Alan Barnes & David Newton
Jazz musicians will say that the smaller the group, the less places there are to hide if the standard is not high. So when it comes to a duo, the hiding places are almost non-existent. But when the duo is the piano of David Newton and the saxophone or clarinet of Alan Barnes, places to shelter are not on the list. These two might have been playing as a duo since their days at Leeds College of Music, but they don’t necessarily play in this format on a very regular basis and when they do the result is spell binding. It was evident from the number of people who, as they were leaving, were making the point of saying how much they had enjoyed a spectacular evening from two gifted musicians. Remarks like ‘superb,’ ‘perfection’ and ‘wasn’t that absolutely wonderful’ came from many of the audience. The repertoire ranged from compositions by Barney Bigard which displayed Alan’s talents and the full range of his clarinet to Billy Strayhorn which gave them both, especially David, a chance to indulge us in the soft and sweeping sounds of a master composer. Let’s not forget also a typical evening of the humour of Alan Barnes linking the music. He was really on top form in the speaking department as well. It was a couple of hours bunged full of delightful crochets and quavers but all of them were of wonderful value; none of them failed to disappoint.