Tag Archives: Rose Theatre

Edinburgh Jazz Festival 2017: Ryan Quigley Quintet

Ryan Quigley Quintet Plays Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, Rose Theatre *****
 
Sunday afternoon’s concert by the Ryan Quigley Quintet could not have been better timed. By the closing weekend of the festival, jazz lag is inevitable – and the depressing weather didn’t exactly make venturing out to a gig seem like an appealing prospect. However, the music of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, played by the dynamic band headed by trumpeter Ryan Quigley, proved to be the perfect antidote; just what was required to blast the cobwebs away. 
 
For 90 minutes, this terrific quintet powered through the bebop repertoire, barely pausing for breath between numbers or coming up for air from their energetic solos. This was thrilling, edge-of-your-seat stuff – not least because of the excitement generated by the combination of Quigley and alto saxophonist Soweto Kinch in the front line, playing together for the first time in a decade and clearly getting a kick out of doing so. 
 
Even the ballads were energetic. Introducing All The Things You Are after telling the crowd that the opener, Dizzy Atmosphere, had perhaps been too fast, the wry Quigley promised to slow things down – only to produce a ballad so exciting that it induced whoops from the audience midway through. 
 
It wasn’t just the hot, fiery and flamboyant horn playing of Quigley and Kinch that worked the crowd into a frenzy in this rafters-raising concert; the rhythm section – Alan Benzie (piano), Mario Caribe (bass) and Alyn Cosker (drums) was superb as well; Benzie in particular making an impression with his dazzlingly inventive, witty and sophisticated soloing. In all, the ideal high note with which to end the festival.
 
* First published in The Herald on Tuesday July 25th

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Edinburgh Jazz Festival 2017: Tom Gordon 7 – Count Basie

Tom Gordon 7: Count Basie, Rose Theatre Basement *****
 
Drummer Tom Gordon has emerged in recent years as the go-to guy for a terrific Count Basie-themed gig. When his specially formed septet played the Edinburgh Jazz Festival a couple of years ago, it was a great concert with a horn section drawn from musicians who had performed in an Ellington tribute the night before.
 
The 2017 incarnation of the 7, as heard in the sweltering basement room of the new Rose Theatre venue, had an entirely different horn section – and, thanks in particular to the inclusion of the irrepressible English trumpeter Enrico Tomasso who is a veritable jazz dynamo, it was even more sensational than the last time.
 
Once Tomasso was unleashed for a solo on the opening number, the Basie theme, One O’Clock Jump, it was clear that we were in for a treat. The energetic trumpeter’s hot solo seemed to light a flame under the rest of the band; one which took hold properly about halfway into the gig when the cool, slick, sumptuous sounds of such classic Basie ballads as Silk Stockings and L’il Darlin’ gave way to a series of fiercely swinging numbers peppered with spicy, punch-packing solos from Tomasso and his fellow front-liners, Phil O’Malley (trombone) and – especially – Ruraidh Pattison (tenor saxophone).
 
Lady Be Good, Royal Garden Blues, Dickie’s Dream and Jumpin’ at the Woodside were all knockouts, with Ruraidh Pattison’s powerhouse, Illinois Jacquet-like, solos bringing the house down and the exciting little riffs cooked up by Tomasso to play with Pattison or O’Malley during solos helping to make this one of the best, most swinging, gigs yet in this year’s festival.
 
* First published in The Herald, Thursday July 20th

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Edinburgh Jazz Festival 2017: Swing’it Dixieband Play Disney

Swing’it Dixieband Play Disney, Rose Theatre ***

Saturday lunchtime’s concert at the Rose Theatre, a brand new venue which used to be a chapel, was certainly a popular choice with audiences. Not only did it offer shelter from the rain and wind, but it also provided some child-friendly jazz in the shape of the young Norwegian/English band Swing’it Dixieband which was offering a programme of music from Disney films and other animated movies.
 
This exuberant seven-piece group, which bounded on stage dressed in the trad jazz uniform of black and white plus straw boaters, also proved popular with young ladies – and this was possibly the first time that an out-of-town hen party has included an Edinburgh jazz festival gig in its itinerary. 
 
Led by a charismatic if slightly cocky Norwegian singer and trumpeter, who sounded like Joe Stilgoe when he sang and had an impressive, swinging trumpet style, the band’s charm, enthusiasm, humour and energy carried them through the hour-long gig and endeared them to the crowd to the extent that they probably brought their own audience to the Mardi Gras in the Grassmarket, which was their next port of call. Especially impressive was the clarinettist whose slightly squawky tone brought the great Pee Wee Russell’s (and the less great Woody Allen’s) to mind.
 
They may not have delivered particularly great jazz versions of Disney tunes but it was a treat nevertheless to hear the likes of Everybody Wants to Be a Cat (from The Aristrocats), Whistle Stop (from Robin Hood) and Cruella De Vil (from 101 Dalmations) being performed live – and the youngsters present went particularly nuts for the calypso sounds of Under the Sea.
* First published in The Herald, Monday July 17th

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