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Five Spot, The Bear April 24

April 26, 2009

This quintet have homed in on an excellent area to explore, the more left-field tendency which flourished in the later stages of the first great era of Blue Note – the kind of thing you might have heard at the Five Spot in the days of Monk, Coleman and Dolphy, in fact. Although the main inspiration goes back nearly half a century it is still a brave thing to do as the soloists are very exposed in this setting. There were lots of bass-propelled grooves with freebopping over the top, which works if the ideas come, and if not, well…   not.

It worked here for me most of the time, especially when Kevin Figes – who tended to make briefer contributions than trumpeter Nick Malcolm – stepped forward. Nice compositions from the band, especially bass player Olie (Ollie?) Brice and one each from Dolphy and Andrew Hill. To my ears, and I really love this kind of stuff, they didn’t quite have the command of the idiom of some of the Americans who work in this area – though I’d guess Brice listens to William Parker a lot – but still a nice way to spend a Friday evening. Maybe Bristol needs a Freebop club as well?

Oh, and you can find out more here www.myspace.com/thenickmalcolmquintet (you can change the name of your band, but not the URL of your My Space page, apparently)

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