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Friday, October 11, 2013

Roly Veitch / Sue Ferris Trio @ The Gala, Durham.

Roly Veitch (gtr); Sue Ferris (ten/fl); Andy Champion (bs)
(Review and photo by Jerry)
As a lunchtime jazz venue, The Gala is new to me: very new! A big, long room it needed to be with almost all seats taken by an estimated 80-90 people), with bright lights, shiny chrome, and laminate floors. For all the glass and laminate, the acoustics are actually very good and the jazz served up was excellent.
The line-up was visually reminiscent of John Cleese “looking down on” the Two Ronnies with Andy, on the left, towering over Sue, in the middle, who didn't “tower” but still out-topped Roly! To be fair to Roly, he was sitting down! Solos for all in the opener, All of Me, set the tone and showed that, musically, all were equal here! Beautiful Love featured an excellent bass solo which made me think of Rondo alla Turca (don’t know why!) and There Will Never Be Another You brought vocals from Roly and some nice interplay between guitar and sax.
My Romance had foot-tapping sax and subtle guitar (not bad for one weaned, according to the programme notes, on Hank Marvin!) but struck me most for the Lorenz Hart lyrics in which he rejects all the clichés and handy love-song rhymes – moon, lagoon, month of May, hideaway – to assert that all he needs is “you”. Clever stuff, a cut above most lyricists post-1950 and one of the delights, today, of listening to such a fine selection of standards. “Fine” (and also with excellent lyrics) describes their next treat: Kern / Hammerstein’s All the Things You Are.
Bonfa’s bossa nova, Manha de Carnival/A Day in the Life of a Fool illustrated, for me, how the whole mood of a composition can be changed by the instruments on which it is played. I know this tune best as “Black Orpheus” and have always heard it with trombone taking the lead. With no drums, with mellifluous, skipping flute instead of lugubrious trombone and with a galloping bass solo thrown into the mix, it is altogether lighter: A Day in the Life of a HAPPY Fool as opposed to The Tears of a Clown.
Then, aptly, we had Autumn Leaves (which I was trying to brush up this morning) during which I was craning my neck to see who was “brushing” the drums during the bass solo: it was Roly, oh-so-gently strumming in a most un-Marvinlike way!
The Sinatra favourite, In the Wee Small Hours brought gentle vocals and lyrical flute – a beautiful rendition of Sinatra’s “sublime”. The blues, Sandu, closed the set with rasping sax and foot-tapping solos, after which time had flown to the extent that none was left for us to Look for the Silver Lining (number 10 on the programme) – but we needed no consolatory advice: it had been great!
Jerry.

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