Notes on Past Gigs

This page contains notes and thoughts about gigs, written a day or two after the gig. Administrative posts are also shown.

Please click on “Full posting” for each gig to see the photo and full text.

You can search on year, musician’s name or gig title.

Thoughts on Cal Tjader/Stan Getz Sextet, Album Tribute – 10 July 2024

In tribute to the 1958 “West Coast Cool” recording of the Cal Tjader and Stan Getz sextet, Mark Crooks and Nat Steele treated us to an enjoyable selection of jazz standards and Tjader originals.  Mark described what we heard from the first three numbers as a “listenable dynamic” with a “lack of racket” and indeed it was; a welcome antidote to what was taking place simultaneously in Dortmund. Bracing and calming like the best of West Coast, the album itself is a hidden gem and a real cool classic with a simply incredible line-up including pianist Vince Guaraldi, guitarist Eddie…

Thoughts on Fletch’s Brew, 26 June 2024

Steve says: Fletch’s Brew – it doesn’t take much imagination to guess how they got their name but rarely has a band been so accurately defined by it.  What we had last night was, indeed, a heady intoxicating brew, a melting pot of musical genres ranging from electric blues to jazz-funk and jazz-rock, creating the much-maligned jazz-fusion sound that originated in the late 1960s and was probably made most famous by Miles Davis with Bitches Brew. The impact of the band’s sound took some getting used to as they treated us to an aural rollercoaster-ride through the first number, Pat…

Thoughts on “Conversations with Bill” – The Adrian York Trio, 12 June 2024

Steve says: Adrian York’s passion for the music of Bill Evans was very much in evidence as he presented an overview of the tortured soul and creative genius, from his early work as leader in 1956 with the album New Jazz Conceptions up until his premature death in 1980.  Each number was interspersed with biographical details of Bill’s life and work, as well as the changing line-up of the trio from its early days. Several members of our audience appreciated having the development of Bill’s work put into context, along with the odd amusing anecdote. The repertoire varied from the…

Thoughts on The Clark Tracey Quintet, 22 May 2024

To witness five musicians of this calibre on their very best form was a privilege and one that will remain with me for years. Newcomer RJ Gilbert on alto sax is still studying at Birmingham Conservatoire and if he were nervous to be playing with such established and highly accomplished musicians, it didn’t show. He was a cool customer who looked to be enjoying himself as he played off and with the others, particularly David Newton whom he obviously admired deeply (and who can blame him!)  I particularly liked his feature on the jazz standard My One and Only Love…

Thoughts on “Wakey Blakey” – The Music of Art Blakey

In the great debate about the superiority or otherwise of the audio quality of analogue sound (vinyl) as opposed to digital (CD and download), there is one listening experience that can be forgotten and that, of course, is live music.  Nothing beats it, especially when the band delivers to such a high standard as Wakey Blakey, the sextet led by Rory Ingham and James Davison playing the music of the classic sextet lineup of Art Blakey and The Jazz Mesengers.  It’s not just the immediacy of the experience and the fidelity of sound or even the spontaneity and sheer joy…

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