What do you do on rainy Thursday evening in Bath if you are local resident Clare Teal say, or Pee Wee Ellis of nearby Frome? Why you chip along to Chapel Arts Centre in Bath to see Denis Rollins with his new organ trio – Velocity Trio. I’m glad they did, bringing their singing voice and sax respectively; when they joined the trio later in the evening it tied a very large bow on the evening. Not that Denis and his two pals (Pedro Segundo on drums and Ross Stanley at the organ) were in need of assistance. It was already a special evening before the guests joined in. The trio seemed to be on fire from the outset. They launched into a Rollins original, Hot to Trot, with no ceremony. This is organ trio music. Infectious grooves, the beat more coiled spring than merely propulsive, fiery soloing and the fun they were having very evident; there was nothing accidental about this – every chart that Ross Stanley produced seemed to need two music stands to accommodate it and about seven pages! There were plenty of great moments, Stanley’s soloing offered several; Segundo’s drum solo link between two tunes was another, running the range from whisper to shout and from abstract shimmers to impossibly groovy, percussion like tatoos on the rims of drums and cymbals. The judicious use of some electronics by Rollins added such depth to the sound that i wondered a few times why he would ever need more than three in the band. The material was varied. The funky samba like Hot to Trot was followed by slightly more classic organ trio grooves but veered of into out and out swing as well as dipping into the funk pile.
Clare Teal and Pee Wee joined for a rendition of Georgia. We just sat back and revelled in the moment. Everyone on stage was having such a good time it woudl have been churlish not join in.
We are excitedly anticipating Rollins Week part 2 with Sonny at the Barbican on saturday. John Fordham has done an interview with the great man. A little voice is telling me however that this evening’s unheralded moments will retain a warm glow as intense as anything we might experience at the weeked.