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Jonathan Gee trio – Future Inns Jazz Club, April 4

April 9, 2010

Had high hopes for this one, and it did prove a standout gig. Which poses the nice problem of trying to describe what makes one particular evening, with a conventional line-up doing conventional things, a cut above the run of regular jazz events in the city.

The venue helps, well-populated this Sunday night, and the audience attentive and responsive in that way which brings out the best in the musicians. Then those players: Larry Bartley the kind of bass player you want to take home with because you just want to have that sound all the time; Shaney Forbes the complete drummer, undemonstrative but quietly urging things along most of the time, with a couple of solos which were intensely listenable as drum solos rarely are, deploying  a casual mastery of elements from Roach, Blackwell and others which makes everything else sound better. And the leader, an unfailingly interesting player who eschews blinding technique for its own sake, and  breaking new ground when older ground is so fertile. He has a splendid, probing style which turns on exact placement of the note, and makes you want to know what the next one is going to be because you are caught up in the expectation, tension and release which underpins musical pleasure. No wonder he likes Monk so much.

Repertoire helps, too – a couple of Jarretts and a trio of Monk tunes set the bar high, with some Gee compositions and one vocalised standard adding up to very thoughtful programming in a format which needs variation of material to make up for what it lacks in range of sound.

But the extra ingredient, to my ears, was just the often sought but not so often found jazz virtue of really playing together. You noticed those moments when it sounded as if the rhythm team did not know quite what Gee was going to do next, and were enjoying the demand of responding instantly when he – and they  – found out. Lots of them. Gaffer Ian Storror was beaming at the end, declaring this the best night’s music yet at the club. Sounded right to me.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Eleanor permalink
    April 9, 2010 3:45 pm

    Shaney Forbes 🙂

  2. April 9, 2010 4:01 pm

    yeh, just put that in – but you read fast!


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