The Jazz Mann | Ashley John Long, Glen Manby & Friends. - Ashley John Long, Glen Manby & Friends, Brecon Jazz Festival 2017, The Muse,  Brecon, 13/08/2017. | Review | The Jazz Mann

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Ashley John Long, Glen Manby & Friends. - Ashley John Long, Glen Manby & Friends, Brecon Jazz Festival 2017, The Muse,  Brecon, 13/08/2017. Rating: 3-5 out of 5 The unusual combination of instruments in this one off collaboration was a constant source of interest and fascination and the group were rewarded with an excellent reception from the audience.

BRECON JAZZ FESTIVAL 2017

ASHLEY JOHN LONG, GLEN MANBY &  FRIENDS, THE MUSE ARTS CENTRE, BRECON, 13/08/2017.

The second event of the day to take place at The Muse featured a group co-led by two prominent Cardiff based musicians, Ashley John Long and Glen Manby.

Long is best known as a virtuoso player of the double bass across a variety of jazz and classical genres and has been written about in this context many times on the Jazzmann web pages. However today’s concert presented the intriguing prospect of seeing Long co-leading a band while playing his second instrument, the vibraphone. I’d previously seen Long wielding the mallets at a gig by Cardiff cult favourites Heavy Quartet in December 2015 which saw him surprising and delighting the audience with his four mallet technique. He demonstrated a dazzling level of ability on his “second” instrument and revealed himself to be an outrageously talented all round musician. He has since played a number of other gigs leading his own groups from the vibes and has become an increasingly in demand exponent of the instrument.

Glen Manby is an alto saxophonist and composer based in Cardiff    who has been a mainstay of the South Wales Jazz scene for many years leading his own small groups ranging from trio to quintet.  I first recall seeing him play way back in 1994 when he led his quartet in a performance at the now long defunct Cardiff Bay International Jazz Festival.

Manby was also a member of the cult Cardiff band - and Brecon Jazz Festival favourites - The Root Doctors led by trombonist/vocalist Mike Harries. Currently he is a member of Chapter Four, the house band at Cardiff’s Chapter Arts Centre and is also a part of various ensembles led by composer Paul Hornsby including big band The Collective and the newly formed eight piece Octopia.

Apart from regular gigging with a wide range of musicians, both local and national, Manby has found time to study jazz more formally in New York, Lausanne and Cardiff and currently holds a part time teaching post at the Music School of Cardiff University.

In early 2017 he released “Homecoming”, an accomplished album featuring primarily original material made in the company of a stellar group of London based musicians comprising of Steve Waterman (trumpet), Leon Greening (piano), Adam King (double bass) and Matt Home (drums).

This afternoon’s one off performance of mainly standard material saw the co-leaders being joined in a variety of instrumental configurations by their Friends including Pete Komor (double bass), Atsuko Shimada (piano), Zach Breskal (drums) and Rod Paton (french horn).

The performance began with the ‘chamber jazz’ trio of Long, Manby and Komor on a version of the much loved standard “Stella By Starlight”. The piece was introduced by a twinkling passage of lyrical, unaccompanied vibes with Long deploying four mallets in the style of the great Gary Burton. This was followed by a dialogue between Long and Manby prior to the addition of Komor’s bass. More conventional jazz solos followed with Manby going first on alto followed by Long and Komor. 

The group was expanded to a quintet with the addition of Shimada, who was playing her third gig of the Festival weekend, and Breskal who was playing his second show of of the day. Thus constituted the group performed the standard “Days of Wine and Roses”, their version based on an arrangement by the great Bill Evans. Solos here came from Manby, Long, Shimada and Komor with Breskal delivering a series of lively drum breaks as he traded fours with the co-leaders.

The quintet upped the energy levels on Nika’s Dream, a typically lively and rhythmic composition by Horace Silver. Indeed Long built up such a head of steam on his solo that he lost a couple of mallets, a reminder that he is human after all and that the vibraphone is actually his ‘second instrument’. Despite grinning ruefully he hardly missed a beat as he carried on with his solo with two mallets, just as dazzling in the style of Milt Jackson as he was in that of Gary Burton. In a version based on Art Blakey’s arrangement of the tune further solos came from Manby on alto and Shimada at the piano.

