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Monday, June 20, 2016

Benet McLean: The Bopped and the Bopless CD launch -The 606 Club Chelsea, London June 16

(Review by Helen Theophanous/Photo courtesy of Benet McLean)
It is indicative of the high regard in which Benet McLean is held by his fellow jazz musicians that so many eminent names joined him to celebrate his CD launch  at the 606 Club in Chelsea.
With Julian Joseph at the piano Clark Tracey on drums, Daniel Casimir on bassSteve Williamson, tenor sax and McLean on amplified violin, the very first notes of Cole Porter's Just One of Those Things heralded that this was to be an exceptional evening of the best in contemporary jazz. McLean is already celebrated for his dazzling jazz piano playing but his virtuoso violin playing also translates easily to jazz with amplified sparse left-hand pizzicato leading to bravura treatments and intelligent exposition.
 Number after number revealed the range of enormous talent gathered for the occasion and the easy natural communication between them. McLean introduced celebrated guest musicians to the stage – tenor saxophonist Duncan Eagles, with whom he performed in Eagle's band Partikel, flautist Gareth Lockrane , pianist Harry Bolt  and singer Aydenne Simone whose deep rich resonant voice personified the sound of Monk’s 'Round Midnight.
Every piece embraced by McLean and his friends just took flight.

A moving and very special moment was created by the performance of Meditation from Thaïs by Massenet with Benet on violin accompanied by his brother, the celebrated international concert pianist Viv McLean. This was classical musicianship of the highest standard which perfectly illustrated that there are no musical barriers, only good music.
Particular mention must be made of the great interplay between Steve Williamson and McLean, who played amongst other things Monk's Trinkle Tinkle. In another guest spot the trio front-line of Duncan Eagles, McLean and flautist Gareth Lockrane gave an explorative up-tempo reading of Coltrane's Countdown before a steaming rhythm section came storming in. Rodgers and Harts’ Lover proved to be a brilliant showcase for leading drummer Clark Tracey.

As a gifted composer, singer, jazz pianist and jazz violinist Benet Mclean is a huge and unique talent following in the steps of  Stephane Grappelli (1908-1997). McLean is further developing the art of the jazz violin in his own style with the use of electronics and edgy modern fearless improvisation. He deserves international recognition.

The 606 Club has a long history of promoting the best in jazz, and host Steve Rubie welcomed the illustrious line up giving The Bopped And The Bopless the accolade of CD title of the year.  With five originals by McLean plus his arrangements of works by Gil Fuller/Dizzy Gillespie, J. Harvey, and The Ruts.  It is also one of the best jazz CD's of the year.
Helen.

1 comment :

Lance said...

When I reviewed this last month I must confess that it was Benet's piano playing that captivated me and I foolishly overlooked the violin playing! Thank you Helen for redressing the balance!

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