The album Quiet Tiger from which this evening’s music was drawn has been much reviewed, chewed over and applauded (press, more press, blogs), so as I write this reflection with a bit of hindsight I’m thinking more about what has stayed with me since the gig than describing the music. I hadn’t heard the album before going to the gig and I was struck, like many of the reviewers, by the different side of Kit Downes on display in the compositions and playing as compared with the trio. This music to my ears draws more on swinging jazz, country and blues than the first trio album. Highlights were Tambourine, the up-tempo country ish Jarretty number that got the blood flowing with furious improvising from the piano over insistent riffs from the horns; some gloriously un-hinged blowing from James Allsop on tenor to bring in a long free-ish episodic piece – earlier he’d enchanted me with the stately ballad With a view; Skip James, more country blues- a great emotional outpouring by the band. Heroes of the evening – Mr Allsop, the ensemble and Mr. Downes for the layered intriguing music that made me want to listen again. Perhaps the atmosphere was dampened by the rather too sparsely populated echoey Hall 2, but lets blame the sun, bank holiday weekend and slightly low key publicity around Bristol for that.
Kit Downes Sextet, Colston Hall, Saturday 23rd April