Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1090

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Live

Ciyo Brown Quartet : Streatham Hideaway 27/12/2019

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Ciyo Brown introduced himself as Jamaican british,his point being, you can take the very best of both cultures and that's what he managed to achieve tonight,gloriously mixing it all up.Kicking off sans guitar,with a bluesy slow swinging version of 'Paper Moon', ( with a funky A section !) Yes it was time to stretch his vocal skills that soon followed on with his own composition 'Borderline' a funky see sawing r&b nugget, replete with a signature guitar solo that also took the tune out with consummate style.Sinatra's 'Lush life' gets an airing too a throwback from Ciyo's recent stage play 'Cafe Society Swing' a notoriously hard one to pull off but Brown acquits himself admirably. 'Can We Pretend' a Bill Withers staple, gets a lively work out too, as does the 40's styled swinging minor blues of 'One Meatball'

Not only is he a fine singer and an exceptional musician but a rather good story teller,tales from being a young kid growing up in Jamaica listening to mento,Bluebeat,Ska and The Beatles, sees Ciyo visting his roots tonight.He obviously relished diving through his parents record collection as a kid, so thank god for families with good taste!

Second set got off to a jaunty start with another Ol Blues Eyes tune 'S'Marvellous' a rocksteady outing that pianist,Sean Hargreaves, relished throughout his emphatic soloing
teeing up Brown's sterling efforts whose solo burst is as equally inspiring and when it drops to bassist, Neville Malcolm's imperious tone, which shines through, prove that the pistons definately seem to be working! Underpinned by some fine sidestick accompaniment from drummer Pete Adam-Hill who, to top things off,adds the cohesive glue to the unit.

A brace of originals are up next starting with the breezy 'Jazzy Mood For Love' a sweet, subtle continuation of Brown's commercial formula with some skillful scat that gets used judiciously throughout the night followed by 'Eyes That Glow' a tricky and complicated number that gives way to a glorious piano and guitar solo that sweetly release the tension of the tune.Up next, a lesser covered Beatles classic'I Will ' deftly reharmonised,hits the mark showing that great songs stand up up to how they are interpretated and this one gets a fine treatment showing off the genius of Lennon and McCartney.

During 'You Gotta Try' there were moments tonight when I sat transfixed by the sight and the sounds of Ciyo Brown's fingers flying about his beautiful Fibonacci guitar easily reaching the heights that Benson presides on. As a guitarist, Brown is a master, his vivacious, nimble style (often paired with dual scat singing ) rumbles with slinky verve. It's loose, feather-light and adorned with spry and nimble fretwork with soft flowing lines always enhancing the melody.

Finishing with 'So Tender' some Wes Montgomery inspired modal blessedness, coupled with some fine piano and guitar interplay, was just the ticket to send us on our merry way and it was great to be back at the Hideaway, south london's finest jazz establishment,tonight was a perfect taster for the New Year's Eve celebrations putting us in that jazzy mood for merriment!
PHOTOS BY EMRYS BAIRD
Words Emrys Baird

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