Live review

Five-Way Split at Toulouse Lautrec

Five-Way Split
(Toulouse Lautrec. 12 June 2021. Review by Lavender Sutton)

Five-Way Split. Photo credit Nolan Regent

Toulouse Lautrec has been back in full swing for a few weeks now with everything from burlesque to singer-songwriters to life drawing classes, but most of all they’ve been hosting some of the best jazz groups that have either been formed or rehearsing like crazy through quarantine times. 

Saturday night was no exception, with the newly formed bebop partnership Five-Way Split. Each member as formidable as the next, the group boast equal contributions of compositions in the style of some of their hardbop heroes, such as The Jazz Messengers. 

The group consists of pianist Rob Barron, trumpeter Quentin Collins, tenor/soprano saxophonist Vasilis Xenopoulos, bassist Mátyás Hofecker, and drummer Matt Home. On each tune, Barron, Xenopoulous and Collins took a blow and, often enough, Home and Hofecker got a turn too. While this format could have become repetitive or tired, the truth is it didn’t. No one seemed to run out of interesting ideas in their solos and from the serious “jazz faces” on these five, it was clear that they wanted to showcase each other’s ideas – blend them, highlight them. The collective process for the musicians with the resulting music for the audience. Almost like a room full of flies on the wall. 

Highlights included an arrangement of Moon River by pianist David Hazeltine, with lots of hits and surprising style changes that made quite a dreary, old classic refreshed again; a catchy piece by Xenopoulos called San Sebastián and the burning tempo of Evidently, a composition by Barron. 

Barron pointed out that while the band had been formed for almost a year now, they’d only had three gigs. It’s doubtful that there will be a shortage of gigs for Five-Way Split in the future. 

LINK: Toulouse Lautrec website

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