Borrowed Ears Again: Mike Willox, Be Bop Club, Friday 26th March

This was time it was illness that kept me away but the report back was enthusiastic so here goes with another virtual review.

Mike Willox has been enlivening the Bristol scene for two or three years now with his blend of groovyness, brio and not very suppressed wackiness. He’s usually been chained to one those red Nord keyboards but tonight he was playing the club’s piano (increasingly clangy these days, but still a piano). So this band seems to be showing us a different side to Mike in a few ways. If there was a headline it might be ‘Willox in Bill Evans chops shock’. The extended intros, lush and frequently delicate  rendering of themes were all evocative of the legend’s sound and, my borrowed ears tell me, there were a few quotes for the erudite (or plain anoraky) to spot.

The band sound like an exciting prospect with the absolutely locked, breathing as one, totally in sympathy rhythm section of Scott Hammond on drums and Will Harris on bass and the reflective, supremely, melodic soloing of Jake McMurchie all complementing the lead of Mike on piano. The repertoire was mainly standards staring with Like Someone in Love , ending with a rollicking Caravan (you can’t keep a good groove down) with a sprinkling of originals and plenty of twists and arrangements to bring the familiar to life. Lets hope we see more of this outfit; perhaps a bit more assertiveness from Jake my reporter wondered, but maybe she’s just a Pee Wee junky.

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