27 July 2009


It was a pleasant Sunday afternoon of browsing and listening when the Sienna Aguilar Quartet was playing at the Beyond Q Bookshop. The bookshop has a little café surrounded by a decent collection of second hand books. You can sit in the café for an intimate concert experience, or grab a comfy chair amongst the shelves and catch up on reading with a live musical ambience. Sienna presented a lovely collection of standards, latins and ballads, sung with a rich and rounded voice. It was a tempered few sets, perfectly suitable to the surroundings. John’s soft and observant drumming provided a steady pulse to support some occasional scatting by Sienna, and solos by Andy and John. John’s were more tonal, as bass is wont to be, which fitted well with his clearly stated walks and accompaniments. Nice tone, too, on an NS 5-string EUB, and good hands that suit bass, although the thumb positions look strange on the long neck with no body to reach over. Andy was on piano, which provides far more opportunities for adventurousness. His solos were slim and lithe, nicely phrased and well considered, frequently chromatic and atonal. I was glad to hear several favourites: Sam Rivers’ Beatrice, Benny Golson’s Whisper not, Jobim’s Dindi, Billy Holiday’s Don’t explain, and Luiz Bonfa’s Manhã de Carnaval/A day in the life of a fool. ADITLOAF started with a bass line that just said James Bond to me. Sienna told me it’s on the original. Otherwise, I remember Alone together, Green Dolphin Street, Like someone in love, Corcovado, a blues. It’s a common, but satisfying, repertoire. We know the standards well, but they are superb tunes, and support frequent performance and sustained listening, and they are essential in the development of a jazz player. This was one pleasant and satisfying outing for these great tunes.

Sienna Aguilar (vocals) led a quartet with Andy Butler (piano), John Burgess (bass) and John Milton (drums) at the beyond Q Bookshop.

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