Sunday 29 January 2012

Dave Drake, Jazz Jam at the Alibi, prolonged absence

Fresh sounds, new talent!
It's been a busy couple of months with work, then Christmas, so little time for blogging. Dave Drake Quintet at The Brunswick last Sunday was this year's first gig. Dave is a young (17) Brighton-based pianist who has been gaining a reputation around Brighton, playing at venues like The Brunswick, The Bristol and The Bees Mouth. I have been been impressed with what I heard so was keen to hear him playing with his own quintet. The band featured four other excellent young musicians - sax players Lucas Dodd (Alto) and Nadim Teimoori (Tenor), Sandy Suchodolski (Bass) and Billy Stookes (Drums) - all of whom play with Dave in the National Youth Jazz Orchestra.

They kicked off the set with Kurt Rosenwinkel's Chords (featured on Kurt's The Remedy). This is tricky, cutting edge modern jazz and the band delivered with confidence and verve, setting the direction of the repertoire that featured tunes by the Brian Blade Fellowship, originals by Dave that sat very comfortably alongside, and a couple of standards. The rhythm section was exemplary - really tasteful accompaniment. The two horns had distinct personalities though I could hear shades of Chris Potter and Mark Turner in both. Dave's piano playing really stood out for me. He really got inside the music - beautiful voicings (particularly on the bass solo on In a Sentimental Mood), singing along with his solos that sounded very melodic. The feel reminded me of Bud Powell, though I think his conscious influences are probably more modern Brooklyn players like Aaron Parks. I love this type of repertoire and it's great hearing it played by such young UK musicians.

There was exciting interaction between the band. Lucas and Will have a lot of chops, probably the result of a few years of jazz education. Dave sounds like a rawer talent. It will be interesting to see how it matures. I hope he builds on his individuality if he goes on to study jazz full time. Interesting audience and not untypical of audiences I see in London - young jazz musicians on stage and an audience of older listeners. I hope Dave and his fellow musicians succeed in creating a new, younger audience for this music.

Jamming at The Alibi
On Thursday I attended and performed at a new jazz jam at The Alibi in Hove. It was a warm, friendly pub and there was good audience. Plenty of great music including, most intriguingly some poetry by David Thomas of Pere Ubu (70s Beefheart influenced punk band from Cleveland, Ohio). Against improvised background music he intoned paeans to the trashy underside of American culture -  penitentiaries, highways and trailer parks, David Lynch, Jim Morrison, Beefheart, the beat poets.

The session aims to be welcoming to players of all abilities and is definitely worth checking out with or without an instrument. The next jam is on 16 February and there is a website here:

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