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Bebop Spoken There

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Friday, April 05, 2019

Alan Glen @ the Globe Jazz Bar - April 4

Alan Glen (piano); Paul Grainger (bass); P.S. Wight-White (drums).
(Review by Lance).

Close your eyes and you're in a smoke-filled dive in New York, Soho or a bar in Newcastle back in the 1950's/1960's. You're listening to Bud Powell, Eddie Thompson or maybe even a very young Alan Glen. You come back to the present. Apart from the iconic photo of Dexter Gordon on the Jazz Bar wall, the smoke has vanished but Alan Glen hasn't.

Like vintage wine and seasoned timber, the playing is tasty and solid. He may not be seeking new frontiers, they were discovered many (how high the) moons ago, he and the audience are happy with what he's got which is the undiminished powers of invention.


Up-tempo, medium swing, ballad. Piano states theme, followed by a piano solo, a bass solo, and an exchange of fours via a selection of tried and tested standards. Applause, encore and good night. A formula successfully followed by piano trios since time began. Boring? No-way - at least not when it's Alan Glen and his cohorts which tonight saw the maestro with drummer White - no man, 'e's an island - it's Wight! and the ubiquitous Paul Grainger depping for the in-demand bassist John Pope. 

The veteran pianist proved once more that age is no handicap. Every note counts and there are plenty of them. Choice chords dexterous, phrases this is bebop for today, tomorrow and the day after. Grainger slotted in perfectly and White-Wight drove from the back seat. Paul (or Sid) doubly impressed on the omnipresent All Blues with an outstanding solo using brushes - and in 3/4 time!

The pianist's intros are special you can rarely guess the tune from them but, when recognition dawns, like his solos they're perfectly logical.

Beautiful Love; Here's That Rainy Day; All the Things You Are; Never Let me Go; It Could Happen to You; Autumn Leaves; Georgia on my Mind; All Blues.

A bottle of Hobgoblin then...

If I Were a Bell; Whisper Not; Love Letters (up-tempo with a frantic exchange of fours); I Should Care; Bye Bye Blackbird; Israel; Watermelon Man and an Alan Glen original - Something Borrowed, Something Blue - to finish off with.
Quite a night. 
Lance.

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