NIKKI ILES QUINTET REVIEW
REVIEW – by Trudie Squires
Bonington Theatre, High Street, Arnold
IT WAS hugely satisfying to see and hear two splendid musicians who have been stalwarts of the British modern jazz scene for decades, playing together in Nikki Iles excellent quintet. Tenor-saxist Stan Sulzmann’s career stretches back over 40 years and he has nurtured an instantly recognisable sound, while trumpeter Dick Pearce was a mainstay in Ronnie Scott’s band for many years. Iles has worked with Sulzmann since winning a British Jazz Award just over ten years ago and this was evident in the way their playing dovetailed perfectly, especially in intricate passages played in unison. Sulzmann played with a velvety, breathy tone, linking creative phrases with great fluidity. Pearce was also technically brilliant with a crackling, cut glass attack and another player with an endless abundance of ideas. Nikki Iles’ agile and assured piano style illustrated her power and technical command. Bass player Adian O’Donnell’s well-crafted bass lines and drummer Stephen Keogh’s astutely percussive patterns shared the dialogue with the piano, rather than merely support it. The group, apart from two compositions by Nikki, played classic hard bop numbers by Wayne Shorter, Harold Arlen, Joe Henderson, Cole Porter and Kenny Wheeler.