Gareth Lockrane Big Band
Ronnie Scott’s, 3rd August
A great night at a packed Ronnie’s last night, part of the BritJazz Festival, a superb initiative by Ronnie Scott’s and Jazzwise.
Gareth Lockrane has harnessed the energies of a phenomenal array of talent of musicians -mostly of his generation and currently in their thirties- into a superb working unit. Please step forward the sound crew at Ronnie’s , you made them sound fan bloody tastic.
In the four months – it’s a very short time – since I last wrote an ecstatic review, and all I can say it’s got better, more confident. Tristan Maillot, out in the middle of the band rather than tucked away, was a tower of strength. Alex Garnett and Ben Somers make a very potent sparring pair on their tenor saxes. You should have heard the cheer for Bob McKay’s solo on baritone in the last number. The brass sections don’t have a single weak link. Ross Stanley and Mike Outram , like Maillot, were both having four set nights , but fizzed with energy and inspiration. On a second hearing, I was hearing yet more narrative and subtlety in Lockrane’s and Trevor Myers’ charts. Those charts will surely travel into some more renowned bands’ pads abroad. (I do hope Welshman Adrian Ellis of JALC is reading this!) New names in the band last night were young ex-Guildhall altoist Matt Fripp, originally from Hampshire, and bassist Richard Pryce. We do produce an unstoppable flow of jazz talent in the UK.
The measure, the value of Gareth Lockrane’s musicianship and gentle leadership from the front are very well known and appreciated among musicians. The buzz about this joyous band will inevitably grow further, and should soon get beyond these shores.