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In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

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Today

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.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Olie Brice Quintet @ Jazz Café - Oct. 18

Olie Brice (bass); Mike Fletcher (Alto); George Crowley (Tenor/Bass Clarinet); Alex Bonney (Cornet); Jeff Williams (Drums).
 (Review/photos courtesy of Ken Drew)

The same line-up also appeared here 2 years ago. It went down well then, so would it be equally as enjoyable?  Not exactly - it was way more energetic, the pieces seemed to have an extra energy and vibrancy. Overall the quintet produced much more than the sum of the parts (i.e. the original compositions plus 5 players).  The compositions were influenced by musical and literary heroes of Olie's, and were wonderfully executed by each player’s musical freedom producing an exciting energetic sound which had everyone enthralled.  Such a tight, well-honed band, yet very adventurous both in the compositions and their delivery.  The music explores that wonderful space between the composed and the improvised, and succeeds!

 
'Aunt Nancy’s Balloons'  Sounding initially like a warm-up giving each player a chance to settle in and demonstrate their solo capabilities, this was a wonderfully free-feeling tune with an underlying melody, nicely demonstrating how the composition was taken to a higher plane in the hands of all concerned.
It seemed like it was in at the deep end - but it really outlined the shape of things to come.   A variety of tunes followed, each with specific yet obscure titles (of which Olie has described in some detail in his sleeve notes).   'Another Mad Yak'   'Red Honey - Yellow Honey'    Wow!  - powerful stuff amidst cries of  'Brilliant!!!'  from the audience at the end of Set 1. And well deserved too!

Set 2 - more of the same, strong blistering solos played around fine compositions.  'Older Busier'  'What might Be' (a ballad with bass clarinet) And an old 'favourite'  but deconstructed tune:  'If you were the only girl in the world ......' which slowly and finally resolved in the well-known melody, bringing smiles all round. And finally 'Day After Day'.   

Overall Brice succeeds as a composer, band-leader and player. What a wonderful result formed by these 5 superb musicians playing so superbly in a composed/improvised setting to bring Olie’s compositions to a vibrant stage. Tremendous!
Ken.
PS: The Jazz Alert publicity for this had provided a brief insight into what to expect: 

"Olie’s love for melody with plenty of space for free-ranging improvisation, the three-horn front line of Alex Bonney on cornet, George Crowley on tenor, and Mike Fletcher on alto provide a subtle blend of textured harmonies and open but measured intensity. With Olie’s own compelling bass playing and the impeccable drumming of former Stan Getz sideman Jeff Williams, this is a band that brilliantly balances the straight-ahead and the free, and unfailingly enthralls fans of both approaches."   

And so it was.........


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