But this was a team, and the rhythm players also excelled. They shared solos on pretty much every tune, held challenging rhythms and often enough departed hugely from the rhythm yet it all held together. Sam held these complex rhythms with continual improvisation, played some very interesting contrasting melodic work (these were interesting compositions) and soloed with panache and lots of high register thumb positions. Andrew was blissful with a constantly rich interplay over the tunes, and blaringly intense soloing despite a deceptive lightness of touch.
I was interested but not surprised by the popularity of these diverse styles. There was a constant hubbub at Hippo’s, not just hardcore listeners. But I noticed when two chatting women in front of me suddenly started gyrating when Ben started up in a Jelly Roll style. And as any entertainer knows, once they start moving, you’re on a winner, so Michel Camilo and even that Arthur Lyman with class went down a treat. So it was a wonderfully intelligent and interesting night.
Ben Winkelman Trio were Ben Winkelman (piano), Sam Anning (bass) and Andrew Gander (drums).