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Sunday 4 December 2016

Tasty evidence that the big band sound is still alive and well

Grainne Farren

Published 26/03/2012 | 06:00

BIG bands are still alive and swinging, despite downturns, downloads and downbeat prophets of doom. Lloyd Ryan leads this 16-piece British outfit from the drum kit, urging it on without dominating it. Buddy Rich is the name that springs to mind, and in fact Ryan once played the support act to Rich at the Lewisham Jazz Festival.

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The section work is tasty, with a good balance between reeds and brass. The band plays tunes by an assortment of composers from different genres. Van Morrison's Moondance and Lennon & McCartney's Norwegian Wood are among the numbers getting a fresh treatment. I Wish I Knew, a mid-tempo blues, will be remembered by film buffs as the signature tune of Barry Norman's movie review programme. Other notable tracks are Ya Gotta Try and the leisurely Ice Castles.

John-Paul Gard Come on Rita

Featuring JP Gard (Hammond organ), Kevin Glasgow (guitar), Gethin Jones (drums)

LIKE big bands, organ trios are often spoken of in the past tense. Wrong again. This UK group is a fine example, varying pace, tempo and feeling in a selection of original tunes by Gard.

J and Jimmy is presumably a tribute to Jimmy Smith, from whom the British organist has learned a lot. Its gradual build-up of excitement makes it a highlight. Tea 4 Joey has a relaxed, late-night feel, contrasting with the ebullience of Fast as Toast and John Meets Pat. The interplay between the three musicians shows a real rapport, and the leader leaves plenty of space for Kevin Glasgow's warm-hearted guitar solos.

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