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Geoff Gascoyne Quartet, Future Inn, March 28

April 2, 2010

A second appearance for Gascoyne’s quartet at Cabot Circus,  the first just a few months ago featuring Tom Cawley on piano. And very nice it was too.

This time we got the old master Jim Mullen on guitar, as per Gascoyne’s new recording Pop-bop. Not that promising as a title, if you ask me, but conveys the idea – pop tunes he likes, jazzed up. Result? Terrific playing, it goes without saying, especially from Mullen, with that lovely thick, thumb-picking guitar sound which has seemed like the essence of jazziness on guitar since Wes Montgomery. A few reservations about the material, though.

The selections ranged widely – tunes from The Supremes, The Stylistics, Cat Stevens, Peter Gabriel et al. Some were quite nice melodies, as Gascoyne enthusiastically declared, but some still seemed pretty slight. The players did their best to redeem them, and mostly managed it, but it sometimes seemed a bit of an effort to wring interest from them for any length of time. Left me feelng it was a nice evening, but I’d love to hear them all again playing proper jazz vehicles. Then again, I basically stopped listening to pop music when Hendrix died, so what do I know?

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