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Glasgow Art Club, Thursday 14th October 2010

One of the things I like about jazz is, as Sir Thomas Beecham almost said, the noise it makes. And the Tom Gibbs – Euan Burton group which played at Glasgow Art Club is a band with a great sound, particularly on the slower pieces.

Although the quartet is co-led by the bass player and the pianist, their set opened with a minute or two of duo playing by saxophonist Phil Bancroft and drummer Chris Wallace before the others joined in. Most of the material came from Burton and Gibbs’ recent Forgotten Things album, plus three numbers from Burton’s forthcoming Occurrences release.

Time and time again throughout this concert, Bancroft reminded us what a fine ballad player he can be, getting a lovely warm medium-weight tone from his tenor. At the end of the evening I spotted him putting away a soprano sax, but he didn’t use it during the set. Euan Burton was very impressive, not playing much in the way of solos but concentrating on laying down solid accompaniments while getting a rich warm (that word again!) bass sound. Gibbs generally played inventive acoustic piano, but on a couple of tunes switched to a red retro-looking electric piano to introduce hints of early 70s fusion into the music. Chris Wallace managed to add colour and atmosphere while avoiding playing anything which would over-power the rest of the band.

Overall, a very good concert, especially in the slow-to-medium tunes. The faster pieces were fine too, but it was during the less frenetic moments that the sheer attractiveness of the quartet’s sound really came to the fore.

The concert was also reviewed in the Herald.

John Kenny’s Red Shift

Note that this week’s Bridge Jazz concert, by John Kenny’s Red Shift, an octet with an unconventional five trombones plus rhythm line-up, is on Wednesday not Thursday.