2019 Reviews & Pictures
by John Hellings
Kim Cypher Quartet
Tom Hill Trio
David Newton Trio
Kim Cypher Quartet
I know what I like and I like what I know. That’s a phrase which was used in a title by the band Genesis and elsewhere as well and it fitted last Monday evening like an expertly tailored glove. Almost without exception as people were leaving, so many came up with ‘we weren’t quite sure whether we’d like it, but we really loved it.’
So if you didn’t turn up because you thought you might not like that kind of music; a bit funky and not quite jazzy enough, then you were wrong. From what I heard, you were definitely wrong. The moral is plain. Don’t always pre-judge what might be on offer. Dig in and try it before you make that judgement.
So for a smaller audience what did we have with Kim Cypher and the band? This was a date on her ‘Love Kim x’ Tour and we had foot tapping music, beautifully played and superbly presented by a singing saxophonist who really knows her stuff. By that I mean knowing the music and knowing also how to appeal to an audience. And that audience wasn’t just there to listen; they were there to be involved.
Also involved very much were the band members, no stranger to local audiences, Mike Green on double bass, new to Severn jazz, Chris Cobbson was on guitar and Mike Cypher who is the drummer in the band, but who Kim describes as her driver, her roadie, her advisor and, oh yes, her husband!
The music ranged from straight ahead jazz to quite funky but everything worked well and there were a few tunes where the audience were clapping and swaying along to the music. That’s not bad getting a jazz audience to join in like that. There were the usual favourites but I got the feeling that all the music had to be suitable for the audience that night. I’m guessing that if the paying customers were of different musical tastes, then the music would have been altered to fit the occasion.
It was a great evening then with a number of people hoping that she might be invited back. That’s if she can get it all into the diary. After all we are competing now with venues like Pizza Express in London! I’m sure Kim and the band will be making swinging music and many friends for years to come.
Tom Hill Trio
If you enjoy a range of music which covers all points from John Lewis’s Django to Cedar Walton’s Bolivia together with anecdotal stories from a time working with Les Brown’s Band of Renown, then this evening would have suited you down to the ground.
Tom’s delivery of humour together with his bass playing is usually a sure fire hit. Without doubt, it was spot on, on this Monday evening. Together with Al Gurr on keyboard and Charlie Wright playing tenor saxophone, there was a wide variety of superbly played jazz. One minute it was Bluesette and then Blue Rondo A La Turk and then a version of Sonny Rollins’s St Thomas which developed into a competition to see who would finish first, or was it last?
Plenty of names dropped in the nicest possible way – Peggy Lee, Boston Pops, and anecdotes about members of the Les Brown band.
There was even a foray into the music of Miles Davis and some numbers they said they were playing for the first time. Brave, but they made it through without bloodshed.
It was again, another evening of good music together with entertaining stories from Tom’s musical career with mentions of George Burns and Jimmy Durante. The mix of music and humour kept everyone smiling and tapping their feet for the whole of the evening.
Yet again a good tenner’s worth.
David Newton Trio
I suppose you could say that this Monday session with Dave Newton was predictable. I can also suppose that it had to be to attract a number of people who knew what they would get and came specifically to see and hear Dave with bassist Clive Morton and drummer Terry Howard. I added in the ‘see’ because this trio is a feast both visually and aurally.
The whole evening was full of jazz of all kinds and to be able to see the musicians interacting with a raised eyebrow, or other small gestures which meant so much, was a joy to behold. Which way do we go, do we change up a key and what do we play next. There were hardly any verbal introductions to tunes. In fact, I think there was only one tune that the rhythm section did not know they were going to play. They picked up seamlessly on everything else and also on the one that was a surprise.
With these three musicians, every outing is a master class in communication. Also it’s a master class in knowing the audience and choosing the right music. We were treated to a very different version of music from My Fair Lady – very different from the mid fifties Andre Previn version that was such a hit. And there was other well known music given the Newton treatment.
How many people would find it easier on cold January evening to sit in front of a roaring telly instead of coming out and facing up to a drive and then having to find a seat in a fairly packed function room? They did come and obviously enjoyed what they heard.
It was an evening of music which was a mix of soulful, introspective and then swinging but above all enjoyable and relaxing. I think it’s the only time I can remember polite audience applause morphing into a rousing ovation and indeed, some cheering in places.
But with all the technicalities, we also enjoyed the melodic excursions and inventiveness which came out of the tune without straying too far away from those original notes. As Mel Torme sang, ‘I Like To Recognise The Tune’ and we did every time.