Ray d’Inverno Quintet, Be-Bop Club Bristol, Friday 20th January

Ray d'Inverno - that's not the Be Bop Club's new piano sadly

“…me too!!!” , I wanted to shout as Ray d’Inverno rhapsodised and declared his love for  the Keith Jarrett tune he was about to play late in this newly formed quintet’s second set.  In my own fumbling attempts at music making I played ‘Everything that Lives Laments’ for about ten years first with a quintet I co-led with my mate Pete, and then with my trio finally recording it on one of those home produced, sell at gigs kind of CDs (shhh…).  I’ve lately rested it from the set, but hearing this very fine quintet play their socks off on it, maybe its time to revisit. My personal response to this gig was as much flavoured by the choice of material as by the (very high) quality of the musicianship. Its a repeating experience with Ray d’Inverno; when I’ve seen him, he invariably plays something that I’ve heard and loved so much I’ve had to have a go myself, or one I’ve heard and thought the same but maybe been slightly daunted by its complexity. The latter category on this occasion was a Joshua Redman tune called Cat Battles. Its a typical Redman composition; almost funky but still somehow swinging, catchy melodic riffs with the soloing as likely to burst into racing swing as settle into rhythmic motifs, but lots of tricky little harmonic shifts.  Its not funk, its not post bop… Hip Bop? It always makes me want to join in. And this band were really ‘on it’.  I could go on. There were tunes by Chick Corea, d’Inverno himself and some less well known players (Christian Jacob was a new one on me I’ll confess, but on the strength of how often what Ray likes I find myself liking, I’ll check him out!)

The absolutely packed club were left in no doubt that this was the bands first outing – but it was only the annoucing that gave a clue. Andy Hague on trumpet  and recently settled on the these shores Canadian Terry Quinney on tenor were relaxed and fluent on all the material.  Cat Battles illustrated why Simon Gore, depping for the evening on drums, is such a phenomenon. The crispness of the groove and the stops and starts of the theme were perfect, no matter that he appeared to be reading it and later in the evening we were treated to the full churning, windmill action drum solo. Exhilarating. The beating heart of this band, the relationship between piano and bass player Ben Taylor was unfailingly propulsive. I’ll own that there is something slightly scary about (emeritus Professor) d’Inverno, his announcing veered into the slightly didatic as he offered musicological analysis of a few of the pieces, so I confined myself to skipping out of the door with a grin on my face rather than share my enthusiasm directly at the end (or try and nick his fat book of charts!)



  1. Hi Mike, recently came across your blog, grateful to you for drawing attention to gigs/venues one might never know about with the demise of Venue. Plus, of course, your illuminating comments.
    I’ve become very keen on Moscow Drug Club lately, they have a bunch of very keen fans, and am planning to catch Zen Hussies at the Golden Lion on Friday who I imagine play in a similar vein.
    Steve Tye.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s