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Saturday, June 08, 2019

Brownfield-Byrne Quintet @ Saltburn Jazz Club - June 7

Jamie Brownfield (trumpet); Liam Byrne (tenor sax); Andy Hulme (guitar); Ed Harrison (double bass); Gareth Hughes (drums)

(Review by Russell)

Friday night, five musicians in three cars (some of them driving from north Wales) en route to Saltburn were to be greeted by cats and dogs, yes, it was raining. The town's Community Halloffered shelter to jazz fans and anyone else who wanted to escape the worst of the weather. 

The Brownfield-Byrne Quintet arrived in good time, set up with the minimum of fuss...would an audience turn out? Saltburn Jazz Club's loyal supporters did indeed make the effort. The BBQ hit the ground running with Better Go. Trumpeter Jamie Brownfield and co-leader Liam Byrne, playing tenor sax, spoke of their affection for the Ben Webster-Harry Edison sides and there would be further similar selections during an evening of top quality mainstream-to-bop numbers.  

The horns chose not to be on a mic and the rhythm section's Andy Hulme, guitar and Ed Harrison, bass, were no more than lightly amplified with drummer Gareth Hughes the epitome of restraint. Did You Call Her Today? maintained the relaxed approach with the frontline generously sharing the soloist's spotlight with their bandmates. A seated Andy Hulme impressed greatly - chordal support, gently swinging solos - as did Ed Harrison, right out of the Andy Cleyndert school of bass playing. 

The BBQ's first gigs a decade or so ago were largely bop-orientated but over time the pad has expanded to include earlier forms and one such gem - Stardust - confirmed Byrne (the BBQ's arranger) as a top-class player. During the evening the tenor man spoke in reverential tones about the great Al Cohn and reaffirmed his abilities on In My Solitude. Brownfield's interests range across the formative years of the music through swing to bop (on Night in Tunisia Brownfield did a first-rate 'Dizzy'!). 

A long, late night drive home ahead of them, the Brownfield-Byrne Quintet went out on It had to be You. A class outfit, that's the BBQ.  

Russell.

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