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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby




Crotchet

BRUCE ADAMS QUARTET

GOOD BAIT

Ronnie Scott’s Jazz House JHCD 063

 

 

  1. Jordu
  2. Sometime Ago
  3. Strollin
  4. This I Dig of You
  5. Skylark
  6. Good Bait
  7. The Star Crossed Lovers
  8. All My Tomorrows
  9. Sandu

Bruce Adams – Trumpet & Flugelhorn

Dave Cliff - Guitar

Leon Clayton – Bass

Martin Drew – Drums

Recorded Live at the Ronnie Scott Club – 31 May & 2 June 2000.

Bruce Adams is surely one of the finest jazz musicians that the UK has produced; remarkably he has embraced most styles and put them together in a way that is unique to him. The other thing I greatly admire about Bruce is his consistency; I have never been to a performance by him that was less than brilliant.

On this album he is backed by Dave Cliff, Leon Clayton and Martin Drew, who are all stalwarts of the British Jazz Scene. Martin of course has made many appearances in the Oscar Peterson Trio, but all these musicians are of world class stature.

The programme choice is equally interesting Jordu gets things off to a great start, Sometime Ago, I had not heard before, but it is a very attractive melody and there is a fine extended coda on this performance. Strollin is a Horace Silver composition and like all his tunes it makes a great vehicle for improvisation, eagerly seized on by the group. This I Dig Of You, is one of the ‘All Time Great’ jazz tunes, taken at a bright tempo and showing just what a talented improviser Dave Cliff is, before Bruce demonstrates his own up-tempo improvisational skills. Leon Clayton is also an excellent improviser as he demonstrates on this track, before Dave and Bruce trade eight bar breaks with the always-swinging Martin Drew.

Skylark is in the top draw of ballads and Bruce’s performance here is tender and musical as befits such a wonderful tune. Dave Cliff follows suit with the leader and

together the band creates the best version of this Hoagy Carmichael classic I have heard in a long time.

Tad Dameron’s Good Bait is ideal material for Bruce, who puts some effortless high note work into this Jeepers Creepers inspired tune. As it does throughout the album, the rhythm section swings along nicely and makes for another swinging track.

The Star Crossed Lovers, is not a well known Ellington/Strayhorn tune, but like everything from that stable, it makes an excellent vehicle for improvisation, particularly when you have practitioners of the ability of these guys!

All My Tomorrows, is better known, a Sammy Cahn/Jimmy Van Huesen creation, this time we hear Bruce and Dave in mellow ballad mood, but still swinging along gently. Bruce sometimes breaking into double tempo and as usual making the near impossible sound easy.

Somehow it seems fitting that Clifford Brown’s Sandu should be the last track. Clifford was an enormous influence in jazz, but he was killed at a young age in a car accident. It is nice to think that he lives on through his compositions, I am sure that if he could hear this performance by Bruce and his band, he would be pleased to know that his work was still being used to such effect.

This is a very fine album and I strongly recommend it.

 

Don Mather

 

 



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