Winner of the Parliamentary Jazz Award for Best Media, 2019


Bryan Corbett

Pressure Valve

by Ian Mann

February 03, 2006


A very enjoyable "nu-jazz" album. Funk and dance orientated.

Here in deepest Herefordshire we take a certain vicarious pride when one of our own becomes famous in their chosen field.

Trumpeter Bryan Corbett hails from Bromyard and first learned to play in the town band. His love of jazz, however, soon found him sitting in with visiting professsionals at Ludlow jazz club when he was still a teenager.

After a spell at music college he relocated to Birmingham and has been a fixture on the Midlands jazz scene for a number of years now. However, Bryan has never forgotten his roots and the people who got him started, and he returns at least once a year to play at Leominster’s tiny, but intimate, ‘Blue Note’ venue. Quite a contrast with playing to crowds of thousands on the European Festival circuit last summer as part of the touring band of US3.

Incredibly this is Bryan’s fifth album as a leader, the first “Funk In The Deep Freeze” dating back to 1999. A live album recorded at the Ealing Jazz Festival the following year entitled “Simply Blue” showed his quintet of the time in fine form, and introduced him to a London audience.

High profile festival appearances at Cheltenham (2003) and London (2004) established him yet further and another live album with a new quartet line-up was recorded at the one-eleven club in Sheffield (now sadly defunct).

In between the live albums Bryan recorded “Corbenova” in 2003. The quality of his playing had never been in doubt, but by his own admission he found writing difficult with the title track on “Simply Blue” being the only original on his first two records.

“Corbenova” represented a radical departure as it was comprised entirely of original material and marked Bryan’s first experiments with electronica, beats, samples and programming. With its strong themes the album was a considerable success and helped him find work at the more funk and dance orientated end of the jazz spectrum - hence the tour with US3.

For his new album for the Woodland label based at Birmingham’s Custard Factory, Bryan has returned to the Corbenova style and has remixed a number of tracks from the earlier album. Vocals are much more to the fore this time around provided in the main by Lupa and by Lizzy Parks who has been tipped as a rising star herself.

Bryan’s smooth Freddie Hubbard style of playing is as sure as ever and he also makes his recording debut on flute.

“Pressure Valve” is a very enjoyable album. It’s “nu-jazz” approach may not appeal to everybody who is familiar with Bryan’s working quartet, but the high standard of playing should ensure that everyone will find something to enjoy here. My only criticism would be that some of the writing, good as it is, is not entirely new.

It’s great to see a local lad doing so well. Long may he prosper! Look out for his regular quartet gigs, featuring talented pianist Levi French.

Also look out for Herefordians Thad Kelly and Ben Hazelton who are both bass players, and fully professional on the London scene. Thad, son of local pianist/trumpeter Rod Kelly is regular bassist with the mighty jazz rock quartet ‘The Partisans’. He also works with the world music inflected ‘Orquestra Mahatma’ and with the madcap guitarist Billy Jenkins, who approaches his music with humour in the manner of a British Frank Zappa.

Ben Hazelton who also played at Leominster’s ‘Blue Note’ as a very young man has collaborated with pianist Zoe Rahman and saxophonist Tony Kofi. When he played in the band of trumpeter Damon Brown around three years ago his partner in the rhythm section was the incomparable drummer Sebastian Rochford.

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