The only original of the set was Manby’s composition “Mayfly”, a tune from his recent “Homecoming” album.  This highly melodic piece represented a good showcase for Manby as both player and composer as he introduced the piece on alto and took the first solo, followed by Long and Shimada as Breskal offered subtly brushed support.

The addition of Paton on french horn expanded the group even further as he doubled up with Manby on the theme statement of the standard “I Will Never Find Another You”. Subsequent solos came from Paton on French horn, Long at the vibes (still deploying two mallets), Manby on alto and Shimada on piano with Breskal again turning in a series of drum breaks.  Paton then rounded off the piece with a solo french horn cadenza. It was interesting to see the instrument being used in a jazz context. Attempting a quick roll call of other jazz french horn players photographer Bob Meyrick and I could only come up with Jim Rattigan, John Clark and Vincent Chancey. If anybody reading this knows of others do please let us know!

Paton remained with the group for Jobim’s bossa “Triste”, this time stating the theme with Shimada prior to further solos from Long, Paton and Manby. Shimada’s closing solo delivered some of her most expansive and passionate playing of the set, definitely one of the afternoon’s highlights.

The energetic hard bop of Wayne Shorter’s “Black Nile” closed the proceedings on a high with spirited solos from all six musicians with Manby going first followed by Paton, Long, Shimada, Komor and Breskal. The young drummer was offered more solo space in this all instrumental context than he was earlier with the Annette Gregory group and he seized the opportunity to impress, while also establishing himself as an accomplished and sympathetic accompanist.

This was an entertaining and good natured set, a little ragged at times, but with some excellent playing from all concerned. The unusual combination of instruments in this one off collaboration was a constant source of interest and fascination and the group were rewarded with an excellent reception from an appreciative audience at The Muse.

 

Ashley John Long, Glen Manby & Friends, Brecon Jazz Festival 2017, The Muse,  Brecon, 13/08/2017.

Ashley John Long, Glen Manby & Friends.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Reviewed by: Ian Mann

Live Review

3-5 out of 5

Ashley John Long, Glen Manby & Friends, Brecon Jazz Festival 2017, The Muse,  Brecon, 13/08/2017.
Photography: Photograph of Pete Komor and Ashley John Long by Bob Meyrick

The unusual combination of instruments in this one off collaboration was a constant source of interest and fascination and the group were rewarded with an excellent reception from the audience.

BRECON JAZZ FESTIVAL 2017

ASHLEY JOHN LONG, GLEN MANBY &  FRIENDS, THE MUSE ARTS CENTRE, BRECON, 13/08/2017.

The second event of the day to take place at The Muse featured a group co-led by two prominent Cardiff based musicians, Ashley John Long and Glen Manby.

Long is best known as a virtuoso player of the double bass across a variety of jazz and classical genres and has been written about in this context many times on the Jazzmann web pages. However today’s concert presented the intriguing prospect of seeing Long co-leading a band while playing his second instrument, the vibraphone. I’d previously seen Long wielding the mallets at a gig by Cardiff cult favourites Heavy Quartet in December 2015 which saw him surprising and delighting the audience with his four mallet technique. He demonstrated a dazzling level of ability on his “second” instrument and revealed himself to be an outrageously talented all round musician. He has since played a number of other gigs leading his own groups from the vibes and has become an increasingly in demand exponent of the instrument.

Glen Manby is an alto saxophonist and composer based in Cardiff    who has been a mainstay of the South Wales Jazz scene for many years leading his own small groups ranging from trio to quintet.  I first recall seeing him play way back in 1994 when he led his quartet in a performance at the now long defunct Cardiff Bay International Jazz Festival.

