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Mike Collins Trio, Beb-bop club, October 7

October 11, 2011

Another standing room only evening – Bristol seems to have rediscovered the Beb-Bop club since the Bear’s makeover of the back room – and another absorbing two sets, this time from Bath-resident jazz blogger and piano player Mike Collins. (A note on the last time I caught him in action, a couple of years back, here).

Nice to hear him on acoustic piano, and with the trio augmented by saxophonist Lee Goodall. The reed man is a punchy player who, I note irrelevantly, bears a passing resemblance to John Simpson, and fitted in well with the trio, especially with the always excellent Greg Cordez on bass. Drummer Trevor Davies was hard to weigh up with memories of Anton Eger so strong – and I mean strong – from the previous evening. They certainly offer a contrast in timekeeping styles. Eger’s left leg was in motion the entire time, but I don’t think he brought the high-hat down on the beat even once. Davies does that on every beat, on every number, which to my mind cramps the music a bit, effective though it can be in some contexts.

The pianist began in what I think of as a characteristic mood. His playing is reflective and often conveys even the sweetest sounding melodies with a tinge of something melancholic. It’s an effect I associate with Jobim’s composing and the first piece sounded as if it might have been his, though as far as I remember it wasn’t. The rest was a nicely paced mix of standards and self-penned pieces. The second set was particularly shrewdly judged, with the free-est excursion of the evening welcoming us back from the bar like a palate cleanser, and a finish with a gospelly blues which sent everyone away with a whoop and a smile.

Mike has written a few times recently about the efforts of a devoted musician who makes his living doing other things to get gigs booked, and it was great to see this quartet in such generally good form, and with an appreciative crowd. Encouragement, I hope, for continued efforts to keep the show on the road!

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