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Greg (left) appreciating the baritone sound of Alan Barnes
Full on, straight ahead, driving... Call it what you will but this was an evening of high-octane bebop jazz making no compromises and taking no prisoners! Five terrific musicians at the very top of their game, featuring Greg Abate (reeds) and Phil deGreg (piano) from the USA with our very own Alan Barnes, Steve Brown and Andy Cleyndert (standing in magnificently for an indisposed Dave Green).
We had a sell-out audience, largely thanks to the loyal following of the Marlow Jazz Club with which this was another joint presentation. And they loved it - although a couple who had to leave before the last number prompted a typical gag from Alan, who described it as a 'walking ovation!' The numbers just in the second half included Confirmation, Ladybird, Yardbird Suite and Au privave, along with the gentler Sometime Ago and an unexpected Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, featuring Phil's immaculate piano-playing.
One of the delights of the evening was the sheer versatility of the front-liners, with the pair duelling on altos in some numbers but Alan also doubling on clarinet and baritone while Greg sported his tenor and flute (or, in Alan's words, suffering 'an outbreak of flautulence'. And we even got a scorching drum solo from the normally 'shy and retiring' Steve Brown. Who could ask for anything more (and no, they didn't play that...)?