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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



Available through: www.alvinroyjazz.co.uk

 

ALVIN ROY QUARTET

Hedonism

 

 

 


1. Brotherhood of Man
2. Blues for Sandy
3. Autumn Leaves
4. Come Sunday
5. Moonglow
6. Isis Blues
7. Hedonism
8. Just Friends
9. Like Someone in Love
10. St Thomas
 

Alvin Roy – Clarinet
Roger Barnes – Piano
Pete Billington – Bass
Mark Doffman - Drums

 

First I must declare an interest. I know Alvin Roy as he (like me) lives in Oxfordshire and I have even played gigs with him. Alvin has actually been on the jazz scene since 1960, when his trad band won the Soho Jazz Contest and immediately turned professional. His band even had a top 20 hit record in Japan with a tune called True Blue.

As the former leader of a trad band, you might expect Alvin to play Dixieland numbers like The Saints or Bill Bailey but his repertoire is more modern and varied, embracing jazz standards, Ellingtonia, show tunes and original compositions. Of the three originals, Blues for Sandy is Alvin’s tribute to Sandy Brown, one of his idols; Isis Blues is an easygoing swinger; and Hedonism is a bouncy bossa nova with an attractive melody.

Alvin Roy has a pleasant clarinet sound, staying mainly in the middle register but occasionally in danger of becoming slightly shrill when he reaches higher. At his mellowest, as in the sensitive performance of Duke Ellington’s Come Sunday, he may remind the listener of Acker Bilk’s liquid tone.

He is well supported by the rhythm section. Pianist Roger Barnes supplies some interesting solos and intelligent comping, while bassist Pete Billington – a graduate of NYJO and the Royal Academy – underpins the band with rich and varied playing. Autumn Leaves includes a neat contrapuntal duet between clarinet and double bass. Drummer Mark Doffman also provides solid support and gets a chance to shine in the final St Thomas.

The album is clearly recorded, although the title track sounds a bit fuzzy and the drums are frequently low down in the mix so that you can’t always hear the ride cymbal. The rather lurid album cover may create the wrong impression with its phallic overtones, as this is actually a CD of accessible, swinging jazz.


Tony Augarde

 



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