Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Live

The QCBA Quartet: Brilliant Corners, London 22/09/15

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Do you consider yourself hip, trendy and happening? Is there a lurking bohemian side to you? Then Dalston may be for just for you... It's managed to shake off much of its socially-deprived past and has re-emerged as a buoyant place to be, where there is something for everyone and Brilliant Corners is one such destination. A fantastic and lively sushi restaurant / bar that knows good food is wholly complimented by good live music... Tonight is no exception and the mix is just right...

Horn players Quentin Collins and Brandon Allen, two legendary London lounge lizards and associates of Ronnie Scott's, launched their stupendous new album "Beauty In Quiet Places" at this packed buzzing venue and were ready, like anxious athletes at a big race, to reel off their material, one by one, in glorious fashion.

Opening with "Don't Behave", a belter that pretty much sets the benchmark for their imposing style - this has great sounding organ, punchy drums and interesting heads all consolidate to make this marvellous unit come out on top!

Trumpeter, Collins leaps into the first of many solos and his playing is utterly phenomenal - full of heart and soul and virtuosity - a highly refreshing tone indeed and a fantastic start to this special evening began to unfold.

The gospel inspired "Handshake" is up next, with the audience joining in on the clapping intro, driven by the bluesiest of organ playing courtesy of Ross Stanley, who also happens to take care of the bass in true organ trio style. This guy is the glue for the hornmens' flights of fancy and bedazzling flurries bolstered by the explosive Enzo Zirilli on drums. This is no jam band or pick-up band, it's a 'proper' band of well honed and totally 'on it' musicians, who were embellishing the intimacy of tonight's venue in a buoyant upbeat fashion. The crowd are being treated to something special and they knew it!

"Peace of Silver" is a captivating homage to the recently departed Horace Silver, a true giant in jazz. Again, the boys knock it out of the park with some scintillating solo organ, stripped down to the bare essentials before the torrent of horn soloing kicks in. Allen's imperious tenor playing is a joy to behold long, flowing, sometimes asymmetrical melodies, in lifting and falling moods with a slow-burn rasping quality - this results in long builds and a great intensity beneath the guy's effortless cool and measured presentation.

Special guest of the evening is a man who needs no introduction, but aI'll give him one anyway, the one and only Omar. This sees the band kick back into some down town funk on a track called, "High Heels". Which now allows the singer to weave his unique magic, his lilting vocalese style fits perfectly on top of the bossa inspired "Ordinary Day", which followed next.

"Oscar's Lullaby" allows Collins' beautiful flugelhorn to shine. It had me reminiscing about the late great Kenny Wheeler, tender and lyrical, proving a perfect match to his partner: mixing soft and hard light, plus shade - Ying and yang if you like!

It's no wonder half of london's jazz musicians were in the audience, these guys are musicians' musicians. Their music can be complex AND heavy going, but never dense or distant - 'always' inviting and open. Rarely have two horn players reflected the richness of jazz in the UK like these boys. Go and see them live and better still, pick up their new stonking CD and tell them I sent you! A top-notch night, that's for sure, is well and truly guaranteed........

PHOTOS: EMRYS BAIRD
Words Emrys Baird

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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