A fair smattering of free gigs across the weekend… Putting them on at lunch time, in places serving plenty of food, made them, on paper, look like warm-ups; but that’s disingenuous… Good music!
Bryan Corbett Quartet, at the Escape Bar
« Bryan Corbett (trumpet), Levi French (piano), Ben Markland (bass), Neil Bullock (drums) »
Friday—the first full day of the festival—set off with Bryan Corbett, at the nice, newish Old Fire Station Escape bar. It opened all pretty solid, really, breezy and open hard-bop sounds; tight, prompt, and together solos, sounding like a Blue Note recording studio from the end of the 1960s. Played a couple of Dizzy Gillespie tunes… Corbett’s horns opening out wide transparent lines… Levi French providing the hard swing on keys, with assistance from Neil Bullock’s back-line percussion. Ben Markland played some nice expressive bass lines and solos. I preferred the second set, only because it was a bit more up, French switching to organ (presumably by the touch of a button) and the band moving into something a little more funky and maybe more contemporary. Corbett trading off the compact drum rides, and French nudging out the powerful funking swing…
Alcyona Mick Trio, at the Herbert Café
» Alcyona Mick (piano), Julie Walkington (bass), Jim Hart (drums) «
(Sorry the photo is so appaling). I nearly didn’t bother with this, but was glad I did… Saturday, noon, at the Herbert art gallery… Saw only about half of it, but a very solid trio, Alcyona Mick’s inspired piano ensuring everything sounded full. Individually, the tunes seemed to slot into a number of definitive styles, but they were all pretty honest; a few decidedly Bill Evans-y, a few definitely heavily Monk-ish, although most of them were Mick originals. I tend to find rhythm section trios get boring too quickly (loosing dynamics) but this swathe of styles (and blind quality) kept it well interesting. They finished the first set with a piece that was very, very Nordic-ly E.S.T (but more subtle!); all they need is the light show, and they’d be completely on their way…