The most approachable gig of the year?

The Chicken Shed, Enfield on Friday March 6th: Five trombones.

I’ve been thinking about a rating system for gigs. I want to highlight music which is melodic, approachable, friendly, and kind to the ear. Music of stunning quality, but which will also make you happy. Something to take your grumpiest friend or a sullen teenager to, in the certain knowledge that the music, heard live, and close up, is going to put a smile on his or her face.

So. For melody, for approachability, for taking grumpy friends or teenagers to and seeing them smile, this is one of my gigs of the year.

The trombone in jazz often functions as a harmony instrument. Trombonists can be real gents, craftsmen blending their warm sound with each other, making their section sound like one indivisible instrument.

Trombonists, because they occupy the harmonic territory at the heart of a band, can make fantastic arrangers. Eddie Harvey who has written some of the arrangements for this gig is one. As is Adrian Fry who is running the gig. As was the late lamented Pete Strange who was Humphrey Lyttelton’s sideman and arranger for 21 years, and ran a band called Five-a-Slide, whose arrangements will also be featured.

But trombonists can also project. I’ve often been on the stand with one of the guys in this band, Chris Gower. Believe me, when Chris takes a solo in the Bull’s Head, I’ve felt that joyous, characterful sound go straight out into the room, and had the physical sensation of it bouncing straight back at us off the opposite wall. And, yes, felt more alive for that.

This gig is the debut of a new band Bone Supremacy. Debut gigs can be risky, because bands haven’t either gelled, or blended, or found a shared language. But gelling and blending is the daily work of these five: they are all London trombonists at the top of the profession. I’d also be surprised if this is a band where many arguments happen.

If you don’t believe me, try their sound clips .

I will be making the journey to Enfield. The Chicken Shed is just a short walk from Cockfosters Station on the Piccadilly Line. And I know I won’t regret it

Categories: miscellaneous

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