Review: Laurence Cottle Big Band – Celebrating Jaco

Laurence Cottle Big Band – Celebrating Jaco
Ronnie Scott’s 25th August 2012. Review by Cai Marle Garcia)

It takes a brave bass player to cover Jaco Pastorius material. It takes a world-class talent to rearrange his material for big band and perform it at Ronnie Scott’s. Laurence Cottle and his big band’s ‘A Portrait of Jaco’ managed this feat with finesse.

Cottle had the rare privilege of meeting and spending time with the late Pastorius (see LondonJazz’s preview/ interview) , and his encyclopedic knowledge of Jaco’s back-catalogue helped to treat the crowd to hits both famous and more obscure.

With 2012 marking the 25th anniversary of Pastorius’s untimely death, the show threw Cottle’s finely-honed skills as an arranger, as well as bassist, into the limelight. Opening with ‘Domingo’, the band then blitzed through a formidable version of ‘Donna Lee’ complete with Pastorius’s original solo played by Cottle and harmonised by the woodwind section. Cottle clearly knows Jaco’s material inside-out and the delicate attention paid to riffs, stabs and flourishes would have delighted any Jaco aficionado.

Cottle had assembled a top-notch band to share the stage with, including longtime collaborator Nigel Hitchcock on sax and Gareth Lockrane on flutes and piccolo. Hitchcock’s balance of the sensual and the intense was perfect on ‘Three Views of a Secret’ and Lockrane (who also weighed in with his own arrangement of ‘Punk Jazz’) was flawless on his featured tracks ‘Used To Be A Cha Cha’ and ‘Reza’. Cottle and the band paid homage to the little-known album masterpiece ‘Holiday For Pans’, and the finale of Jaco classics ‘Liberty City‘ and ‘The Chicken’ had the audience shouting for more.

Categories: miscellaneous

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