Saturday 20 January 2018

Sextet's CD catches relaxed, spontaneous feel of a good pub gig

Grainne Farren

Dana Meilana 6: Jazz N Belfast (no label)

Dana Masters (vocals), Meilana Gillard (tenor saxophone), Linley Hamilton (trumpet), Scott Flanigan (piano), Carl Harvey (bass), Steve Davis (drums)

The Dana Meilana 6, otherwise known as the Dana Masters Sextet, is a group that plays regularly in Belfast jazz venues. The co-leaders are two American women living in Northern Ireland. Masters, from South Carolina, has the kind of full-bodied voice and dramatic delivery that suggest a gospel background. She sings on four of the eight numbers – vocal versions of Wayne Shorter's Black Nile and Dizzy Gillespie's Night in Tunisia, and two love songs, My Heart's Desire and At Last.

The saxophonist, Meilana Gillard, who comes from New York, has a warm tone and a strong flow of ideas, heard to advantage on all the tracks, including her own tune The Here and Now and Scott Flanigan's N11. On trumpet, Linley Hamilton is in his element in this company, especially on the Mingus classic Nostalgia in Times Square and Joe Henderson's Recordame.

Piano, bass and drums provide solid underpinning, and the CD has the relaxed, spontaneous feel of a good pub gig. Details of the group's live appearances can be found on

MUCH activity on the live front in Dublin – today is the last of the Down With Jazz festival in Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, from 2pm to 8pm. The Hot House Big Band plays on Monday nights in the Mercantile, Dame Street. Minuano, a quintet led by Brendan Doyle (saxes), will play the music of Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays in JJ Smyth's on Tuesday night, and the Mike Nielsen Quartet can be heard there on Thursday night. On Friday, Cormac Kenevey (vocals) and his father Chris Kenevey (piano) are joined by Dan Bodwell (double bass) for a lunchtime concert in the John Field Room.

Sunday Independent

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