With a set list that took in their own original tunes and strong selections from the be-bop tradition, trumpet player Nick Dewhurst and Italian saxophonist Tommaso Starace played a gig that mixed heartfelt playing with moments of stunning technical facility.
They were backed by a strong three piece band of pianist and composer Tim Amann, bassist and composer Paul Robinson, and drummer Spencer Hedges.
Both lead musicians are well known, so it was not surprising that a fair few people had turned out to support them.
Duke Ellington’s Take the A Train opened proceedings, the famed theme allowing for some fine ensemble playing.
Tim Amann’s original piece K2 Blues took a slow paced blues theme, unison saxophone and trumpet, and some interesting bass and drum playing into a mix that stayed on the right side of blues cliché, with modulations and ideas that made it an interesting listen.
Nepule showed the Italian side of the night, with the busy theme and sequential soloing another good listen. Paul Robinson’s original piece Forgotten Times slowed the pace, and allowed for a flugelhorn solo from Nick Dewhurst, before the first set closer Love for Sale by Cole Porter again showed what a good pairing Dewhurst and Starace were.
The second set was opened with Impressions by John Coltrane, the modal theme played on the piano, while the bass and drums changed pace throughout the piece, the inventive playing doing much to inspire the two soloists.
Tim Amann’s piece Solstice owed as much to Celtic rock bands such as Moving Hearts as it did to jazz, and Starace’s Jan Garbarek like tone and playing and the minimalist piano coda, taking inspiration from musicians such as Philip Glass and Steve Reich, showed the full reach of the ensemble’s range.
The tempo was lifted for the Nick Dewhurst original Heatwave, the fast pace owing a debt to the jazz rock movement of the 1970s.
The inevitable encore, this time a fine reading of the be-bop favourite, Anthropology by Charlie Parker showed that although jazz is a form that is always developing and changing, many of its touchstones and traditions have evolved through musicians and listeners returning to well known themes and ideas, and putting their own individual stamp on them.