by Trevor Bannister
January 16, 2015
Guest reviewer Trevor Bannister makes a welcome return to The Jazzmann with this account of a performance by trumpeter Gabriel Garrick with support from the young alto saxophonist Daniel Garel.
Gabriel Garrick with the Simon Cook Trio
Recital Room, South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell, Berkshire.
9th January 2015.
The guest soloist arrives on the bandstand. He greets the audience and warmly shakes the hands of the resident pianist, bass player and drummer. Written music is conspicuous by its absence, a tune is called with a smile and the simple exchange of a few words, the tempo set with the gentle tapping of the foot, sway of the hand and nod of the head. The pianist leads into the first number. It’s no wonder Whitney Balliett coined the phrase ?the sound of surprise’. No one knows where the music is heading, but the great joy of a live jazz gig is finding out as the magic unfolds.
Such an occasion took place in the convivial atmosphere and acoustically excellent surroundings of the Recital Room at Bracknell’s South Hill Park Arts Centre on the otherwise storm-swept evening of 9th January 2015 when trumpeter, Gabriel Garrick performed as the first guest of ?Bracknell Jazz 2015’ with the Simon Cook Trio. Daniel Garel’s, inventive and beautifully toned alto saxophone had already set the evening off to a promising start, as he filled the ?warm-up’ spot with a soaring set of standards from Victor Young, Freddie Hubbard and Wynton Marsalis, plus a fascinating composition of his own. Warmly received, he raised the hope that we might enjoy more of his playing later in the gig.
A slight shuffling of personnel, as young Ted Hayes, released the drum stool to McGill Anderson. With the resident trio now complete, trumpeter Gabriel Garrick took centre stage, and opened his set with a buoyant ?Take the “A” Train’, casting new light on the familiar strains of Billy Strayhorn’s classic, with his ringing tone, assured technique and good humour. John Klenner’s ?Just Friends’, an evergreen feature number for generations of jazzmen followed, before Garrick headed into funk territory with Herbie Hancock’s ?Watermelon Man’, set to a relaxingly soulful groove by Simon Cook and the rhythm section. A request for a ?Night In Tunisia’ brought the first half to a close with a storming version of the bebop classic, complete with the dazzling trumpet breaks that heralded the arrival of a new music in the 1940s.
Garrick opened the second set with ?Joy Spring’, perfectly capturing the warmth and subtle nuances of Clifford Brown’s composition. He switched to his mellow-toned ?piece of metal work’, the flugel-horn, to perform an exquisite interpretation of Freddie Hubbard’s ?Little Sunflower’, and continued the mood of gentle swing and reflection with ?Galilee’, from the pen of his late father, Michael. Each of these numbers drew especially fine solos from pianist Simon Cook and Andy Masters on bass, with sensitive support from McGill Anderson on drums.
To the delight of the audience, Garrick invited Daniel Garel back for the penultimate number of the evening and they launched into a ?Bracknell’ version of a ?no-holds-barred’, old-fashioned 52nd Street Jam Session with Charlie Parker’s ?Now’s The Time’. As the players locked in gladiatorial combat, the tune bounced back-and-forth, climaxing with an exciting series of exchanges between the front-line and drummer McGill Anderson. It would be fair to declare the final result a draw. ?It’s all about these,’ Garrick contended, pointing to his ears to emphasise the point that the ?cut and thrust’ of learning one’s craft on the bandstand is much more valuable than a theoretical education in the classroom.
Daniel Garel chose Wayne Shorter’s ?Footprints’ to close the evening; a haunting and evocative number, underpinned beautifully by Andy Masters’ bass, with trumpet and alto echoing each other in the front-line. If any further reminder was needed of how a group of gifted musicians can conjure magic spontaneously on the bandstand, this was it; a fitting close to an excellent evening of jazz.
Further details of the monthly programme for Bracknell Jazz are available on http://www.bracknelljazz.co.uk. The next session, on Friday 13th February, will feature Simon Spillett on tenor sax.
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