Manby was also a member of the cult Cardiff band - and Brecon Jazz Festival favourites - The Root Doctors led by trombonist/vocalist Mike Harries. Currently he is a member of Chapter Four, the house band at Cardiff’s Chapter Arts Centre and is also a part of various ensembles led by composer Paul Hornsby including big band The Collective and the newly formed eight piece Octopia.

Apart from regular gigging with a wide range of musicians, both local and national, Manby has found time to study jazz more formally in New York, Lausanne and Cardiff and currently holds a part time teaching post at the Music School of Cardiff University.

In early 2017 he released “Homecoming”, an accomplished album featuring primarily original material made in the company of a stellar group of London based musicians comprising of Steve Waterman (trumpet), Leon Greening (piano), Adam King (double bass) and Matt Home (drums).

This afternoon’s one off performance of mainly standard material saw the co-leaders being joined in a variety of instrumental configurations by their Friends including Pete Komor (double bass), Atsuko Shimada (piano), Zach Breskal (drums) and Rod Paton (french horn).

The performance began with the ‘chamber jazz’ trio of Long, Manby and Komor on a version of the much loved standard “Stella By Starlight”. The piece was introduced by a twinkling passage of lyrical, unaccompanied vibes with Long deploying four mallets in the style of the great Gary Burton. This was followed by a dialogue between Long and Manby prior to the addition of Komor’s bass. More conventional jazz solos followed with Manby going first on alto followed by Long and Komor. 

The group was expanded to a quintet with the addition of Shimada, who was playing her third gig of the Festival weekend, and Breskal who was playing his second show of of the day. Thus constituted the group performed the standard “Days of Wine and Roses”, their version based on an arrangement by the great Bill Evans. Solos here came from Manby, Long, Shimada and Komor with Breskal delivering a series of lively drum breaks as he traded fours with the co-leaders.

The quintet upped the energy levels on Nika’s Dream, a typically lively and rhythmic composition by Horace Silver. Indeed Long built up such a head of steam on his solo that he lost a couple of mallets, a reminder that he is human after all and that the vibraphone is actually his ‘second instrument’. Despite grinning ruefully he hardly missed a beat as he carried on with his solo with two mallets, just as dazzling in the style of Milt Jackson as he was in that of Gary Burton. In a version based on Art Blakey’s arrangement of the tune further solos came from Manby on alto and Shimada at the piano.

The only original of the set was Manby’s composition “Mayfly”, a tune from his recent “Homecoming” album.  This highly melodic piece represented a good showcase for Manby as both player and composer as he introduced the piece on alto and took the first solo, followed by Long and Shimada as Breskal offered subtly brushed support.

The addition of Paton on french horn expanded the group even further as he doubled up with Manby on the theme statement of the standard “I Will Never Find Another You”. Subsequent solos came from Paton on French horn, Long at the vibes (still deploying two mallets), Manby on alto and Shimada on piano with Breskal again turning in a series of drum breaks.  Paton then rounded off the piece with a solo french horn cadenza. It was interesting to see the instrument being used in a jazz context. Attempting a quick roll call of other jazz french horn players photographer Bob Meyrick and I could only come up with Jim Rattigan, John Clark and Vincent Chancey. If anybody reading this knows of others do please let us know!

Paton remained with the group for Jobim’s bossa “Triste”, this time stating the theme with Shimada prior to further solos from Long, Paton and Manby. Shimada’s closing solo delivered some of her most expansive and passionate playing of the set, definitely one of the afternoon’s highlights.

The energetic hard bop of Wayne Shorter’s “Black Nile” closed the proceedings on a high with spirited solos from all six musicians with Manby going first followed by Paton, Long, Shimada, Komor and Breskal. The young drummer was offered more solo space in this all instrumental context than he was earlier with the Annette Gregory group and he seized the opportunity to impress, while also establishing himself as an accomplished and sympathetic accompanist.

This was an entertaining and good natured set, a little ragged at times, but with some excellent playing from all concerned. The unusual combination of instruments in this one off collaboration was a constant source of interest and fascination and the group were rewarded with an excellent reception from an appreciative audience at The Muse.

 


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