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Damon Brown’s Ugetsu, Colston Hall, March 6

March 8, 2012

Tony Benjamin has reviewed this one for Venue, and was well tuned in, as usual.

Like he says, sometimes hard bop seems very rule-governed for music that features improvisation. I mean, these guys were good, but I often think nowadays that if I never hear a drummer exchanging fours with the band before they take the tune out again I really wouldn’t mind…

The crowd was pretty small, probably due to  a combination of the best-known-piano-player-in-this-style-in-Japan not pulling in the punters and maybe a Tuesday night – who knows?

Would have been a shame to miss, though, for the sparkly piano solos from Yutaka Shiina, Damon Brown and Ed Jones’ digging deep into the changes and, perhaps the most ear-catching when he took the spotlight, the prodigious bass playing of expatriate-Austrian (now resident in Seoul) bass maestro Martin Zenker.

We were told the band was named Ugetsu after an earlier ensemble of Zenker’s, which was confusing as I’d linked it with the Art Blakey album – and Cedar Walton tune – of the same name. But maybe Zenker’s band paid homage to them. The music tonight certainly did…

Anyway, there’s a bunch of wallet-lightening gigs coming up, but Ian Storror’s next date at Colston, on March 27th (Tuesday again) is unmissable. Not only do we get the maker of one of the recordings in literally every critic’s best of year lists for 2011, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, but also the remarkable Robert Mitchell’s piano trio: has to be one of the nights of the year.

 

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