Review: Stan Sulzmann Quartet

Review: Stan Sulzmann QuartetThe Green Man, London Jazz Festival, November 20th 2009, review by Patrick Hadfield)

After four nights going to gigs in the Queen Elizabeth Hall – a concert venue if ever there was one – on Friday I headed down to the basement of the Green Man by Great Portland Street station. Just like the QEH gigs, this one was also packed to capacity – standing room only – to see the Stan Sulzmann Quartet.

Nigel Tully, MC’ing described Stan as “Britain’s biggest Sonny Rollins fan”; I had missed Rollins sellout show at the Barbican, and to make up for it Stan was treating us to an evening of Rollins’ tunes

This was straight ahead fun-jazz. All the tunes were familiar – Sonnymoon For Two, Alfie and Benny Golson’s I Remember Clifford stick in my mind – and the feeling was very relaxed: this was an evening in the pub after a busy week. Sulzmann has a very clear, muscular tone. His affection, respect and warmth for Rollins was palpable: he described how Rollins sought him out to thank him after Sulzmann had been in the support band at Ronnie Scott’s.

As well as Sulzmann, the quartet had British jazz stalwart Jim Mullen on guitar, who played some lovely clean solos. The rhythm section was completed by Steve Watts on bass and Tristan Maillot on drums.

There was a pleasant simplicity to this gig. It brought the authentic experience of listening to top-class British jazz in ideal surroundings. Standing at the bar, pint in hand, listening to the largely unamplified music. Pure pleasure.

Jazz at the The Green Man is promoted by the Worshipful Company of Musicians.
Their next promotion is the Frank Griffith nonet on January 27th.

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