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Damon Brown and Alan Barnes, Future Inns, June 19

August 4, 2010

Dexter Gordon, Clifford Brown, Charlie Parker, Blue Mitchell. Name the composers of their chosen tunes and you can locate this band pretty precisely. Hard bop through and through, and nothing which would surprise anyone who last heard jazz played in, say, 1960.

All great when done with spirit, and this evening was mostly good fun. The first set sparkled less, with Barnes playing a lot of baritone sax which seemed to flatten out the sound rather. He’s a more arresting player on alto, which dominated the second set, and he and Brown on cornet interact well. The latter has, if not quite the edge of his favourite Clifford Brown – who does? – a fat tone and a nice way of building intensity in a solo with long notes and silences as well as the be-bop flurries which take up more of Barnes’ excursions.

The rhythm section does not get to vary things much in this style of jazz, and were mostly adequate rather than outstanding, though Sebastian de Krom on drums had a few bright spots. The solid, straight ahead rhythm style seems to wear less well than the horn sound of the genre, though. There has been so much more done since this convention was set down that sticking with it so religiously tends to come across more as self-denial than free expression. A six out of ten sort of evening, on the whole – more “if you like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you will like” rather than the sound of surprise…

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 4, 2010 8:17 pm

    (this post written after the event, then got stuck in draft… Oh well.)

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