Really enjoyable gig for Jazz Steps in Nottingham last week!
Here’s a review by Robin Lewis and Photos by Bob Meyrick.
photo: Bob Meyrick
Summer is well and truly here, judging from the grey clouds and faint drizzle we’ve all been enjoying. What better way to enjoy the unique British version of the season than by imagining you’re somewhere else; somewhere hotter, sunnier and possessed of beaches on which people can tan, rather than catch pneumonia. How lucky that almost twenty years after he first played the Bonington Theatre, Huw Warren returned to play the sunny, hip-swinging jazz of Brazilian masters like the legendary Hermeto Pascoal, Guinga and Tom Jobim.
Accompanied by Dudley Phillips on bass guitar and Huw’s son Zoot (best jazz name ever) on drums, Warren opened with O Farol, sharp piano notes moving into epic runs up and down the keys, but keeping a rhythm that made you want to swish your hips where you sat. Fittingly for an unconventional musician like Pascoal, Warren sometimes accompanied the music by tapping on the pinblock, side and legs of the piano, the noise keeping up a constant percussive background noise to Papa Furado that made you feel you were in a busy nightclub. The finale, and that of many of the pieces played during the evening, was played at double speed. Warren explained that the idea was Pascoal’s: “Play it again, twice as fast. If you manage that, play it faster.”
photo: Bob Meyrick
The samba heart of Vataca was kept by the bass while the piano and drums flared further away from the beat, and Tom Jobin’s Luiza, gave us a melancholy guitar before the piano took over slowly, at first sadly, warming up a little to leave you wistful rather than morose.Jegue was another samba flavoured number that had you wishing you were somewhere with a dancefloor in sultrier climes.
After the break Warren gave us a more varied menu, with Phillips performing a bass solo that saw him picking at the bridge of his guitar and accompanying himself on looped notes. Warren had a couple of solo pieces as well, including a ragtime-flavoured number and one whose title translates as One Nil.Maralatu’s harsh opening notes on the piano gave way to propulsive drums, building to a fine crescendo, and the beautiful Noturna, by Guinga, was perhaps the standout piece of the night: a gorgeous, heartfelt tune of real feeling. Frevo, which built to a raucous climax, again played again at double, triple speed, ended things with a bang.
This was the first gig in Jazz Steps autumn season, and a delicious taster of the fine programme lined up for the next few months. For a couple of hours, at least, it was possible to imagine a place where the sun shines in summer and warm, sultry music will envelop you.
Huw Warren: Trio Brazil was at The Bonington Theatre on Thursday 27 August 2015.