Jan 17 – Chris Gumbley & Bryan Corbett Quartet

It took two years for Bryan Corbett and Chris Gumbley to return to Worcester and when they did return it was so well worth it. Not only did Bryan and Chris come again, but pianist Al Gurr and Bassist Ben Markland who were part of the original package, were also returners.On the night, the audience were treated to music that they knew and probably had grown up with and their response said it all. There was also a wonderful reaction to not only the music, but the entertainment. Like the endings of tunes – ‘let’s see who can add just another few more notes’. It was fun for the audience and also fun for the musicians.

Another highlight was Chris’s foray into unusual instruments. For most of the evening, he majored on alto or tenor and then moved to the clarinet and afterwards to the bass clarinet. As you’d expect, this is a much bigger than a normal clarinet with a small metal bell. It was visually impressive, with a rich, deep, sound and great to listen to.

Bryan Corbett was in good form and the two gelled and enjoyed themselves as they produced effortless solos with the support of Al Gurr on keyboard and Ben Markland on upright bass. These guys could either predict the future or they knew well what the other musicians would be doing next. I guess it was the latter, but they had the knack of making it look like it was the former.

Jazz is very much an art appreciated by the ears, but to see it live adds another dimension. So many bands forget to use that visual part but not in this case. The nods, the smiles, the raised eyebrows added to the entertainment and it must be the reason why this audience’s response said they would like to see and hear them, yet again.