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Christian Brewer Quartet, Future Inns Cabot Circus, March 14

March 21, 2010

Nice example here of the virtues of rank and file jazz. Brewer is one of those musicians, quite numerous, who have taken on an existing style, and worked inside it for so long, and so well, that they own it. Result? He doesn’t get noticed for doing things never heard before, but he does breathe life into a set of routines which sound anything but routine. This kind of authority, lightly worn, and invention within the conventions, doesn’t come easy (I assume as a non-player) and is always a pleasure to hear.

In an evening of what you might call jazz tunes – a few standards but also some well-chosen items by real jazz composers like Cedar Walton and Wayne Shorter – he really did call to mind alto greats who critics have invoked when listening to him: Art Pepper, Phil Woods. I’d add Bud Shank to the list. Incisive on up-tempo numbers, haunting on ballads (something of a speciality) and consistently interesting solos. An all round treat. And the extrovert Leon Greening on piano gave his all on every tune, as usual. A solid evening of first rate music yet again at Cabot Circus.

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