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Deirdre Cartwright Band & Friends - Deirdre Cartwright Band & Friends, Brecon Jazz Festival, 09/08/2015. Rating: 4 out of 5 Clearly a good deal of thought had gone into the planning and on the whole the show worked very well with all five musicians acquitting themselves superbly.

Brecon Jazz Festival 2015


Deirdre Cartwright Band & Friends, The Guildhall, 09/08/2015.

The third and final event of an afternoon celebrating ‘The Jazz Guitar’ was this performance by a quintet led by London based guitarist Deirdre Cartwright which included two other guitarists, local heroes Will Barnes and Tom Ollendorff, plus Cardiff based drummer Greg Evans and Cartwright’s long term friend and collaborator bassist Alison Rayner. It was promoted by Brecon Jazz Club in association with Jazz Heritage Wales.

Deirdre Cartwright is probably best known to the general public as the guitarist on the TV series “Rockschool” but she is also an experienced jazz performer who first came to prominence in the 1980s as a member of the all female band The Guest Stars, a group that also featured Alison Rayner. I recall seeing the Guest Stars on the Stroller programme at Brecon Jazz Festival more years ago than I care to remember!

Cartwright is also a successful solo artist who has recorded several albums with various editions of the Deidre Cartwright Group, all of which have included Rayner as the bass player. Cartwright and Rayner also co-ordinate Blow The Fuse, an organisation dedicated to raising the profile of British jazz and with a particular emphasis on promoting the work of female jazz musicians. Besides promoting regular club nights, particularly at London’s Vortex Jazz Bar, Blow The Fuse also runs its own record label which serves as an outlet for both Cartwright and Rayner. Rayner’s début as a leader, “August”, a live recording captured at The Vortex by a band featuring Cartwright, was released on the label to considerable critical acclaim during 2014.

Invited by Brecon Jazz Club to appear as part of the ‘Jazz Guitar’ programme Cartwright and Rayner decided to present a show honouring the memories of two influential guitarists who were both lost to the world far too early, Wes Montgomery (1925-68) and Emily Remler (1957-90). It’s perhaps somewhat ironic that Remler recorded a tribute to Montgomery herself, the album “East to Wes” in 1988.

Today’s performance began with a lively interpretation of “Road Song”, a Montgomery tune that the composer recorded with the great jazz organist Jimmy Smith. Solos came from all three guitarists plus Rayner at the bass and Evans with a series of drum breaks as the musicians introduced themselves to the audience.

The seeds for this project were probably sown by Cartwright’s 2011 album “Emily Remembered”, a celebration of Remler’s music recorded with fellow guitarist Kathy Dyson. From this album came Remler’s arrangement of the standard “Softly As In A Morning Sunrise”  played in a trio format with Evans’ brushed drums underpinning solos from Cartwright on guitar and Rayner at the bass.
The same trio then performed Mongomery’s arrangement of “Leaper’s Dream”, a tune by the prolific pianist and composer Horace Silver.

In 1985 Remler recorded a duo album, “Together”, with fellow guitarist Larry Coryell. The album included a version of the Antonio Carlos Jobim tune “How Insensitive” which was performed here by the three guitarists as the rhythm section left the stage for a brief rest. This turned out to be one of the set highlights, a tightly focussed performance featuring intertwining melodic lines and rhythmic patterns and solos from Barnes, Ollendorff and Cartwright in turn.  Ollendorff has developed a penchant for singing wordless melodies along with his solos, something that proved to be both distinctive and strangely charming in this context.
A personal aside - I still remember the trio of Guitarist Pat Metheny, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Roy Haynes performing a version of this tune at the nearby Market Hall at the 1992 Festival!

Ollendorff was now the only musician to remain on stage as he performed a solo version of “My One And Only Love” in an arrangement inspired by Montgomery’s orchestral version of the tune. The young guitarist was then joined by Rayner and Evans for a trio rendition of “Everything I Love”, the tune gradually developing momentum as it progressed through solos by Ollendorff and Rayner plus a series of brushed drum breaks from Evans.

Remler was mentored by the great Herb Ellis (1921 - 2010) and her tune “Blues for Herb” saw the full quintet back on stage with guitarists Cartwright, Barnes and Ollendorff playfully trading licks and solos prior to features for both Evans and Rayner. 

