Jazz musicians are renowned for thinking on their feet, but when circumstances throw them a curveball, their inventiveness can take the breath away. Such was the case this evening. The gig was billed as a quartet, but when saxophonist Alex Garnett got ridiculously delayed by the Greater London traffic, Steve and Matt Fishwick and Oli Hayhurst decided to press on regardless.
As it happened, having to make up their set ‘on the fly’ provided a voyage of discovery for both musicians and audience alike, all the while making the most of this unusual instrumental combo. The timbre of trumpet, bass and drums could have palled quickly had it not been for the adeptness and ingenuity of this quick-thinking trio.
Opening with Kenny Dorham’s ‘I Had the Craziest Dream’, Steve Fishwick’s muted trumpet was like an intimate call to arms atop Oli Hayhurst’s walking bass and Matt Fishwick’s brushed drums. In contrast, the brisk bop of Dizzy Gillespie’s ‘Woody and You’ upped the energy levels, spurred on by some fantastic ride and hi-hat work, not to mention a terrific tom-centred solo from the twin-on-the-skins.
Steve switched to flugelhorn for Monk’s ‘Round Midnight’, imparting the old chestnut of a tune with a big sound and a soothing mellowness. Wayne Shorter’s ‘Night Dreamer’ was a much more astringent affair, with a decisive punched out rhythm and squealing trumpet top notes. Then we entered Maynard Ferguson territory, with a scorching version of ‘After You’ve Gone’, on which the trio married facility with technique to remarkable effect – a burner in every respect!
Zipping through Charlie Parker’s ‘Quasimodo’ and Denzil Best’s ‘Move’, Hayhurst and the Fishwick twins showed no let up in their reserves of driving bebop energy. And it only came down a couple of notches during Dizzy Gillespie’s ‘You Go To My Head’, as Steve’s Harmon-muted trumpet danced around the Latin-flecked snare rimshots that cut across Hayhurst’s laser-focused bassline.
‘Alone Together’ was taken as a ballad, again featuring flugel, while Monk’s ‘Well You Needn’t was rendered by trumpet, bass and drums, with not a piano key in sight!
Ma Rainey’s ‘CC Rider’ was a stonking slow blues on which to end, leaving us all aghast at what can be achieved in the face of adversity.
©Julia Price 2019