Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Review – the Joel Allison Quartet Kirkmahoe Concerts Saturday 26 March

The Barony Church Dalswinton

On a beautiful Spring afternoon the Joel Allison Quartet performed a concert of contemporary jazz at the Barony Church, Dalswinton. Anchored by the rock solid electric bass of the bandleader and kept rhythmically fresh throughout by the constant invention of drummer John Powney, the quartet moved effortlessly from atmospheric improvisation to standards like My Funny Valentine, as well as blues and modern jazz compositions.

Mark Townson electric guitar, Kenji Fenton saxophone, John Powney drums, Joel Allison bass guitar.
Mark Townson’s electric guitar (occasionally sounding like a Hammond organ) wove complex textures of sound, from low volume filigree runs to hard-edged blues inflected chords. At times the inter-play between him and Allison was breathtaking, and always inventive and thoughtful.
 The star of the show however was undoubtedly Kenji Fenton, a young tenor sax player who filled the superb acoustics of the Barony Church with a wall of sound that thrilled the audience. Equally at home on ballads, up-tempo blues and heavy syncopation, Fenton produced infinite variety in dazzling solos, shoulder-shrugging musical asides and close interplay with Townson on the main themes.
Stained glass window in the Barony Church
Outstanding numbers included Chick Corea’s Sea Journey; a barn storming sax solo on Freddy Hubbard’s Red Clay and restrained harmonics on Wayne Shorter’s Footprints. Unforgettable however was the joyously infectious rendition of Sonny Rollins’ calypso-like St Thomas. ‘Saxaphone heaven’ was how one Kirkmahoe Concerts regular described it, and no one would demur.

Don’t miss the next Kirkmahoe Concert on Saturday evening 28 May, when outstanding traditional musicians Chris Stout (fiddle) and Catriona McKay (harp) will be with us at Kirkton Church. For tickets call David Clark on 01387 740045.

(If picture on video is not showing all of the group click on the title of the video, and it should fix this.)

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