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Phil Robson’s IMS quintet, Future Inn, Cabot Circus, Jan 20th

January 21, 2011

A superband which engendered great expectations, then surpassed them. No need to say much, as reviews of the first two nights of their short tour, day one caught by LondonJazz, and by John Walters for the Guardian, both convey how special this group is. Robson is a world class guitarist, and composing for and playing with these guys must be a career highlight. Mark Turner is rivetting and drummer Ernesto Simpson a marvel. JLW compared him to Jack DeJohnette, and the comparison is close -something to do with lightness of touch, the cymbal sound, and the way the drums are tuned, as well as a superb, shifting commentary on what everyone else is doing. Michael Janisch on bass played, if possible, even better than on prevous visits to the club – this band just seem to inspire one another, and got better and better as the night went on. If there is a better night of contemporary jazz in the city this year, I’ll be surprised.

They have a few more gigs round the country – and a radio recording at the Vortex for Jazzon3. That’s good to know because this was the sort of multiple virtuoso performance, featuring complex new music, which demands a second hearing. Keen to have a set or two of this for repeat listening…

Normally, this would be the kind of gig which needs a few days to settle, and certainly doesn’t call for more music immediately. But we’re off to hear Richard Thompson at Colston on Saturday. Quite the week for guitar players.

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