I think Damon Brown is a fabulous improviser and he swings like the clappers. Those qualities were very evident last night at the Be-Bop’s inaugural session of the new season. He invariably plays ‘changes’ orientated material, but is constantly inventive and melodic on that material and seems to have an instinct for an unexpected turn and dramatic flourish. He brought the Spanish pianist Ignasi Teraaza with him and the addition of Thad Kelly on bass and Andy Hague on drums made for a potent cocktail. This set was very firmly located in bop/ hardbop territory with the repertoire determinedly standard/ classic.Ignasi Terraza was an interesting player. He sounded like a cross between Bill Evans and Oscar Peterson; very much bluesey be-bop but then some really spikey modern whimsey would interrupt, as it did on a fabulous solo rendition of These Foolish Things.
Every time Damon comes to Bristol, he seems to be more firmly located in the the classic style of his heroes like Clifford Brown. There was less of the rythmic inventivness that he is capable of last night but still plenty of joyful swinging and the band really warmed up in the second set.