It was then time for Will Barnes to take centre stage, firstly with a solo version of “There Will Never Be Another You” and then a trio reading of John Coltrane’s “Impressions” in the company of Rayner and Evans. The Coltrane piece also featured a solo from Rayner plus the scat singing of Barnes and it represented a departure from the Django Reinhardt style jazz the guitarist normally performs with the groups Gypsy Fire and his own Inspector Gadjo band, although it has to be said that the latter also includes a pronounced bebop influence.

A quartet consisting of Cartwright, Rayner, Ollendorff and Evans performed Thelonious Monk’s ballad “Round Midnight” with the solos deliberately being kept short and succinct. Introducing the tune Cartwright remarked that her professional relationship with Rayner dated back some thirty five years but that the London based pair had only known their South Walian band mates for about three and a half hours! Nevertheless united by the common language of jazz and by their shared love for the music of Montgomery and Remler plus a good internet connection they had put together an excellent programme of music that had respectfully honoured the two dedicatees and which had included some terrific playing for the Guildhall audience to enjoy.

Re-united as a quintet they closed with Montgomery’s “Four On Six”, “not a time signature reference” explained Cartwright, “just four fingers and six strings”. The five musicians swung their way through this joyously with solos from all three guitar players plus features for bass and drums.

This well received event represented another triumph for Brecon Jazz Club and completed a hugely successful series of events celebrating the role of ‘The Jazz Guitar’. Despite the semi impromptu nature of the event I was very impressed with the way this final show was structured with the breaking down of the quintet into smaller component units allowing for a greater degree of dynamic and stylistic diversity. It worked far better than a five piece band, and one containing three guitars at that,would have done merely playing head/solos/head variations. Clearly a good deal of thought had gone into the planning and on the whole the show worked very well with all five musicians acquitting themselves superbly. I was particularly pleased for Ollendorff, a recent graduate of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama who got the opportunity to impress a large and appreciative audience, also too for Greg Evans, a real stalwart of the South Wales jazz scene. 

 

Deirdre Cartwright Band & Friends, Brecon Jazz Festival, 09/08/2015.

Deirdre Cartwright Band & Friends

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Reviewed by: Ian Mann

Live Review

4 out of 5

Deirdre Cartwright Band & Friends, Brecon Jazz Festival, 09/08/2015.
Photography: Photograph of Deirdre Cartwright and Will Barnes by Bob Meyrick

Clearly a good deal of thought had gone into the planning and on the whole the show worked very well with all five musicians acquitting themselves superbly.

Brecon Jazz Festival 2015


Deirdre Cartwright Band & Friends, The Guildhall, 09/08/2015.

The third and final event of an afternoon celebrating ‘The Jazz Guitar’ was this performance by a quintet led by London based guitarist Deirdre Cartwright which included two other guitarists, local heroes Will Barnes and Tom Ollendorff, plus Cardiff based drummer Greg Evans and Cartwright’s long term friend and collaborator bassist Alison Rayner. It was promoted by Brecon Jazz Club in association with Jazz Heritage Wales.

Deirdre Cartwright is probably best known to the general public as the guitarist on the TV series “Rockschool” but she is also an experienced jazz performer who first came to prominence in the 1980s as a member of the all female band The Guest Stars, a group that also featured Alison Rayner. I recall seeing the Guest Stars on the Stroller programme at Brecon Jazz Festival more years ago than I care to remember!

Cartwright is also a successful solo artist who has recorded several albums with various editions of the Deidre Cartwright Group, all of which have included Rayner as the bass player. Cartwright and Rayner also co-ordinate Blow The Fuse, an organisation dedicated to raising the profile of British jazz and with a particular emphasis on promoting the work of female jazz musicians. Besides promoting regular club nights, particularly at London’s Vortex Jazz Bar, Blow The Fuse also runs its own record label which serves as an outlet for both Cartwright and Rayner. Rayner’s début as a leader, “August”, a live recording captured at The Vortex by a band featuring Cartwright, was released on the label to considerable critical acclaim during 2014.

Invited by Brecon Jazz Club to appear as part of the ‘Jazz Guitar’ programme Cartwright and Rayner decided to present a show honouring the memories of two influential guitarists who were both lost to the world far too early, Wes Montgomery (1925-68) and Emily Remler (1957-90). It’s perhaps somewhat ironic that Remler recorded a tribute to Montgomery herself, the album “East to Wes” in 1988.

