20 March 2020

Bop in the time of contagion

It was so quiet at home that I relented for a distance-aware gig. Justin Buckingham with Wayne and Phil and Mark. It had to be good. It was: a local lesson in take-no-prisoners bop and driving modern styles. Great fun: loud and strong and demanding from the top. There were a couple of tunes from Bird, Ornithology and Billie's Bounce, and a few standards, There is no greater love and Moonglow, which was perhaps the quietest of the lot, and I'll remember April. Great tune and again, unrelenting, solos all round, most tunes with fours or a solo from drums. All pretty standard in structure but demanding in implementation and hot in presence. I particularly like Justin veering off into diminished territory at one stage, all adventurous and somewhere off contratonal (my neologism of the day), and Phil and Mark were always strong and some great solos and Wayne: he's just a local gem, always spelling tunes and embroidering them with delicious solos, then, in the break, talking of playing Rachmaninov piano concerto no.2 . I must hold him to that. If it's anything like Rach symph 2 it will be a shocker to play. Yeah, it's the time of coronavirus and the bar was pretty quiet and one professional muso I spoke to had only one confirmed gig left on his books, but all kept their distance and alcohol sanitisers appeared beside the beers. The music was nice, while it lasts.

Justin Buckingham (alto) led a quartet with Wayne Kelly (piano), Philip Dick (bass) and Mark Levers (drums) at Blackbird.

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