Ed Jones – 6 April 2018

Ed Jones Quartet, 6 April 2018

Watching fine musicians communicate on stage is one of the great joys of working at Fleece Jazz, and when they are at the level that these four fellows are at, it is even more special. The quartet was led by Ed Jones, on tenor and soprano saxes. His colleagues were Ross Stanley on piano, Riaan Vosloo on bass and Tim Giles on drums. They knew each other and the music well, having just recorded most of what they played. It played to us as new-born and fresh. The evening was a nice mix of tunes by Ed, one by Riaan and some standards. The arrangements were a delight.

Tim first played the club in the old Fleece pub when he was 14. He is now a top of the tree drummer, with that precious attribute, really big ears: his reaction and even, it seems, his anticipation of what the soloist is doing is superb. In a song of Ed’s Marielyst, dedicated to the great Cecil Taylor who died last Thursday, Tim had a truly beautiful extended intro and solo. His solo on Riaan’s “Solstice” was also special.

Riaan had the very powerful intro for “Solstice”, and a stunner of a solo on Ed’s “Starbright”. He uses the full range of his instrument in the most natural way. He doesn’t make a big deal of the upper registers, he just uses them when he wishes, with perfect intonation.

Ross Stanley. This guy is a Fleece Jazz favourite. He is one of those that seems to inhabit the piano, and I didn’t until this gig realized how he used both the sustain and soft pedals. The sustain is used often during the head, and then ignored during soloing, and the soft pedal not used at all. Ross uses the soft pedal to change the timbre of the instrument like a fine classical soloist. Solos? Well, all of them, but maybe the one on “Marielyst” stood out.

Ed is a senior and much lauded educator and teacher, composer, band leader and, of course, one hell of a sax player. He is powerful or lyrical at need. We do not see him enough. The first number of the second set was (I think) “The 50s”, i s a great 5/4 tune. Ed’s solo and outro were memorable.

We had an evening of wonderful modern jazz by four people who communicated so they were one instrument on the stage.

Next week, John Law returns to us with his Re-Creations of tunes we know. He is the only other guy who uses the pedals in a classical way, not surprising with his background. He brings award winning saxophonist Sam Crockatt, amazing bassist Yuri Goloubev and drummer Billy Weir. John’s gigs are always special, so don’t miss this one.

Take care,

Matt Wates Sextet – 30 March 2018

Matt Wates Sextet - 30 March 2018
Peter, our photographer, said “What a Cracker !!! What I call a “Full on ” gig. Its been far too long since we had Matt Wates with his own Sextet. With a sound and material like that we should have them on an annual basis”.

I couldn’t agree more, we had a smashing gig on Friday.

The guys were Matt Wates alto sax, Steve Fishwick trumpet, Steve Main tenor sax, Leon Greening piano, Malcolm Creese bass, Matt Skelton drums. The music was mostly written and all arranged by Matt Wates. It was powerful straight ahead jazz, with fine musicians playing excellent arrangements. The arrangements followed a fairly consistent pattern: everybody got a chance to blow, three choruses or more. In the last chorus of the solo, the instruments not soloing pushed the soloist along, usually with a riff from the tune. Lovely.

As was the horn chorus, a special love of mine, whether it was unison, harmony or fugue.

I am looking through my notes trying to decide on special moments, but there were just so many! Matt W. on his “The People Tree”, a 6/8 number in which Paul also had an excellent solo. Steve M. had a stunner on “Heatwave”, and Malcolm a beauty on “Dark Energy”. Steve F. shone on “Third Eye”. Leon’s solo in the homage to Ray Charles, “After Hours” will stand in the memory.

Which is all a little silly, for the evening was one great moment after another, with accompaniment to die for.

Next week,Friday 6 April, the superb Ed Jones will be with us, We have Ed Jones saxes, Ross Stanley piano, Riaan Vosloo bass and Tim Giles drums. When John Fordham says “A formidable saxophonist… he’s an improviser to his fingertips, a player of forceful imagination, and one of the UK’s most distinctive saxophonists.”, you don’t want to miss this gig.

Take care