Angelo Debarre Quartet
Thursday 23rd October - Bonington Theatre
By Trudie Squires
EVERY ticket sold out well in advance of this concert as Jazzhouse organisers Brian Pearce and Dave Shepherd at last managed to secure the services of this fantastic French guitarist in a gig sponsored by Lookers Honda, of Lenton Lane, Nottingham, which was promoting its range of Jazz cars.
Angelo DeBarr, a small, hunched figure, who sat almost motionless, except for his hands - which were a blur on the up-tempo numbers - was absolutely phenomenal and no-one at all could have gone away unaffected by such an exceptional display of guitar magic. His incredibly intricate phrasing, peerless pure tone, high velocity chord work and an apparently unquenchable flow of improvisational ideas blended perfectly with the velvet tones of violinist Andy Aitchison, who was guesting with the quartet. Behind the two front-liners rhythm guitarist Dave Kelbie and bassist Andy Crowdy provided a gentle but powerful swing; the latter also produced some fine solos.
The quartet drew most of its material from the popular melodies that were around in the late 1930s and early 1940s, ranging from ballads to bolero; from waltzes to swing. Tunes such as Running Wild, Crazy Rhythm and Sheik Of Araby were taken at terrific tempos, while a poignant version of the Hot Club of Paris standard Nuage was faithfully explored by Angelo in an elegant, beautifully constructed solo using the whole range of his instrument. On Embraceable You he engaged in a twirling duet with Aitchison's violin. Dave Kelbie, who did all the announcements, was another musician that paid tribute to the Jazzhouse management and the audience's reaction to the music, which, he said, compared very favourably to the response that the quartet received at other venues.