Fine wines improve with age, well, let’s see how Roger Beaujolais has fared! A good start was that he brought our old friends, Robin Aspland and Winston Clifford with him. On bass a new name to us, Jason Thorpe.
They kicked off with Full House by Wes Montgomery and sounded as though they at been playing together for centuries. Well, it transpired that they had! This is the regular quartet. Roger, being a four stick player is a joy to watch (and hear) he makes something, that is obviously hard look easy. After a superb start the quartet continued with three original numbers, all by Roger, and they still swung and sounded great, in fact they sounded like standards (if you follow my drift!)
A slower tempo now with Kern’s Yesterdays lots of feeling here and the quartet both taking their solos and joining in with everyone else. Always a good touch.
To end the set, Latin, in the form of a tribute to Jobin by Roger. At the end we all rushed out to the bar to get our Tequilas!
The other three guys deserve to get rave reviews as well. They all are very accomplished musicians in their own right but in this quartet setting they are a joy to listen to. Each one supporting everyone else. Robin with his tight melody rich piano, Jason with his ever musical bass foundation and Winston, a wonderfully sympathetic, rhythmic and musical drummer.
After the break, two more originals then Cole Porter’s I Love You then, Bobby Hutchinson’s Little B’s Poem both sounding fresh as the proverbial.
Next, perhaps a nod to Hollywood with Roger’s Mission Impossible. Then, I think a bit of homage to a possible idol, Milt Jackson’s Heartstrings. Another nod now, possibly to NYC, Mind the Gap. This being the end of the gig, produced a wave of very enthusiastic applause so the band dragged out That old Devil Moon after which a lot of very happy real jazz fans dragged themselves out onto the streets of Cheltenham safe in the knowledge that Jazz is safe and alive in Cheltenham, come what may!