CLARK TRACEY SEXTET- REVIEW
Thursday 27th November - Bonington Theatre
By Trudie Squires
WHEN Clark Tracey comes along with a new line-up we have come to expect something rather special and this gig proved to be no exception. Included in the line-up were Paul Jordanous (playing trumpet and flugelhorn) and Piers Green (featured on tenor and alto saxophones). Both these youngsters are newly recruited from the Berkshire Youth Jazz Orchestra and were joined on the front line by a phenomenal and extremely young vibraphonist from Norwich, Lewis Wright. Kit Downes - the sextet's advertised pianist - was unable to make it to the gig and was replaced by a familiar face at the Bonington - Leon Greening, who proved to be an absolute knockout with some incredible playing. Bass player Ryan Trebilcock soloed with a warm, singing tone and combined with drummer Tracey in the sextet's robust and swinging rhythm section. Clark, as ever, was the complete, driving percussionist and eloquent and tasteful soloist despite breaking his bass drum head midway through the second set.
Paul Jordanous showed an instant affinity to the hard bop style, exhibiting a confident attacking approach with the trumpet and a smooth velvety tone when switching to flugelhorn. Green seemed to prefer the alto-sax for his solos. His tone was fresh and luxuriant and he too oozed confidence in everything he did. Lewis Wright was a joy to watch; his confidence and superb technique show his potential to become a world class player - an amazing performance from one so young. Leon Greening's solos exhibited his exceptional technical abilities and enthralled the delighted audience. (I heard him talking backstage after the gig and he was yet another top pianist to praise the Bonington's magnificent piano).
Playing in a classic hard-bop style, the sextet included its own originals and compositions by Cedar Walton, Miles Davis and Art Blakey. Highlights were the wonderfully relaxed version of Miles' So Near, So Far, which featured Paul Jordanous' beautiful tone on flugel; Cedar Walton's Bolivia was the ideal vehicle for Lewis Wright's shimmering vibes; an original from Clark's last quintet was The Mighty Sas, which showcased great solos from all the players; and Suddenly Last Tuesday was a Jimmy Deuchar composition from way back in the 1980s, played at an electrifying tempo.