I really enjoyed this gig. Alex Clarke is a superb performer with a range of warm timbres and with proper jazz in her soul. She is also clear on the talk mic about what she is playing, which I guess is a great help to Steve Jordan when he writes the set list (see below, and thank you). I am not surprised that she attracts a back line as celebrated as Clark Tracey on drums, Dave Green on bass and Rob Barron on piano.
The tone Alex produced on “Ballad for Very Sad and Very Tired Lotus Eaters” was really beautiful. It was a great performance. There is nowhere to hide when you are playing in duet mode. The synergism between Rob and Alex was lovely. Alex gave the trio lots of room to blow. I could see her enjoyment of their work, particularly when trading 4s with Clark. We are thankful too that she spoke to us about each song: not a lot, just enough.
Clark had one terrific solo in “Oleo” . There is a phrase about good drummers: “playing the room”. Clark’s understanding of the room acoustics and the volume of his colleagues is exemplary. He is such a class act.
Dave is one of those rare bassists that you can listen to their accompaniment with pleasure and interest. He seems to find fascinating things to say under other people’s solos, and his own solos are great.
We haven’t seen Rob for far to long, and people thought of him as new to us, which he is not. They commented on the delight they had listening to his solos and his work throughout this excellent gig,
Our next gig will be the Philip Clouts Quartet. The music will carry us to South Africa and beyond. One quote: “Precise ebullience and relaxed funkiness” – The Guardian
ALEX CLARKE QUARTET
SETLIST, FLEECE JAZZ 26/4/23
- Sound for Sore Ears (Jimmy Heath)
- Where or When (Rodgers and Hart)
- Autumn Leaves (Joseph Kosma, Jacques Prévert, Johnny Mercer) arrangement by Alex Clarke inspired by Chet Baker’s
- Ballad for Very Sad and Very Tired Lotus Eaters (Billy Strayhorn) – a duet featuring Alex Clarke and Rob Barron
- Like Someone in Love (Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke)
- Oleo (Sonny Rollins)
* * * * * * *
- Who’s Smoking?! (Paquite d’Rivera) written for James Moody
- I’m Old Fashioned (Jerome Kern)
- Only A Year (Alex Clarke)
- Brazilian Affair (Phil Woods)
- I’ve Never Been In Love Before (Frank Loesser) from the musical Guys and Dolls
- Just One of Those Things (Cole Porter)
- ENCORE: Shake It But Don’t Break It (Erroll Garner)