the audience) could have done better!
Lance.

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