Playing Dizzy Gillespie's music is an ambitious project, but the Bill Blackmore Sextet rose to the challenge last week in the John Field Room. In 'Dizzy Atmosphere', Blackmore (trumpet) was supported by Peter Dobai (tenor sax), Colm O'Hara (trombone), Darragh O'Kelly (piano), Derek Whyte (bass) and Conor Murray (drums).
The opening numbers, Con Alma and Manteca lacked a bit of swing, despite an intense trio passage by piano, bass and drums. Birks' Works fared better, with both trumpeter and tenor-player showing a strong feeling for the blues. The sextet really got into its stride with Groovin' High, and even more so in Salt Peanuts. This was true to the real bop sound, with percussive piano and tremendous trumpet and trombone solos.
The drummer was the star of Tin Tin Deo, but the group reached its peak in a warm-hearted Dizzy Atmosphere and a punchy Night in Tunisia.
Another tribute comes up on October 6 in the Kevin Barry Room, NCH: a homage to Miles Davis, who died 20 years ago but there won't be a trumpeter in sight -- and with Dave Liebman (soprano sax), Ronan Guilfoyle (bass), Sarah Beuchi (voice) and Izumi Kimura (piano), something tells me it will be more Bitches Brew than Kind of Blue.
On October 3, Chucho Valdes and the Afro-Cuban Messengers play the NCH. In JJ Smyth's on the same night, you can hear Rick Margitza (tenor sax) and his quartet.