The spirit of the old Glasgow Society of Musicians – where this jazz fan first heard many of her favourite jazz players – is alive and well and may have finally found a new home, thanks to the Bridge Music series of concerts at the Glasgow Art Club. Warm and welcoming, cosy yet spacious, the art club has the same relaxed ambience of the Society’s Berkeley Street building and, based on Thursday night’s concert by the Classic Jazz Orchestra, it would certainly be a worthy successor as a venue for classic and mainstream jazz whose fans have generally not been well served in Glasgow for years.
That fact was underlined by the various mini-reunions going on between punters who used to frequent the GSOM. As the evening progressed, the audience swelled to include many younger concert-goers, undoubtedly lured by the deal that Bridge Music is offering to RSAMD students and their chums.
Of course, it helped enormously that the band appearing on the bill was the CJO, an outfit which never fails to draw a crowd, thanks to the fact that it varies its programme regularly and offers a rare chance to hear tunes from the 1920s onwards played as if they were brand new. Thursday night’s programme veered more to the 1950s and 1960s end of the repertoire, with stand-outs including a masterful version of The Waters of March in which the melody seemed to snake its way fluidly around the front line, Oliver Nelson’s airily cool Stolen Moments and Duke Ellington’s Happy Go Lucky Loco, a train-inspired piece which built up a terrific head of steam.