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Bebop Spoken There

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13,530 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 948 of them this year alone and, so far, 112 this month (July 31).

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Leo Richardson Quartet: Album Launch @ Pizza Express, Soho - August 6

Leo Richardson (tenor sax); Rick Simpson (piano); Conor Chaplin (bass); Ed Richardson (drums) + Eric Alexander (tenor sax).
(Review by Lance/photo courtesy of Martin Hummel).

Having reviewed Move and The Chase I knew this gig was going to be special and it was. I may have been to better gigs although, off the top of my head I can't remember when. This was driving hard bop with Leo blowing like there was no tomorrow and his rhythm section kicking it all the way. Rick Simpson, Conor Chaplin and Ed, no relation, Richardson on drums making sure the leader didn't flag - as if!

It seemed as though the whole world had turned out for the album launch and the pizzas and Peronis  were in great demand but, once the music started, food and drink took second place.

Most of the numbers were from the current album although there were a few gems from the first. It didn't matter, the young tenor player, not unknown in Darlington blew some harmonics that almost sent the anchovies flying. Not to be outdone, Simpson on piano who also hails from the northeast staked his claim with some powerful solos - what is it about Darlo that it produces so many outstanding jazz musicians and, despite its size, also supports 3 jazz clubs?

It couldn't get any better - could it? It could. Let's bring Ronaldo off the bench or, to be more precise, New York tenor ace, Eric Alexander.

On the disc it's Alex Garnett who pairs up with Leo but, tonight, Alex was elsewhere so in steps Eric. The American blew up a storm but I think Leo shaded it. Eric agreed. "I was sight reading and just did my best" he said during the break.

It was a good break that I enjoyed in the company of Leo's dad, bass legend Jim Richardson and saxist Dave O'Higgins - jazz royalty!

More fantastic playing in the second set which came to a close with a return to the stage by Eric. He was on fire and so was Leo! Think of all the great tenor partnerships - Dex/Wardell; Zoot & Al; Tubbs/Ronnie; Sonny Stitt & Gene Ammons this matched all of them. The Thriller in Manila with saxophones instead of gloves became the set-to in Soho. Honours even. A night to remember!
Lance.
Move by the Leo Richardson Quartet is available on Ubuntu Records. CD Review.

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