The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh, September 1st, 2007

I paid my first visit to The Jazz Bar in Edinburgh on Saturday, and very
nice it was too. It’s a small basement venue in Chambers Street, run by
drummer Bill Kyle, which puts on live jazz most evenings, and either a
second live set or a DJ late at night.

On Saturdays the band is Bill Kyle’s World Premiere Quintet: Kyle, plus
an ad hoc selection of young musicians who don’t normally play together.
It’s one stage up from a jam session, I suppose, and restricts them to
playing (jazz) standards rather than originals. This version of the band
played a lot of Monk tunes, which seemed to particularly suit alto player
Lachlan McLean – an Australian musician who had come over for the
Edinburgh Fringe. I thought he was a particularly fine player, with a
style of his own: he played a lot of shortish, at times almost hesitant
phrases, rather than long flowing lines, but everything he did made
perfect musical sense. If he was a pianist, he’d be Thelonious Monk rather
than Bud Powell. The rest of the band were fine too – Philip Cardwell on
trumpet, Tom Gibb on piano, and Andy Robb on bass – but it was McLean who
made the biggest impression on me.

Oh, and the Jazz Bar serves the most appropriate beer you can have in a
Scottish jazz venue: Deuchar’s.