Jul 16 – Paul Sawtell Vibes Trio

It’s good to hear jazz from, say, a saxophone player, a pianist, a trumpet or trombone. Together with a good rhythm section and collective thinking you’ll have a session of good, swinging jazz. Substitute the main instrument for a vibraphone, or vibraharp as some were called were called, then you have a different sound and jazz in a completely different dimension. It can conjure up memories of the signature sound of so many artists – Lionel Hampton, Milt Jackson or Victor Feldman and more. Severn Jazz on the first day of July presented Paul Sawtell on vibes. He’s normally sitting at a piano keyboard but he also excels with the mallets. On the double bass was the versatile Erika Lyons and at the piano keyboard it was the equally inventive, Alex Steele. Between them, they conjured up an evening of music that obviously delighted the audience. The programme consisted of many standards, but some jazz favourites were also included – for example On Green Dolphin Street. There is something about the sounds of vibes which gives the music a brightness which is sometimes absent with other instruments. The fact that it’s not only single notes that convey the tune, it’s also the ability to add other notes and to give that a sound that with the addition of the vibrato, will make it shine. Paul and Erika will be back at Severn Jazz on August 5th, they’ll be backing singer Laura Collins. If their performance reaches the standard set in this last session, then there will be a roomful of happy jazzers.