The Brownfield/Byrne Quintet (Kendal Jazz Club 2012)
From the moment that I heard Liam Byrne warming up his tenor
with a beautiful version of 'Nuages' I knew we were in for a
musical treat from the Brownfield-Byrne Quintet.
And so it proved, with these five young guys springing
surprise after pleasant surprise with both their choice and
treatment of material. Although I knew from their
reputation and from YouTube sampling that they had an
unusual respect for their jazz ancestors, I most certainly
didn't expect their first offering to be 'Way Down Yonder in
New Orleans', nor their third one to be 'Singing the Blues'
- (Bix, not Steele)
In fact, that was one of the highlights of the first half,
starting with a delightfully harmonised version of the
Bix/Trumbauer intro, and featuring contrasting solos from
Liam, who played very much in period, and Jamie Brownfield,
who soloed in the bop idiom while suggesting that Bix might
have done something similar had he been spared.
Such contrasts were the cloth from which the night was
tailored, because the following number was 'Dig', written by
bop altoist Jackie MacLean, but which turned out to be a
variant of 'Sweet Georgia Brown' with a dash of 'I Didn't
Know What Time It Was' thrown in.
Then it was back to well-loved standards with ' I Can't Give
You Anything but Love' featuring an outstanding duet
between bassist Nick Blacka and a tightly muted Jamie.
The first half finished with two more contrasting tunes:
'Dianily', based on 'Indiana' with intro and outro in true
Parker/Gillespie unison bop mode, and then 'Better Go', a
relaxed mid-period mid-tempo blues written by Harry Edison
which gave the whole band an opportunity to stretch out...
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