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Alan Barnes

Terry Seabrook's "Miles Project"
A celebration of Miles Davis music

Thursday 27th Jan 2011

Review by Trudie Squires

OUR second gig this year was another well-attended event to hear Terry Seabrook's superb new band, which was a celebration of the music of legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, in particular his Kind Of Blue album. This record was recorded in 1959 and has been available in good record shops ever since. As the best-selling jazz record ever made, it has been a source of inspiration for countless numbers of musicians and jazz record collectors down the decades - even now, somewhere in the world a copy of Kind Of Blue is being sold every second!

Seabrook was aided in his project by formidably talented British musicians who trod purposefully and skilfully in the footsteps of their illustrious mentors. Trumpeter Martin Shaw, who came into the group at short notice, was outstanding in what could be described as the leading role in a band dedicated to Miles. He played with a full, fat tone on both trumpet and the mellower flugelhorn; his muted sound was hot and sweet. Alan Barnes' alto-sax had more than a hint of Cannonball Adderley's magic, while tenor-saxist Ian Price got very close to John Coltrane's biting approach; his tone and technique were awesome. The rhythm team headed by Seabrook's sparkling, inventive piano pivoted around Paul Whitten's huge finger sprung bass and Clarke Tracey's rapacious, intelligent drumming.

The music was a mix of note-perfect arrangements from the Kind Of Blue album, original material written by Seabrook and tunes associated with Davis - my personal favouriteFreddie Freeloader, with its wide turquoise blue harmonics, gave me the distinct impression I was listening to the original Miles line-up. Seabrook's Sketches Of Miles was a medley in two halves, which showed off the talents of all the soloists. That's What was driven by Barnes' outstanding contribution on alto-sax and Shaw's surging horn; Three Miles High slowed things down and featured Shaw's flugel and superb, relaxed tenor-sax from Ian Price. Another three-number medley included a calming version of Blue In Green - a feature for Shaw's incandescent sound on muted trumpet.

After the interval Seabrook turned over his imaginary "Kind Of Blue" LP and played Side 2 continuing with All Blue and Flamenco SketchesM, in all highlighting Price's fluidity and attack; Barnes' scorching alto and Shaw's delightfully tight muted trumpet. Seabrook used the harmonic roots of Flamenco Sketches in his own composition Sketches Of The Orient, which was notable for its emphasis on collective improvisation by the three front-liners. Miles' Wayne Shorter/Herbie Hancock era produced the band's version of the 1960s Devil's Own. Flashbacks to the be-bop era and Miles' later experiments with jazz-funk were all spectacularly demonstrated by this tremendous band. Representing the classic Prestige albums of the mid-1950s Seabrook's composition Boppin' had Ian Price's tenor solo making subtle references to Sonny Rollins' laughing tone. To finish Seabrook went right back to 1949 with his version of Boplicity, with Alan Barnes demonstrating his complete command of the huge, but beautiful baritone sax, followed by majestic trumpet and rustic tenor-sax. Another Jazzhouse winner and a worthy contender for the campaign to keep the Bonington open for many years to come.

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