Tag Archives: David Patrick

Edinburgh Jazz Festival 2011: We Love Louis

 We Love Louis, Queen’s Hall, Saturday July 24th ****

Singers Clairdee & Todd Gordon

Louis Armstrong was – as singer Clairdee pointed out at the tribute concert at the Queen’s Hall on Saturday – the first great jazz innovator and an influence on every player who followed him. But he was also, as Saturday’s show highlighted, one of the great pop singers of the 20th century, who sang songs by all the greats, was a beloved entertainer and always injected fun into the proceedings.

This side of him was brilliantly evoked by a generous programme which was stuffed with tunes from throughout Armstrong’s long career. Some – Jeepers Creepers, Basin Street Blues and Hello Dolly, for example – were more strongly associated with him than others (Love Is Here To Stay and Autumn in New York don’t leap to mind when his name is mentioned).

Nevertheless, the spirit of Satchmo was certainly in evidence throughout – in the All Stars-like line-up (a front line of trumpeter Leroy Jones, trombonist Katja Toivola and clarinettist/saxophonist Martin Foster) – and in the easy-going, good-natured rapport onstage, especially between singers Todd Gordon and the afore-mentioned Clairdee, a honey-voiced American, whose Scottish debut this was. Their duets from the Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong records were highlights of the night.

Indeed, with her show-stopping interpretation of Summertime – an elegantly restrained reading of the classic Gershwin ballad – and her gorgeous They Can’t Take That Away From Me, Clairdee probably guaranteed a few more bums on seats for her next jazz festival gig on Tuesday.

(First published in The Scotsman, Monday July 25th)

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Edinburgh Jazz Festival 2011: Leroy Jones Quintet

Leroy Jones Quintet, Spiegeltent, Friday July 22nd                                           ***                                                                                          The 33rd Edinburgh Jazz Festival started with a whimper rather than a bang. Why? Because the early evening gig in the Spiegeltent felt like an exercise in time-filling until something more exciting came along.

Trumpeter Leroy Jones may tick all the boxes – he’s a born and bred New Orleans musician, he’s served as a sideman to Harry Connick Jr and he’s got an entertaining stage presence which helps draw in the audience. However, the reality was that his gig was lacklustre; the playing largely unremarkable.

Sharing front line duties with his wife, the trombonist Katja Toivola, Jones offered one hackneyed standard from the trad repertoire after another. Fine for the tourists on Bourbon Street, perhaps, but, really if we have to hear another version of China Boy or Chinatown in our lifetimes, it really should be something spectacular and/or different.

That said, Jones’s peculiarity is that he sounds like a modern player – shades of Clifford Brown and Miles Davis were evident in his solos which veered between fast flurries of notes and cool minimalism – but playing in the New Orleans style. Based on the evidence onstage on Friday night, however, it’s not always a winning combination. Much more appealing were his vocal numbers, but the star of the show was his pianist-for-the-night, David Patrick, whose colourful, rollicking solos should have been the spark that ignited the band …

(First published in The Scotsman, Monday, July 25th)

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CD Recommendations

John Sheridan’s Dream Band: Hooray for Christmas! (Arbors Records) 

Yup, it’s an early Christmas album – and an early Christmas gift for anyone who likes to keep the music swinging through the “holiday season”. Pianist/bandleader Sheridan has compiled a lovely selection of off-the-beaten-track festive songs, several of which originate in movies set at Christmas time, and assembled a terrific band to play them. Among the individual stars in this 12-piece outfit are sunny-voiced singer Rebecca Kilgore; cornettists Warren Vache and Randy Reinhart, and clarinettist/saxophonists Dan Block and Scott Robinson.

Chet Baker: It Could Happen to You (OJC Remasters) 

This classic 1958 album is one of my all-time favourites, and it’s just been reissued with two more alternate takes than when it last came out on CD. The great trumpeter and singer Chet Baker interprets a superb collection of songs in his unique, wistful way, showcasing a vocal style which is plaintive-sounding even on the uptempo tracks. Unlike the other Chet Baker vocal albums, this one features scatting – which sounds like trumpet solos without the horn.. Ace singer-trumpeter, ace quartet; a must for anyone interested in jazz.

Ehud Asherie: Welcome to New York (Arbors Records) 

Asherie is a young Israeli-born, New York-based pianist who has soaked up influence from the great Harlem stride pianists as well from the bop masters. On this beautiful solo album, he reveals the most delicate, Waller-like of touches and a lyrical style which lends itself elegantly to the 13 Manhattan-themed tracks. Highlights include the rarely heard Lovers in New York (from Breakfast at Tiffany’s) and Manhattan Serenade, a theme used on everything from the 1936 comedy My Man Godfrey to the Tom and Jerry classic Mouse in Manhattan.

Stewart Forbes: High Five (Birnam CD) 

Scottish alto saxophonist Stewart Forbes’s memorable duo gig with pianist David Newton at the 2009 Glasgow Jazz Festival was undoubtedly the inspiration for this CD which finds him reunited with Newton, and playing duets with four other pianists – Mira Opalinska, Alan Benzie, David Patrick and Richard Michael. Forbes’s alto is forthright and feisty-sounding and, on the two Ellington numbers, he evokes beautifully the majesty of the great Johnny Hodges. The mix of pianists and moods works well, as does a two-track switch to soprano sax.

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