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Friday, January 31, 2020

Abbie Finn Trio @ The Globe Jazz Bar - January 30

Abbie Finn (drums); Harry Keeble (tenor sax); Paul Grainger (double bass).
(Review/band photo by Minnie Fraser. Individual photos by Russell).

There was a select audience in the Jazz Bar at the Globe to hear this new trio although the faces were familiar, particularly to those who attended the Black Swan on Tuesday.  Many of the tunes they played were also familiar, but the arrangements were new and exciting.  They started with Janine by Duke Pearson a post-bop swing, a great start with Abbie showcasing the drums with the call and return of fours.  Next up was Windows by Chick Corea, followed by Love for Sale which started as a slow and sultry bossa but the tempo picked up and after some excellent improvisation by Harry, Abbie gave a great solo focusing on the toms.

Moments Notice, written by John Coltrane and included in his seminal album Blue Train was played with a driving rhythm and ended with a dead stop.  Abbie has a good stage presence and already had a rapport with the audience when she invited Paul to introduce his own composition Swim.  He explained that the piece had been written a few years ago to accompany Abi Lewis’s film The Jazzman – a film about Keith Crombie, who ran the Jazz Café for many years.  Paul gave an excellent solo on double bass followed by fours between drums and sax/bass.  This was followed by Nothing Personal by Don Grolnick which was introduced by Harry, who explained that it was “really difficult” and had been famously played by Michael Brecker.  It certainly seemed very challenging with a complicated rhythmic structure and another excellent drum solo.  It may well have been difficult, but Harry made a wonderful job of playing it!

The second half started with a very sultry rendition of Caravan with the tempo subtly increasing getting the audience heads nodding in appreciation.  Another super drum solo round the toms and rims with excellent dynamics.  Next was a bit of swing with How High the Moon with more brilliant improvisation on the tenor, fours and then seamlessly morphing into Ornithology by Charlie Parker at the end!  Abbie then introduced Recorda Me by her “favourite tenor player” (Not Harry???) Joe Henderson which built up from the lone drums, clicking the rims and stretching the skin on the floor tom to vary the tuning then joined by the bass and finally the sax.  This was followed by Giant Steps by John Coltrane which was played so expressively by all three musicians despite a challenging chord progression.

Softly as in the Morning Sunrise by Sigmund Romberg was probably the earliest of the pieces played – the sax was soulful with Abbie driving the rhythm on the rims in an Afro Cuban style.  The audience sighed sadly as Abbie announced that the next was to be their last – Seven Steps to Heaven – which Abbie explained was written by Victor Feldman, not Miles Davis even though he famously played it.  Of course, the audience cheered for more and the trio duly obliged with an encore of Ladybird by Tadd Dameron.

All in all it was a really excellent gig, these excellent musicians should be playing to much larger audiences – so watch out for them!
Minnie

1 comment :

Minnie said...

One thing I didn’t put in my review was that I was amazed at the musicianship of such young musicians as Abbie and Harry. Both play with an easy confidence of old hands. Another thing is that one doesn’t often come across jazz bands led by a drummer(Clark Tracy comes to mind, and do you remember Yuya Honami?) Even rarer are bands led by female drummers! Anyway, Abbie plays in such a rich variety of ways with superb dynamics - it is great to hear a drummer who adds so beautifully to the quiet bits! The music they played was fabulous in the context of that drumming!

The trouble is, and you might have guessed it, I am a massive drumming fan and I think I might have neglected the other two musicians who were also extremely good!

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