Now, we don't like to brag, here at Music in Marlow, but we were tickled pink by the gig list that appeared on the Quartet's own poster for their 2014 tour. Eleven performances were listed on it: there was Christ Church Marlow, and there too were Ronnie Scott's and the Wigmore Hall. Does that mean we've made it into the big time? Well, maybe not, but - hey - why trek into London for a gig when you can listen to music of this quality in Marlow?!
It was a terrific evening. What really struck me was just how intimate our lovely venue feels when you have a band that is happy to play acoustically this close to the audience. Having been there to welcome the musicians, I was impressed by the care that Dave O'Higgins took in testing out the acoustic of the room and in "tweaking" things until he got just the sound he wanted. This isn't something that every jazzman would do, but the results definitely repaid the effort.
Dave and the band were on fine form. They opened with a track that is a ghastly pun - "Autopsy", based on that old standard Topsy, and ran through a sequence of contrafacts (new tunes on old chord structures) written either by Dave or by Geoff Gascoyne, suitably leavened with a few standards, and culminating in a tune I had personally requested - the "Devil's Interval". That brought out the very best in all the players, who negotiated its tricky leaps at high speed. Brilliant ending!
Having talked to a number of the audience since the night, everyone seems to have had their favourite among the band. Geoff Gascoyne's bass playing received many plaudits, but then so did Graham Harvey's piano and Sebastiaan de Krom's powerful but flexible drumming. One thing beyond dispute is that Sebastiaan gave us the longest drum solo yet heard at Christ Church, on another Dave contrafact "You're Nicked"! And of course Dave O'Higgins himself was consistently superb.
So thanks to the band for fitting Marlow into their busy schedule, thanks to Marlow Jazz Club for their support, and I think we can say that our 2014 Season is well and truly underway!
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