Review: Tom Taylor Quintet and The Button Band

Jon Ormston, drummer of both the Button Band and The Tom Taylor Quintet
Jazz at the Salisbury – Drawing by Geoff Winston. © 2012. All Rights Reserved
Tom Taylor Quintet and The Button Band
(Jazz at The Salisbury, 20 May 2012; review and drawing by Geoff Winston)

The penultimate session before the summer break at ‘Jazz at The Salisbury’ offered an evening of tightly-honed contrasts and complementary compositional styles from two small groups brimming with ideas and quality musicianship.

Both groups took their direction from their leader’s compositional skills, which formed the solid ground that gave the soloists room to stretch out and impose an individual stamp on proceedings.

The first set from The Button Band witnessed Andy Woolf‘s warm-toned, mellifluous tenor filling out Andy Button‘s carefully crafted structures. Button, in his turn introduced space into the mix with his spare, lean solos. The bright confidence of ‘Again’ was pushed on by Jon Ormston‘s jaunty military snare. Dave Manington‘s lightly flexed bass shared the lead with Button as Woolf built up an increasingly strong statement around the simply-stated figure of ‘Control’. ‘Various Events’ had Button sitting back in rhythm guitar role while Woolf took the initiative with elegant phrasing and a range that hit the lower register of the tenor. They flirted with jazz-country in ballad mode, reminiscent of Bill Frisell’s cross-genre explorations, and tied up the set with an upbeat township swing straight out of the Loose Tubes mould, good-humoured and infectious.

The Tom Taylor Quintet hit the ground with intent – the strong, complex interplay of the front-line brass of Kieran McLeod (slide trombone) and Joe Wright (tenor) was heftily supported by Taylor (electric piano), Tom West (double bass) and Jon Ormston, back again on drums.

Taylor’s writing plays on harmonic tensions and thrives on his ability to scoop up a variety of moods to which the quintet responded without fear of risk-taking in their mix of improvisation and straight interpretation of the scores. McLeod fairly roared down the runway when asked and applied a sheet of paper as a mute to flatten the tones. Wright’s hoary tone flipped over to the soft deliberation of the Charles Lloyd phrasebook with assertive composure. They pushed up from a restrained base on ‘Ooti’ – inspired by Taylor’s visit to the Indian town of that name – with Ormston adding the layered percussive drive. Taylor’s lightly intricate solo on ‘Insect Bites’ seemed to deconstruct phrasing close to Monk’s, against which McLeod and Wright maintained a muted backdrop, while West added emphatic buoyancy and poise throughout.

These two engaging and engrossing sets yet again reinforced the credentials of ‘Jazz at The Salisbury’ as a showcase for some of the brightest home-grown talent around, and can only auger well for the British jazz scene in general. It’s fast becoming a great, fortnightly Sunday evening institution for the bustling Harringay Green Lanes crowd.


Andy Button – guitar/composition
Andy Woolf – tenor sax
Dave Manington – bass
Jon Ormston – drums


Tom Taylor – piano
Joe Wright – tenor sax
Keiran McCleod – trombone
Tom West – bass
Jon Ormston – drums

Categories: miscellaneous

Leave a Reply