This was a marvellous gig. But first the scene needs setting.
Visualise our stage from your left to right. You will first see Joel Prime with his extensive percussion kit. Joel played a duo with Alina the last time she was with us. Then Alina Bzhezhinska behind a concert harp, sitting so you could just see her feet on the pedals. Behind her and a little to the right electric bassist Mikele Montolli stood. To the right of Alina, Jay Phelps played his trumpet on most of the tunes. On the far right (not that far, not a very big stage) drummer Adam Teixeira held court. We had stereo percussion.
We started off with “Soul Vibrations” (I think by Sun Ra), with the quartet. This was a lovely blast of a sg, with a strong third beat that had us into the band in4 bars. There were duos between Alina and the two percussionists, reminiscent of her first gig with us where she played to amazing sets with Joel, as the other musicians were blocked in traffic.
Alina’s “For Carol” was next up, with Jay using his Harmon mute. We haven’t seen Jay in too long, and I had forgotten how good he is.
The set finished with “Los Cabballos“ (the horses) by Carlos Chávez. Can music be onomatopoeic? You could hear the horses throughout the song.
Here I am looking for highlights of a top class evening, when every song had something to say. Everyone had solos and they were all grand. We finished with “Action Line”, (Ray Davies?).Both Alina’s and Jay’s solos were memorable. Please can this group come to us again so that a much larger audience will see them outside of the London Jazz Festival.
On Wednesday the 24th of November, the legend that is Art Themen willbe with us, Art on tenor, Steve Whittaker on Hammond and George Double on drums. Do joinus.