Friday, November 02, 2012


The Jeff Wilson Quartet at the Cramphorn Theatre

Dedications – tributes – whatever. The irrepressible Jeffery Wilson evoked the spirit and the genius of jazzmen past in an intoxicating cocktail of classics.

This being jazz, there was nothing predictable about the performances; many of the numbers were arranged for the quartet by piano man Peter Marshall, who also played a mean trumpet and contributed the odd vocal refrain. At the drum kit, none other than Les Cirkel.

The fun began with Lester Leaps In, Lester Young's 1940 standard, and ended with Charlie Parker, the dots for Count Basie being unaccountably mislaid. Along the way, names were dropped, legends recalled. I especially enjoyed the Art Pepper transcription, the double helping of baritone sax [bassist Dave Jenkins playing the second] and the Bill Evans' Waltz for Debby – a gentle piece performed with genuine affection. And a true tribute: Johnny Hodges, Ellington's alto sax, lovingly resurrected in a note-bending, glissando-rich Star Crossed Lovers from Such Sweet Thunder.

An enjoyable ramble through some of the finest moments in jazz, with many giggles and nuggets of wisdom thrown in for good measure. Jazz aficionados, though, might have craved a warmer atmosphere and a more responsive crowd at the Cramphorn cabaret tables.

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