Thoughts on The Alex Clarke Quartet: 26 April 2023

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

Take care




  1. Sound for Sore Ears (Jimmy Heath)
  2. Where or When (Rodgers and Hart)
  3. Autumn Leaves (Joseph Kosma, Jacques Prévert, Johnny Mercer) arrangement by Alex Clarke inspired by Chet Baker’s
  4. Ballad for Very Sad and Very Tired Lotus Eaters (Billy Strayhorn) – a duet featuring Alex Clarke and Rob Barron
  5. Like Someone in Love (Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke)
  6. Oleo (Sonny Rollins)

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  1. Who’s Smoking?! (Paquite d’Rivera) written for James Moody
  2. I’m Old Fashioned (Jerome Kern)
  3. Only A Year (Alex Clarke) 
  4. Brazilian Affair (Phil Woods)
  5. I’ve Never Been In Love Before (Frank Loesser) from the musical Guys and Dolls
  6. Just One of Those Things (Cole Porter)
  7. ENCORE: Shake It But Don’t Break It (Erroll Garner) 

Thoughts on Alan Barnes/Andy Panayi Sextet: the music of Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane, 12 April 2023

Steve Jordan described this gig as stellar, and it was in many senses. First of all, the music which was originally performed by Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane is amazing. The sextet is certainly starry: they were Andy Panayi (tenor and soprano), Alan Barnes (alto), Steve Fishwick (trumpet and flugel), John Donaldson (piano), Simon Thorpe (bass) and Peter Cater (drums). The arrangements were gorgeous, rich and exciting with beautiful harmonies (and dissonances) and great rhythms. The playing was terrific: the timing was spot on, and the solos just engulfed one. 

Andy and Alan commented on the music, but Andy was the conductor. It seems that nothing except the set list was decided in advance, and they had freedom to construct each song as they wished. This just added to the joy of the evening.

All of the musicians were jaw- droppingly awesome, the horn section especially so but the rhythm section was tremendous too. A special mention for Steve Fishwick for depping so faultlessly – a measure of his talent and professionalism and he appears so calm!

Favourites? Difficult: the first tune, “Miles” hit you in the face with the horn chorus. Maybe also “Dat Dere”. By that time in the second set everybody on stage was grinning at the quotes and riffs of their colleagues.

We are lucky to have Steve Jordan about. He supplies the set list below.

We complete our January/April programme with the stunning young saxophonist and flautist Alex Clarke. She brings with her the dream rhythm section: Rob Barron piano, Dave Green bass and Clark Tracey drums. We hope to see you on Wednesday 26 April.




  1. Miles (Davis) from the 1958 album Milestones
  2. Two Bass Hit (Lewis-Gillespie) also from the album Milestones
  3. Jeanine (Duke Pearson) from the 1960 album Them Dirty Blues by the Cannonball Adderley Quintet
  4. This Here (Bobby Timmons) from the 1959 album The Cannonball Adderley Quintet in San Francisco
  5. Wabash (Julian Adderley) from the 1959 album The Cannonball Adderley Quintet in Chicago
  6. Blue Train (John Coltrane) from the 1957 album Blue Train by John Coltrane
  7. Lazybird (John Coltrane) from the 1957 album Blue Train by John Coltrane

*          *          *           *         *        *        *

  1. Locomotion (John Coltrane) from the 1957 album Blue Train by John Coltrane
  2. Jive Samba (Nat Adderley) from the 1962 album Jazz Workshop Revisited by The Cannonball Adderley Sextet
  3. Dear John (Freddie Hubbard) from the 1991 album Bolivia was dedicated to John Coltrane and based on Coltrane’s Giant Steps
  4. Naima (John Coltrane) dedicated to Coltrane’s first wife
  5. Dat Dere (Bobby Timmons) from the 1960 album Them Dirt Blues by the Cannonball Adderley Quintet
  6. I’m Old Fashioned (Jerome Kern) from the 1957 album Blue Train by John Coltrane
  7. ENCORE: Del Sasser (Sam Jones) from the 1960 album Them Dirty Blues by the Cannonball Adderley Quintet