23 April 2010


It’s been a quiet few weeks, but I got to Trinity for Andy Campbell‘s Quartet. It’s a comfy outing for these guys, especially given Andy C’s role as Maitre d’ for the Trinity Wednesday jazz gigs. The jazz students are out for their weekly hangout so the audience is informed and interested, and the vibes are friendly and just a little professionally critical. All round, a good environment for lovers of the art.

Andy played his mix of originals and a few interesting standards starting with Out of nowhere (which seems to have recently come from out of nowhere to be a popular local standard). I was chatting for most of the night, but I noticed a very settled, relaxed feel and an expansive openness that was right for lengthy and slightly indulgent solos. It’s that type of gig. Andy C threw in some chordal solo segments, but mostly played his fairly rapid but sustained single note runs. Andy B presented a similar approach, although I particularly noticed some bebop triplet phrasing contrasting with his long phrasing. Chris was on electric this night: a very deep and thumpy jazz bass. He’s an interesting proposition. I asked about his strings: he’d had the JB for 2 years and hadn’t changed them. Were they flatwounds? Nah, just ordinary. He displays a similar nonchalance about his double bass and even about his practicing: not too concerned with his gear or outward appearances. Someone once described him to me as “having a big ear”. He certainly sets some luscious grooves despite, or maybe because of, a very relaxed approach. Luke Keanan Brown was on drums. I noticed a trademark Jazz School concern with substance. He had nice technique and looks comfortable on the instrument, but there was thought and ears in his playing, too, and some quite obtuse and contrary rhythms. It fitted. In fact, I noticed both the Andys challenging the groove often enough in their solos. The degree to which they feel comfortable in breaking away is a measure of their improvisational playfulness, and these long, relaxed solos benefit from the contrast and unexpectedness.

So, a pleasant outing, a friendly environment and relaxed music with an edge of challenge. Andy Campbell (guitar) led a quartet with Andy Butler (piano), Chris Pound (bass) and Luke Keanan-Brown (drums) at Trinity Dickson.

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