Today’s performance began with a lively interpretation of “Road Song”, a Montgomery tune that the composer recorded with the great jazz organist Jimmy Smith. Solos came from all three guitarists plus Rayner at the bass and Evans with a series of drum breaks as the musicians introduced themselves to the audience.

The seeds for this project were probably sown by Cartwright’s 2011 album “Emily Remembered”, a celebration of Remler’s music recorded with fellow guitarist Kathy Dyson. From this album came Remler’s arrangement of the standard “Softly As In A Morning Sunrise”  played in a trio format with Evans’ brushed drums underpinning solos from Cartwright on guitar and Rayner at the bass.
The same trio then performed Mongomery’s arrangement of “Leaper’s Dream”, a tune by the prolific pianist and composer Horace Silver.

In 1985 Remler recorded a duo album, “Together”, with fellow guitarist Larry Coryell. The album included a version of the Antonio Carlos Jobim tune “How Insensitive” which was performed here by the three guitarists as the rhythm section left the stage for a brief rest. This turned out to be one of the set highlights, a tightly focussed performance featuring intertwining melodic lines and rhythmic patterns and solos from Barnes, Ollendorff and Cartwright in turn.  Ollendorff has developed a penchant for singing wordless melodies along with his solos, something that proved to be both distinctive and strangely charming in this context.
A personal aside - I still remember the trio of Guitarist Pat Metheny, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Roy Haynes performing a version of this tune at the nearby Market Hall at the 1992 Festival!

Ollendorff was now the only musician to remain on stage as he performed a solo version of “My One And Only Love” in an arrangement inspired by Montgomery’s orchestral version of the tune. The young guitarist was then joined by Rayner and Evans for a trio rendition of “Everything I Love”, the tune gradually developing momentum as it progressed through solos by Ollendorff and Rayner plus a series of brushed drum breaks from Evans.

Remler was mentored by the great Herb Ellis (1921 - 2010) and her tune “Blues for Herb” saw the full quintet back on stage with guitarists Cartwright, Barnes and Ollendorff playfully trading licks and solos prior to features for both Evans and Rayner. 

It was then time for Will Barnes to take centre stage, firstly with a solo version of “There Will Never Be Another You” and then a trio reading of John Coltrane’s “Impressions” in the company of Rayner and Evans. The Coltrane piece also featured a solo from Rayner plus the scat singing of Barnes and it represented a departure from the Django Reinhardt style jazz the guitarist normally performs with the groups Gypsy Fire and his own Inspector Gadjo band, although it has to be said that the latter also includes a pronounced bebop influence.

A quartet consisting of Cartwright, Rayner, Ollendorff and Evans performed Thelonious Monk’s ballad “Round Midnight” with the solos deliberately being kept short and succinct. Introducing the tune Cartwright remarked that her professional relationship with Rayner dated back some thirty five years but that the London based pair had only known their South Walian band mates for about three and a half hours! Nevertheless united by the common language of jazz and by their shared love for the music of Montgomery and Remler plus a good internet connection they had put together an excellent programme of music that had respectfully honoured the two dedicatees and which had included some terrific playing for the Guildhall audience to enjoy.

Re-united as a quintet they closed with Montgomery’s “Four On Six”, “not a time signature reference” explained Cartwright, “just four fingers and six strings”. The five musicians swung their way through this joyously with solos from all three guitar players plus features for bass and drums.

This well received event represented another triumph for Brecon Jazz Club and completed a hugely successful series of events celebrating the role of ‘The Jazz Guitar’. Despite the semi impromptu nature of the event I was very impressed with the way this final show was structured with the breaking down of the quintet into smaller component units allowing for a greater degree of dynamic and stylistic diversity. It worked far better than a five piece band, and one containing three guitars at that,would have done merely playing head/solos/head variations. Clearly a good deal of thought had gone into the planning and on the whole the show worked very well with all five musicians acquitting themselves superbly. I was particularly pleased for Ollendorff, a recent graduate of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama who got the opportunity to impress a large and appreciative audience, also too for Greg Evans, a real stalwart of the South Wales jazz scene. 

 


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