Richard Pite Hot Five, Tron Kirk, Friday July 17th ****
It’s a shame more people weren’t at the mid-afternoon gig by the Richard Pite Hot Five yesterday. Maybe the falling-off in punters was due to the unfamiliar name of the bandleader (or the Bertie Wooster bow tie he sports in the brochure’s profile pic) – or maybe it was down to the jazz festival’s blurb which mentioned “classic” jazz, but failed to mention who the rest of the band members were. Whatever the reason, this quintet deserved better.
Indeed, it would have been good to know in advance that the front line comprised trumpeter Ryan Quigley and clarinettist Peter Long (not that he bothered to say who he was until an audience member, exasperated by his repeated roll calls which culminated in “me – on clarinet”, asked “who are you?!”).
Quigley’s performance was worth the ticket price alone. On tune after tune, his solos –the epitome of musical swagger and imaginative style – were like electric shocks which jolted the music with their energy. Long must have been thinking along similar lines because no sooner had Quigley had his Frankenstein effect on Honeysuckle Rose than Long announced the next tune as an audience participation exercise, wherein participants had to shout out the title on cue during the number.
It was Puttin’ On the Ritz, clearly inspired by Mel Brooks’s Young Frankenstein version – and it turned out to be the highlight of the festival thus far. Not because of the audience participation (more voltage required to bring that crowd to life) but because of the sensational playing by all concerned.
* First published in The Scotsman, Saturday July 18th
* Mood Indigo
* Honeysuckle Rose
* Puttin’ On the Ritz
* Tea For Two
* Sweet Georgia Brown