Recital Room, Glasgow City Halls, 8th June 2007

This concert was set up as part of the Scottish Arts Council’s Tune Up tour, which is designed to take interesting music to parts of the country which don’t hear many live concerts. On paper, it looked very good; in real life it was disappointing.

I found the music lacked a bit of light and shade. It was all incredibly intense, but the music didn’t breathe much. Towndrow himself was the most guilty of this: it was noticeable that after he’d been playing flat out in his solo, trumpeter Tom MacNiven would play a solo which was slower, gentler, and all the better for it. The compositions tended to stick to a fairly basic theme statement – solos – theme statement format, although Towndrow varied them a bit by not having everyone solo on every piece. It was by no means a bad gig, but it just lacked the wee bit of character to distinguish Towndrow from other straight-outta-Berklee sax players.

I’m also beginning to think there’s a problem with the sound in the Recital Room. Although the acoustics have been improved by putting a carpet on the floor, this wasn’t the first concert I’ve been at there where the piano tended to get drowned out by the horns when the full band was playing.

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