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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.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Alison Rayner Quintet @ the Globe Jazz Bar, Newcastle - Nov. 22

Alison Rayner (bass); Deirdre Cartwright (guitar); Diane McLoughlin (tenor/soprano saxes); Steve Lodder (piano); Buster Birch (drums)
(Review by Lance/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew).

You wait 11 months for a 'Quintet of the Year' to come along and, within less than a week, you have two of them!

Nothing could ever top Sunday's session at the Black Bull with the Mick Shoulder Quintet but, and here's the rub, nor could anything top the Alison Rayner Quintet at the Globe last night. Two great bands, one updating the past and one bringing the future closer. Let's just say that I wouldn't have missed either.

A co-promotion by the Jazz Coop and JNE as part of the latter's Women Make Music series, this was an unmissable event and the crowded Jazz Bar seemed to agree.

Two sets of originals, mainly by leader/bassist Rayner, demonstrated the wide cross-section of the band's repertoire drawn from their two previous CDs* as well as some yet to be recorded material.

A floating, almost ephemeral, feeling came across even on some of the more forceful numbers. Hard blowing tenor that wouldn't have been out of place on a Blue Note album from McLoughlin contrasted with the wistfulness of her soprano playing. The soprano is my least favourite of the saxophone family. Too often it brings to mind snake charmers! Diane avoided this stereotype even on a number Alison composed that was related to Indian elephants (Trunk Call) and went a long way to dispelling my saxist prejudices.


Lodder too had an amazing solo on the Indo/Bop number perhaps best described as Monkish (Buddhist?). His solos were all on the money and then some.

Cartwright played with minimal use of foot pedals. Fast-fingered and cleanly articulated runs that surely was an object lesson to any aspiring guitar players in the audience. They'd be easily recognised by the way their mouths hung open and their jaws dropped. Given the chance, they'd use her plecs for toothpicks (I cleaned that one up!)

Buster Birch - a jazz name if ever there was one, said a member of Team Bebop - was mega impressive. Solos, support he went with the many mood changes. When it said swing, he swung, when it said rock, he rocked, when it said fuse, he fused - a man for all seasons.

As for Alison Rayner, sound throughout and particularly during one number where piano and bass had a lovely duo moment. Just the two - it was sublime.

During the interval, Ken Drew took this shot of Alison Rayner, Chi Onwurah (Newcastle's jazziest MP) and myself reunited after last month's APPJAG awards ceremony in London.

A brilliant night.
Lance.
Photos.

*August and A Magic Life.

4 comments :

Pam Young (on F/b) said...

Fabulous band! We are so lucky in Newcastle to have heard such amazing music. In the last few weeks alone we have been in the presence of genius.

Anonymous said...

Loved it.

Phil D said...

Loved it.

Alison Rayner said...

Wow, Lance, thank you for a lovely review. It was so nice to see you again – and Chi too – especially so soon after our recent Awards successes! Thank you to everyone who came and made us feel so welcome in Newcastle. Cheers!

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