Richard Baker Quintet
When this band came to Severn Jazz in 2016, I seem to remember their performance was billed as ‘west coast jazz’ or at least in that style. When they played, there was a tendency to veer off into the ‘our own composition as featured on youtube’ brand of jazz. If you add in the use of a bass guitar instead of the upright string variety, then some members of the audience were disappointed. And of course they said so. But that was in 2016. Here we are at the beginning of autumn in 2018 and here is the quintet again with a very different programme of music.
Those comments after their first visit were passed onto Richard and this time it was all as our audience liked. At least I didn’t hear any dissenting voices. The upright bass was there and the programme was full of music which was familiar to everyone. In short, it was an evening of great music well-played. There were also some lovely moments like when drummer and bass player had a bit of a duet. You could see they were enjoying it immensely and so were the audience. It was fun as well as very well played enjoyable music. This is what jazz is able to do so well and when it is done well as it was on this occasion, it is so worthwhile.
The musicianship of the quintet has never been in question. They unnerved some people at the beginning of the evening who thought they were going to be very loud, but we were assured that was only the sound check and it would alright on the night. It was.
I gathered from Richard that jazz is not as big a part of his musical life as he would like. I think to be very fair, with the standard of this band they deserve to get more purely jazz gigs.
To end the evening, a member of the audience who was just visiting the area asked if they could say a few closing words. This can be a dangerous situation. Who knows what could be said and how long the audience might be detained. But in this case it was a glowing compliment to Richard’s quintet and since the visitor was from the South of England, would the band like to play at her local jazz club?
Who knows, this evening might well have paved the way for more jazz gigs in some other areas as well.