Monday, December 13, 2010


in St John's, Moulsham Street


It's very cold ...” Martin Hathaway warned his young players as they tuned for this welcome visit to the County Town. This is the senior of the three jazz ensembles run by Essex Music Services, and meets monthly to rehearse. Hathaway has directed them for almost twenty years now, and [like Dudamel and the Venezuelan Sistema] he himself was once a player in their ranks.
Despite the chill, they were on top form, playing a wide variety of jazz, and spotlighting some amazing soloists.
A piece new to me was an extended work by British jazz trumpeter Henry Lowther – Bellas Knap evokes a neolithic long barrow, and featured some fine work from Rowland Seymour and Kieron Smith on flutes.
The evening was almost all “real jazz”, like the improvised Honeysuckle Rose, with Ed Parr's trombone and Nat Levine's sax adding interest. Or the genuine Ellington arrangement of Cotton Tail. The happiest moment had to be the Mingus classic Eat That Chicken, followed by Mode for Joe and more Ellington to finish, Three Cent Stomp.
Great to see Ryan Lenham back guesting on trumpet, Martin Hathaway himself on his saxophone, and, modestly adding texture midst the reeds and brass, the lone fiddle of Tristan Clapp.

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