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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.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Matt Roberts Quintet @ The Forum, Darlington. June 9, 2013

Matt Roberts (trumpet), Matt Anderson (tenor saxophone), Declan Forde (keyboards), Sam Vicary (double bass) & Sam Gardner (drums)
(Review by Russell)
Matt Roberts Quintet pay tribute to the great…Lee Morgan. So said the flyer around the Forum Music Centre. The bar was packed, the main hall would soon be similarly crowded to welcome home trumpeter Matt Roberts. A Darlington lad made good, Roberts served his apprenticeship in the ranks of the County Durham schools’ big bands, moved on to further his studies in Leeds, then London and here on home turf he was to be given a hero’s welcome. His quintet boasted some familiar names and faces from the Leeds scene - Matt’s frontline partner and namesake tenor saxophonist Matt Anderson, the two Sams - Vicary (double bass) and Gardner (drums) - and recent Leeds College of Music graduate, pianist Declan Forde.
Roberts chose numbers from classic Lee Morgan sides and one or two from the American’s work as a sideman. The sound - balance and levels - couldn’t have been better and the quintet’s collective cool admirable. Secure in technique, the pad worked on in the woodshed, these guys were Johnny Cool (x5). The Cooker, Tom Cat, Expoobident and The Sidewinder were just some of Morgan’s celebrated recordings dipped into during two fantastic sets.
The Johnny Cool feel, a blues undercurrent and a cookin’ rhythm section - the two Sams swinging it all night long - set it up for Matt and Matt. They took full advantage and traded superb solos one after another. If you believe in a jazz heaven then this was surely it. Lover Man stood out in a stand out first set (Roberts’ teased-notes intro hitching a ride on Vicary’s walking bass line) with considered solo piano from the prodigiously talented Forde. Moment’s Notice from Coltrane’s Blue Train registered as another highlight. Heaven, paradise, call it what you will, the first set alone made the gig a runaway contender for this week’s Gig of the Year!
An interval pint of White Boar Bitter, a slice of cake (all proceeds to the tour fund for July’s trip to Belgium by the County Durham Youth Big Band and Little Big Band), a strip of raffle tickets, a natter with one or two jazz nerds - sorry, aficionados - and it was time to resume our place in the standing-room-only hall for the second set.
Tom Cat from the eponymous album reintroduced Matt (trumpet) then Matt (tenor), Forde sketched Monk then took evasive action to get out of the way of Gardner’s instantaneous rat-a-tat-tat rim shot response (touché!). Roberts threw down the gauntlet opting to play Twice Around (another from Tom Cat). The boys were up for it. Cookin’ or what? Wow!!! Just in Time from Expoobident took it down featuring Harmon Roberts then yet more wonderful tenor from Anderson.
The full house demanded more. The Forum Jazz Club has worked hard to win an audience. Roberts expressed his thanks to all concerned; the organisers (the experienced tutors and the young musicians on door duties, raffle ticket sales and sundry other tasks), the audience and his friends sharing the stand with him. Sidewinder wound it up. Heaven, I’m in (jazz) heaven…              

Russell.        

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