Michael Garrick (piano) , Chris Allard (guitar), Simon Little (bass)
National Theatre Foyer, August 17th 2009
I only dropped in briefly, but hadn’t wanted to miss the the privilege of hearing one of the irreplaceable (or is that irrepressible) legends of British jazz again, and in a nice context with two excellent players from a younger generation. The crowd in the National Theatre is an appreciative one. One lady even defied the normal limitations of cork platform sandals, and got up and danced.
The youthful Michael Garrick is in his late 70s. He is still very active, particularly as educator.
I could only catch part of Garrick’s set with excellently melodic guitarist Chris Allard and powerful, supportive bassist Simon Little(above- photo: Steve Lawson). Piano/guitar/bass is one of the most satisfying yet trickiest combinations in jazz. The quality of the listening-to-each-other, of the getting-out-of-the-way-of-each-other which these three were putting in was exemplary.
The interplay worked best for my ears yesterday in Garrick’s composition A Thing of Beauty which the composer prefaced with quotes from Keats, Bill Evans and Pete King, and with anecdotes from what sounded like very happy tours to Rome. This fine tune, with its clever tension between three and four brought out the very best in all three players. I’m puzzled why it’s not a tune one hears more often?
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Here’s further reading about Garrick: a more detailed portrait. And a nice review from Sholto Byrnes from 2003 brings out his unique contribution to jazz in Britain.