YOU wait ages for an electric organ trio to come along. And then …
In November Cheltenham Jazz presented Nigel Price’s threesome – a setting for his virtuoso guitar playing.
Now here they were with a similar format: star- tenor-saxophonist Paul Booth, organist Ross Stanley and drummer Andrew Bain. And the reaction was …vive la difference!
Booth’s band is very much a band, a thing of inspired empathy. Mind you, one could imagine negative mutterings about his massively sophisticated musical palette.
Instead he produced the opposite reaction. And that was the result of a skilfully planned and varied programme.
And – much more than that – it was due to the brain’s capacity to appreciate and enjoy creative complexity, when it comes flying upon a high tide of logic and momentum. No sweat, it was pure enjoyment. .
It certainly helped that Ross Stanley is the UK’s leading organist. He did great chunky chord Hammond blues to die for. But more, he had an instinctive flair for his instrument’s sound, weaving waves of delcious dissonance into conventional sequences.
Whilst Andrew Bain was a lead player’s delight, keeping the beat ever varied and interesting, and anticipating to a hair’s breadth, the need for increased dynamics.
A familiar old standard You’re My Everything tuned the ear to the trio’s approach.
Booth is a composer of note. Three of a Kind offered a bluesy kick, that had the saxist riding evolving waves of rising excitement, and Regatta suggested deeply mysterious voyaging.
A Charlie Mingus ballad and some fire-eating Jaco Pastorious jazz-rock were fine additions to the mix.
A free pint was on offer for anyone who could number the flying time signatures on Cole Porter’s, I Love You.
No-one did. But the exhilaration experienced in the attempt, was quite something.