GEOFF GASCOYNE QUINTET
REVIEW – by Trudie Squires
THIS quintet of absolutely superb musicians showcased Gascoyne’s arranging and composing skills as well as his wonderful bass playing. It was the Nottingham-born bassist’s first night leading his own group for some time – for the past few years he has been musical director and arranger for Jamie Cullum in the singer’s meteoric rise to fame. Many of Geoff’s own compositions were featured; all highly melodic, some smooth and satisfying, along with selections of meaty, hard-bop – something for the soloists to get their teeth into. A highlight was his gorgeous arrangement of the Andy Williams hit Almost There, was played as a soaring theme over 3/4 rhythm.
The quintet’s front line consisted of Martin Shaw, playing trumpet and flugelhorn and Steve Kaldestad (tenor-saxophone). Shaw’s lightly bristling attack on trumpet was a delight and delivered with crystal clarity; his muted work was hot and sweet, while he played flugel with a silky, silvery tone. Alongside him Kaldestad’s tenor was the perfect foil; he had a laid-back, unhurried style, his careful choice of notes and phrases played with a tone as smooth and creamy as caffe latte. Pianist Tom Cawley, from Derby, had an intoxicating, at times explosive and mischievous style, his relentless improvisations mercilessly thrashing the piano. Gascoyne gave a magnificent display of both supportive as well as scrupulously accurate bass playing; his sound from this most noble of instruments was rich and warm, generating a tremendous swing. Drummer Sebastian de Krom, was an unobtrusive and attentive percussionist, mostly steaming gently in the background but a competent and exuberant soloist, especially on Crosstalk, a number taken at a fair pace where he could demonstrate his percussive skills. Geoff paid tribute to the late, great bassist Ray Brown with a rousing version of Frankie And Johnnie as the quintet’s final offering; driven by a rocking off-beat there were lusty solos from all to round off a great session.