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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.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Southport Jazz Festival - Fabien Mary Quartet. February 5

Fabien Mary (trumpet), Hugo Uppi (guitar), Fabien Marcoz (bass), Steve Brown (drums).
(Review by Steve T/Photos courtesy of Neil Hughes; © Robert Burns).
To say the thought of two quartets on Saturday night had caught my attention is something of an understatement; the contrast between the two palpable. Firstly the standard sax, piano, bass and drums line-up, which says to many, myself included, John Coltrane, one of the greatest Jazz groups of all time. Then the young French group with a trumpet/guitar frontline and I'm at a loss to come up with a precedent, though I've no doubt it exists.

Matching suits and ties, this was slick and enigmatic, like Borg facing McEnroe or Connors. It felt like one Golden Age to another but we're still in this one. If you think Miles, it's like going from the quintet with Trane to the Second Great Quintet, both brilliant in different ways but, while Miles with Trane are known worldwide for the most famous, successful and iconic album in Jazz history, the Second Great Quintet haven't yet entirely slipped into the collective consciousness, even of Jazzers, so it feels more on-going, a work in progress.
We'd heard the guitarist is awesome and, unlike the waters in Casablanca, we weren't misinformed. Perfect, but in the best possible way, where each note is exacted the precise same value, nothing is missed or half struck with no slipping or sliding, the solos melodic, thoughtful and wonderfully inventive, but making perfect sense even as they unfold.
Even when harmonising with the trumpet, but then I realised the trumpet was exactly the same, they all were. Think Clifford Brown or Freddie Hubbard and yip, he is that good.
Pieces selected from an impressive array of writers, including Kenny Durham, Chick Corea, Grant Green and Horace Silver and don't you just love the contradictions in art, music, Jazz - life, having said earlier in the day I'm not too preoccupied with who wrote the melody.
For the first half of just one-hour long set the guitarist looked like the happiest man alive. Then he looked terrified, then bewildered and ultimately relaxed at the adulation they received, and I wondered whether they get this response everywhere they go.
You can Take me Home said the trumpeter in his sexy French accent, and I thought there were a lot of ladies in the audience. Better grab a CD before they all go.
Terrific contrast with the Derek Nash Quartet and while this one had the edge, I'd rather have both than more of this one. Hard bop, free bop, cool bop, nu bop, it sounds classic without being retro and contemporary without threatening to fall off a cliff. Exquisite.

Steve T.




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