Garland, Keezer & Locke, Pizza Express, Dean Street, London
Thursday 16 October 2003
While the celebrity-conscious headed to Regent Street last week to hear Clint Eastwood's bass-playing son Kyle, the more discerning were to be found a few minutes east at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho listening to a trio of rare distinction. Britain's Tim Garland is a saxophonist who can claim international stature, as can the Americans, pianist Geoff Keezer and vibraphonist Joe Locke. Individually, they have appeared alongside the likes of Kenny Barron, Christian McBride and Chick Corea. That is not to say, however, that a combination such as theirs is sure to succeed, for managing without a drummer or a bass player brings an added challenge, and doubly so with neither. Each player must draw on percussive sides to their instruments that may normally be neglected, and time, in usual circumstances the ultimate responsibility of the bass player, becomes a precarious tightrope on which the trio must tread.
That at no point did one miss either instrument is a tribute to how successfully these three mesh. For one moment I mused that they might well make the core of a Steps Ahead for their generation, Garland for Brecker, Locke for Mainieri and Keezer for Grolnick; and then dismissed the thought, for that would be to miss the point. They have chosen a different canvas, and fill it admirably.
At one point Garland used the words "chamber jazz". This is a term some may object to, finding it overly redolent of classical music. But it is apt, provided one does not invest in it too many of the perceived strictures of classical form. That it suggests an element of the miniature doesn't mean the result is any less vivid.
Locke, using four mallets, took turns with Keezer to ensure the safety of the pulse. In this situation it requires great musicianship to stay "in" time when one of the two chooses to go "out", but they managed it, with one small lapse from which they quickly recovered and which was treated with quite rightful joy, just as the audience cheers when an ice-skater regains equilibrium during a pirouette of superhuman ambition.
Locke has his own voice, and brings a freshness to the vibes that Bobby Hutcherson, the elder of the instrument, lacked on his last two concerts in London. Keezer is possibly the most versatile pianist of his generation, able to bring vitality and a personal touch to every style I've heard him play, while Garland's empathy and restrained leadership was a study in quiet confidence. I could not fault this stunningly accomplished trio, who produce music of originality and great accessibility, in any way.
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 2 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 3 Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after treatment by British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis
American Horror Story season 4, Fox - TV review: Sensitive, silly and sensational
Breaking Bad season 6 hoax: Vince Gilligan has not confirmed a new series
MOBO awards 2014: Sam Smith sweeps the board and takes four gongs
The Apprentice 2014, episode 3, review: Lord Sugar hacks away at the deadwood with another double elimination
Channel 5 gives Big Brother the cold shoulder
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'