|Chris Ingham’s Rebop
L-R: Chris Ingham, Kevin Flanagan, Robert Rickenberg
Paul Higgs, Colin Watling, George Double
Photo credit: Lisa Wormsley
Chris Ingham’s Rebop
(The Other Palace. 15 November. EFG LJF. Review by Charlie Anderson)
Beginning with the Horace Silver classic Sister Sadie, this was an evening of pure Blue Note style hard bop, performed by some of Britain’s most talented hard bop devotees, fronted by pianist Chris Ingham.
With many of the arrangements from Ingham’s long-term associate, altoist Kevin Flanagan, this tight-knit ensemble also performed some of the less obvious tunes from the Blue Note repertoire, such as Kenny Dorham’s Una Mas and Donald Byrd’s Ghana. Wayne Shorter’s Speak No Evil gave Kevin Flanagan a chance to illustrate both his fluency on the alto sax and his hard-swinging bebop abilities.
The first set ended with a double bill of classic 1960s Herbie Hancock, with two contrasting pieces: his beautiful and complex Dolphin Dance and his simple and catchy Cantaloupe Island. Both tunes were a great illustration of Ingham’s attention to detail, duplicating Herbie’s piano voicings as well as his light touch.
The second set began immediately with the familiar call-and-response phrase of Bobby Timmons’ Moanin’, made famous by Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, allowing trumpeter Paul Higgs to let rip with a bluesy and swinging solo.
The ‘odd one out’ for this Blue Note tribute was Cedar Walton’s Bolivia, from his Eastern Rebellion album, released on the Timeless label in 1976, which, as Chris Ingham explained, was a hard bop classic recorded at a time when many jazz musicians had moved on to more popular styles of music. This tune fitted in perfectly with the latin-influenced hard bop repertoire with the signature tight arrangement of the original with fast-fingered work from bassist Robert Rickenberg.
Under-rated composer and pianist Duke Pearson’s Jeannine provided an opportunity for one of the most memorable solos of the night from Kevin Flanagan, zipping through the chord changes in a style reminiscent of Cannonball Adderley.
Donald Byrd’s Ghana, from his 1960 Blue Note album Byrd in Flight, served as an excellent feature for expressive drummer George Double and included an outstanding solo from tenor saxophonist Colin Watling.
Ingham’s Rebop ended with Joe Henderson’s rarely performed original Mamacita, giving solid bassist Robert Rickenberg another chance to shine.
Rather than playing the more obvious classics (such as The Sidewinder or Song For My Father) the focus was more on the musicians’ favourites such as Hank Mobley’s This I Dig of You and Wayne Shorter’s Speak No Evil. What came across most was that the band enjoyed re-creating the sound of these classic recordings and connecting to the tunes through their own solos.
Bandleader Chris Ingham lightened the mood throughout the evening with his dry humour, but also excelled at propelling the band and getting the best out of a group of outstanding musicians.
Chris Ingham, piano
Kevin Flanagan, alto sax
Paul Higgs, trumpet
Colin Watling, tenor sax
Robert Rickenberg, double bass
George Double, drums
Sister Sadie (Horace Silver)
Una Mas (Kenny Dorham)
Speak No Evil (Wayne Shorter)
This I Dig of You (Hank Mobley)
Dolphin Dance (Herbie Hancock)
Cantaloupe Island (Herbie Hancock)
Moanin’ (Bobby Timmons)
Bolivia (Cedar Walton)
Jeannine (Duke Pearson)
Ghana (Donald Byrd)
Mamacita (Joe Henderson)
Encore: Finger Poppin’ (Horace Silver)