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Recital Room, Glasgow City Halls, 13th September 2009

I’m fairly recently back from holiday, and struggling to catch up with a load of post-break stuff, so this review is a bit late and a bit less substantial than I’d like it to be. Sorry.

Janisch’s quintet was a mixture of British players (Jim Hart on vibes and Paul Booth on saxes) and Americans (drummer Clarence Penn and trumpet and flugelhorn player Jason Palmer). Penn was the big name in the band, but it was Palmer who most impressed me. He’d a lovely tone, used mutes and half-valving in a way which was simultaneously ultra-traditional and ultra-contemporary, and, most importantly, didn’t seem to be copying any of the obvious models.

The music, predominantly Janisch compositions, was a bit more adventurous and out than a lot of contemporary post-bop, but it never turned into fully-fledged free jazz. There was nice variety to it. Different sections used different permutations of band members. Janisch switched between acoustic double bass and bass guitar; Palmer played a fair amount of flugelhorn; Paul Booth played alto on one piece rather than his usual tenor; and Penn used a variety of different sticks and brushes to add colour to the music. If I’d one criticism, it would be that some of Janisch’s compositions were less memorable than others, but overall this gig was more about the playing and improvisation than the tunes. And his best pieces, for instance “Adelante” and “Lost Creek”, are very good indeed. An excellent start to this year’s Jazz International season, although I thought the turnout was slightly disappointing.

Euphbass was also at the concert, and has a review here. She’s also tracked down coverage of a couple of other dates on the tour: the Newcastle (from “Bebop Spoken Here”) gig and the one in Fishguard (from Ian “Jazzmann” Mann). There are also some photos from their Epsom show on the London Jazz Blog.