Choir helps awesome recreation
THE Buck Clayton Legacy Band made a fine fine prelude to the awesome recreation of Duke Ellington's Sacred Concert, last performed here by the Duke in 1968.
With a 200-strong choir evoking Ellington's swooning harmonies and Zoe Rahman capturing the bright precision of his piano playing, the Buzzard Big Band caught the Duke's sound. Yolanda Quarty bravely succeeded in catching the original's eerie vocalisations but even more jaw-dropping was a bravura trumpet solo from Jonny Bruce, whose deft use of mute and growl brought the legendary Cootie Williams to the Colston stage.
Get The Blessing's set was as powerful and whimsical as ever. Guest guitarist Adrian Utley's added electronic sounds took them drifting into deep prog territory, helped by Tammy Payne's enigmatically deadpan hippy vocals. That fine breath of modernism led neatly into the progger-than-thou antics of Smith & Willox in the Foyer. Their crashing wah-wah guitar, seething keyboards and uncompromising bass and drums made deconstructed art out of stadium rock. Then the less abrasive Brass Junkies headed for New Orleans, their pumping tunes culminating in a lively procession around the crowded building. They made a great fanfare for festival patron Lilian Boutte whose ebullient personality and soulful vocals won every heart in the room, not least for her bawdy version of Bessie Smith's Don't You Feel My Leg. By contrast the Nick Malcolm Quartet reminded the foyer crowd that improvisation is at the heart of jazz, their evolutionary music taking shape before our very ears. A packed main hall was then rocked by guitarist John Scofield, a relaxed figure between Larry Golding's Hammond and Greg Hutchinson's drumkit, as he sculpted an apparently effortless set from his extensive back catalogue. Each tune was carefully turned over, with Golding's supremacy on the organ given a generous share of the action, but the economic sincerity of Scofield's playing naturally stole the show. And then it was back up for another excellent jam session into the small hours.