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Monday, April 08, 2013

GIJF: Day 3: On The Concourse: The Blue Jazz Quintet


Chris Finch (keys); Karen Rann (sop sax); Jeff Smith (tenor sax); Dave Parker (bass); Michael Howard (drums)
(Review by Ann Alex)
So Chris said to me, just before they went on, ‘ I’ve never played in front of this many people before’.  He needn’t have worried, the band were great, although I must confess to bias, as this is the band that we Blue Jazz Voices do our end of term gigs with, so we have a close relationship with them all.  But reviewers try to be unbiased, so, as I said, they were great!
They kicked off with composer, pianist, arranger, Tadd Dameron’s Ladybird, straight ahead jazz, lots of solos and swapping 4’s between bass and drums.  Horace Silver’s Song For My Father played as a bossa nova showed the band at their typical best, a solo from tenor sax, drums enjoying the rhythm, long, long notes from the saxes, then rhythm from everyone to end with.  The singers did this with the band a couple of years ago, Latin items are always fun but tricky to get right.  Other numbers included Coltrane’s Blue Train, with soprano sax and keys playing call and response; A Foggy Day In London Town, Wayne Shorter’s Footprints, which was introduced as being in 6/4 time, sounds difficult, but I don’t suppose it’s against the law;  and Sonny Rollins Tenor Madness, featuring tenor sax, bass and a long drum solo.  Why are drums solos always towards the end?  Perhaps it makes the whole band more memorable.
Chris deserves special mention for melodic, interesting keys, as he’s been out of the band for a while, and has returned even better than before.  Dave is a godsend to reviewers because of his very professional manner of announcing each number clearly, with the name of the composer.
Well done lads and Karen.  See you at our next gig!
Ann Alex.
PS: I'm told that all tracks played were on a CD the band have recorded and it is on their website.

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