Contemporary in feel but with obvious relationships to the jazz they have inherited this band showed the skills of the technician and the creativity of the new generation. Phil Meadows sax playing could be as fluent as anyone’s yet he restrained himself by playing sensitive ballads for much of the night.
A gradual climax or tempo change brought intensity to many of the numbers followed precisely by all of the musicians clearly well used to sensing the direction changes involved. Joe Downard’s bass was a powerful underpinning of everything which was played and his soloing revealed the imaginative musicianship of the ensemble.
Michael de Souza’s guitar provided accompaniment with stabs and fills to stir thing up or help them along and his extended solos were as far from at risk of including a quote as could be imagined. Jay Davies was right in the centre of the mode of playing shown by his generation with no obvious time-keeping or groove-making. This semi- abstract approach reminds me of the impact Martin France made when he first burst onto the scene and people asked “… but where’s the swing?”. Everything is still precisely there but at a remove or two.
Phil Meadows – alto saxophone
Michael de Souza – guitar
Joe Downard – bass
Jay Davies – drums
© C de Saram 25.11.2017