Saturday, July 26, 2008


Jeffery Wilson Quintet at the Cramphorn

It was a rags to rags story. Starting with a finger-cracking Jelly Roll Morton marathon from Peter Marshall, who not only did most of the evening's arrangements but also played trumpet and piano, and even treated us to a vocal.

And it finished, two and half very hot hours later, with a remarkably lively Tiger Rag.

The “history” was reduced to a bit of name-dropping and anecdotage: Benny Goodman's coat, Ma Rainey's teeth, Irving Berlin's piano. We learned about the disputed origin of this “decadent music” - jazz history is a fiction, Wilson assured us – and the influence of klezmer music brought to the US by Jewish immigrants.

But it was the music the capacity crowd had come for. Two Ellington medleys, familiar numbers featuring Jeffery's sweetest clarinet, and, in Caravan, some serious sax. Mark Bassey's wonderful trombone was prominent in the line-up, and the powerhouse was provided by Les Cirkel on drums and Murray Salmon on bass.

Pop tunes [ the Beatles, arranged imaginatively by Peter Marshall ], standards – Michel Legrand - and even a new composition, Brazilian Breeze, with improvised percussion and a real sense of fun.

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