Review: Jim Snidero

Jim Snidero and the Barry Green Trio
(Spice of Life, January 20th 2011, review by Frank Griffith)

The Spice of Life, a below-stairs venue in the heart of Soho has recently celebrated over ten years of three-times-a-week jazz programming. Last Thursday, the subtle but scintillating alto sax of New Yorker Jim Snidero was in full flourish. Boasting stints with jazz legends including Toshiko Akiyoshi and Jack McDuff, Jim has been touring internationally as a solo act for a good while, but, strangely, had never played in London before this visit.

Snidero was backed by an ever-able UK trio, and the two sets consisted largely of the leader’s originals. “One by One” (not to be confused with Wayne Shorter’s tune of the same title recorded by Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers) caught the ear in particular with its slowish sauntering, minorish walk that had a distinctively Jewish- folklike theme and mood. The measured waltz, “Tranquility” spun a similar effect on the listener with its melancholy, yet ultimately victorious and inspired message. To complete the first set, “Interface” prevailed with its upbeat straight quaver feel which thoroughly opened the playing field for improvisations by all hands.

Snidero’s alto sound, while clear and lyrical is not overly bright or cutting. His lengthy phrases pour forth fluently. His deft technique coupled with his still composure, not moving a muscle, offer a refreshing tonic to the current myriad of saxophonists whose bowing and swaying run the risk of distracting the listener.

The profound and sophisticated piano offerings of Barry Green were complimented by the no-nonsense basswork of Jez Brown and the solid but fiery drumming of Matt Home. His unaccompanied solos were a delight as well engaging the listener with his dynamism and drama. The second set featured jazz classics like Charlie Parker’s “Au Privave” and Monk’s immortal “Round Midnight” which brought a rich trove of repertoire to a well-rounded close.
Special plaudits to very imaginative programmer at the Spice, Paul Pace (the hardest workin man in show business) for his indispensable role in bringing Jim Snidero here, and for maintaining the quality and integrity of this characterful and unique venue.

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