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Bebop Spoken There

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13,508 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 926 of them this year alone and, so far, 90 this month (July 27).

Saturday, July 10, 2021

KSTV: Giacomo Smith & Kit Downes - July 10

(Screenshot by Ken Drew)
Giacomo Smith (clarinet, bass clarinet, soprano sax); Kit Downes (piano)

Something of a departure this week as two of the Kansas Smitty's guys decided to play a duo gig comprising tunes they liked. No theme, no album playback, simply a selection of favourite numbers. If there was a focal point, the name Jimmy Giuffre sprung to mind. Frontman Giacomo Smith would switch between clarinet, the lesser-played bass clarinet and soprano sax. Kit Downes would content himself playing the studio Bösendorfer.

(Collage by Ken Drew)
The Train and the River (Jimmy Giuffre, of course) opened the recital. Yes, 'recital' more than 'gig', indeed a 'chamber recital' at that. A mutual respect clearly evident, Smith and Downes weaved in and out, in and around, wholly uncompetitive, totally relaxed. Norman Span's calypso Brown Skin Girl (à la Harry Belafonte), Carla Bley's Jesus Maria (the chances are Downes has played this one on a church organ), a brace of delta blues - Skip James' Hard Time Killin' Floor and Downes' Skip James - revealed a shared love of Mississippi blues. 

'Round Midnight brought out a personal take on Monk's standard, not least from pianist Downes, and to close a fine set, our duo chose to play Third Stone from the Sun. More from KSTV next week.   Russell        

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