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Into the Woods, The Bear, 8 May

May 13, 2009

Tasty quartet which is a vehicle for Jake McMurchie’s sax and James Chadwick on guitar. The latter one of those who gets a “Frisell-influenced” label – true if people mean, as they usually do, Frisell’s thoughtful, introspective stuff, not the fuzz and heavy metal he also does on occasion, or used to. Anyhow: Chadwick. An interesting, if undemonstrative player, and the group sound meshes very nicely (Jim Barr, who is famous for some other bands apparently, on bass and Andy Hague on drums).

Interesting choice of material, too, some by McMurchie, and pieces by Lee Morgan – an impressionistic one which I was convinced was by Coltgrane until they name-checked the composer – Monk, and John McLaughlin. That caught my ear. Never heard anyone try and play Extrapolation before, and it feels like one of those classic performances which is just about as good as it could be, forty years on. Still good to hear it revisited in a small room, though. Andy Hague isn’t Tony Oxley (and he long ago abandoned this kind of playing anyway), but all acquitted themselves well on what is, when you see it done, a pretty complicated bit of music.

That finished a long first set, which permitted an early departure in preparation for a drive across the country next day. But well worth turning out for, as these gigs down at the Bear usually are. Only a few left this season now…

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