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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Philip Clouts Quartet @ New Hartley Memorial Hall. October 20

Philip Clouts (keyboards), Carlos Lopez-Real (alto & soprano saxophones), ? (double bass) & Jon Desbruslais (drums).
(Review by Russell)
New Hartley Memorial Hall does well with folk gigs. Kathryn Tickell packed out the place and Jez Lowe, a favourite, returns in the new year. Jazz, contemporary or otherwise is another matter. The jazz fan, the curious and the Memorial Hall patron assembled in sufficient numbers to constitute an audience keen to hear to some jazz, contemporary jazz at that. 
The Philip Clouts Quartet travelled north to play a series of gigs in rural locations. This New Hartley appearance, the penultimate date of the tour, found the band in fine form, in the groove with the material. Philip Clouts had a new CD to plug but you wouldn't know it. The softly spoken South African born pianist didn't do self promotion - the title of the next tune and little more. 
The first tune - Deco - came from the new CD Sennen Cove and the second tune - As Evening Ends  (Clouts acknowledged its somewhat inappropriate placing in the set list) - served to introduce the band; featured soloist Carlos Lopez-Real on alto, Clouts, and drummer Jon Desbruslais (impressive brush and mallet combination). Clouts suggested Bird’s Word (from Sennen Cove) owed as much to seagulls as Charlie Parker and Lopez-Real’s authoritative alto flew way beyond bop. The closing number of the first set - Egypt - roamed across the land of the pharaohs before accelerating across the continent fuelled by a Desbruslais’ fusillade; relentless hi-hat, powerful press rolls, rim shots, the lot. 
The interval brought a beer and nibbles, a raffle and a chat across the table with Esther about this and that (jazz and jazz). 
Clef Mona opened the second set with Lopez-Real on soprano sounding not unlike Garbarek or Garland. Clouts introduced a new tune, so new it was without a title. It had a distinct gospel feel as the quartet soloed in turn. If Clouts had said it had been written by Dr Billy Taylor few would have doubted him. If a working title is required how about Hymn for Hartley (2012 commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Hartley Colliery Disaster)? The band let rip on Riptide, first alto, then piano as the rhythm section conspired to affect a drum ‘n’ bass intervention. Clouts returned to the new CD, released on Point Records, to end an enjoyable set with Commotion in C. Township jazz in Northumberland! Such is the global reach of great music. The audience wanted an encore and the band obliged with Nyasa Lullaby, a tune written by the band leader on hearing an unusual scale used by Tanzanian musicians. 
An evening of good jazz, in good company, in a welcoming rural venue - what a good idea! The last night of the tour (facilitated by Highlights Rural Touring Scheme) is in Wooler at the Cheviot Centre (Padgepool Place) on Sunday 21 October (7:30 pm). - That's tonight!
Russell                                                       

1 comment :

Philip Clouts said...

Hi
many thanks for this.
fyi the mystery bass player was Dave Manington of the Loop Collective, standing in for Alex Keen
http://www.philipcloutsquartet.co.uk/

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