Jazz IS alive

Keep in touch for jazz dates and venues in the Swindon area. Please note that the blogger (who set this site up for Dave Knight) receives information second-hand and lives on the other side of the country! More information on the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jazz-Knights/544313058974889

Sunday, 17 March 2013



The much lauded saxophonist and jazz authority, Simon Spillett brought his tenor sax to the Prince on a cold March night to an audience of jazafs and socialising diners and drinkers. In a programme sensibly tailored for this setup, the theme was 'standards', with a sprinkling of ballads and refreshing tempo changes. Three J Van Heusen compositions, two by Jerome Kern and a Cole Porter number framed the course of the evening, but the attacking be-bop style generally associated with this axe man was never far away.

Simon Spillett has had a long and productive musical relationship with pianist John Critchinson, a stalwart trio member. 'Critch'  is a fount of musical knowledge with stories of the early be-bop days, from his West Country roots to Ronnie Scott's Soho world. His enthusiasm and musical talent are undiminished.

One might consider that the trio's drummer, Terry Howard - a newcomer to Simon - would be disadvantaged in the understanding built between keyboard and sax, but locally based, Terry is an experienced jazzman in his own right and provided attentive and sympathetic backing throughout.

So an evening of fine music. Starter: The Way You Look Tonight at medium tempo; into an easy-paced, lyrical It Could Happen To You. Then a slow, languorous But Beautiful, showing off the sweet, wistful tone of the tenor sax. A samba rhythm to Night And Day livened up the mood and gave Terry the chance to exercise sticks and skins, this followed by the third Van Heusen  tune, I Thought About You. The set closer: Who Parked The Car?, a catch-all title for an up-tempo blues built around Sonny Rollins' Tenor Madness. Green Dolphin St, latinated, and Guy Wood's My One And Only Love - with some well placed Polka Dots and Moonbeams quotes from Critch opened the second set. Quotes from My Favourite Things reminiscent of John Coltrane were featured on Lover Man - Simon's only soprano sax excursion of the evening. Perhaps the most memorable number of the session, however, was The Gentle Rain as a gentle bossa nova from the pen of the admirable Luiz Bonfa. A lively Nobody Else But Me, the second of the Kern contributions, left the evening to be rounded-off by the ever reliable jazz vehicle, Bye Bye Blackbird.

A satisfied audience and I think the musicians, too, enjoyed their trip to the sticks.

                                                                              Logodaedalus (AKA Keith Brain)

Simon Spillett
John Critchinson
Terry Howard

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