Wednesday, 25 July 2012


A "double bill"? A "double feature"? I don't really know what the term would be, in the context of a gig, but on Monday night we were away to see three acts do two sets in the same gig...sort of.
Part of the Edinburgh Jazz Festival saw a concert on Monday, at the Queens Hall, that featured the Jeremy Pelt Quintet in the first set and The Bad Plus & Joshua Redman in the second set.
To be honest it was the second set that really took my fancy when I saw it in the programme.
I've listened to Joshua Redman for years now and find him quite an adventurous sax player (when he wants to be) but with a solid foundation in traditional mainstream jazz. The Bad Plus....well, I've been "into" their stuff for a few years now, but it took me a bit of time to both "get it" and indeed "get into it". Pretty cutting edge stuff. Bass heavy jazz trio that's not entirely jazz - it mostly IS jazz, but they also like to take a bit of rock and punk and grunge even and chuck it at the wall and see what sticks.

Mr Pelt's set was wonderful. Heard a few of his albums before, but never seen him. A fantastic mixed set of rapid machine-gun-tempo straight ahead hard bop numbers and a few soft, mellow, muted ballads. All the numbers were originals but the feeling is pure 50's/60's East Coast. If Don Drapper were to go to a jazz club - this is the stuff he would be listening to.
I got the impression that Pelt knew time was limited, so, while he did talk a little to the audience and introduced his band, he was happy to let the music talk for him and managed to fit in 6 or so fairly lengthy numbers - and for that I am grateful.

As for "set two". As I've said I've listened to The Bad Plus for years and I've listened to Joshua Redman for years. I would have happily gone to see them separately, but to get a chance to see them playing together? Well, I wasn't about to miss the chance.

The main set consisted exclusively of old Bad Plus numbers. Obviously as they have been recorded before this collaboration most people have only heard them in trio format. Adding Redman on sax was an inspired idea... every tune was remoulded and re sculpted. Where some songs had previously been sharp and angular Redman's sax filled in and smoothed the edges.
But it was the ballads that really came to life. The song "People Like You" had the audience on it's feet at the end.
Indeed a standing ovation (not something Queens Hall audiences hand out lightly) ensured the band came on again to give us something completely new - "Underwater Reflections".

Two very different sets - both at different ends of the jazz spectrum - but a great night out.

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