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Recital Rooms, Glasgow City Hall, 15th March 2008

How many people are there in a quartet? Well, based on the principle that the Benny Goodman Sextet and the Henry Threadgill Sextett both had seven members, it shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise to discover five people on stage for what was billed as a concert by a quartet. Konrad Wisniewski always referred to his band as the quintet, though, so presumably there was a change in line-up between the tickets being printed and the band starting their tour.

The instrumentation was the same as that on Wisniewski’s debut CD: piano (Paul Harrison), guitar (Mark McKnight), bass (Euan Burton) and drums (Doug Hough). McKnight, from Belfast, was a new name to me, but was very good, playing some interesting rhythm patterns as well as some fine jazzy solos. The set was made up of originals by Wisniewski, Burton and McKnight, with the latter’s tunes being a bit more traditionally boppy than those by the two Scots.

Once a few initial sound problems had been fixed this turned into a very fine concert indeed. All the musicians were excellent, but it was Konrad Wisniewski himself who stood out. He’s become one of those musicians whose every note grabs your attention, without there being any feeling that he was showing off. Each generation of Scottish jazz seems to produce one great tenor player – Bobby Wellins, Tommy Smith – and I suspect that before long we’ll be talking about Konrad Wisniewski in the same terms.

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