Review: Dave Jones' Affinity

Dave Jones' Affinity. Left to right: Tony Woods, Meredith White,
Dave Jones, Simon Pearson, Pete Callard 

Dave Jones' Affinity
(Orange Tree, Richmond, 8th February 2012, presented by Way Out West. Review by Jonathan Whines)
In the sub-zero temperatures of last Wednesday night, some hardier souls gathered in the cosy basement of the WOW Jazz Club at the Orange Tree in Richmond to hear new compositions from the bassist Dave Jones and his wonderful band Affinity.

Dave’s band has been around for some years - there's a great first album Dave Jones' Affinity (Black Box) - but he has clearly been busy writing new material in the past year. The title of one of his beautiful ballads “Joy at Finding A Beautiful Thing in an Unexpected Place” sums up the experience of hearing this music for the first time: Dave’s writing is sophisticated and nuanced. Just when you think you know where he’s going, there is a change of texture or tempo, you do find yourself in an unexpected place and …. it’s beautiful!!

Drummer Simon Pearson’s effortless and intricate rhythms and Dave’s surging bass propelled the music,while Tony Woods (saxes) always brings such commitment to his music and can shift between the sweetest lyrical playing to the growling and screaming full ahead sax.

A particular pleasure was to hear the harmonized guitar or piano line give a finished edge to the melodic sound. Pete Callard (guitar) is a dazzling soloist, who also offers a whole palette of shifting textures and sounds. Pianist Meredith White, whilst not indulging in the technical fireworks of her colleagues brings an amazing quality of presence to her playing. She is a very sensitive accompanist and her improvisation has a very particular quality. If jazz is about endeavouring to create in the moment then Meredith seems to embody this in her playing, which makes for compelling listening.

This delicate yet powerful music requires the band to really listen and interact which they do to great effect. As with all good music these musicians can draw you into their particular harmonic and melodic world; the analytic brain of the listener can quietly close down, allowing the simple and great pleasure of just listening to a really great band..

Were you a stranger in Richmond on that freezing night and you happened to stumble upon this gig I have no doubts you would have experienced “Joy at Finding A Beautiful Thing in an Unexpected Place ! ”. I understand a new album of the current material is being planned. Definitely a band to look out for..

Way Out West (wowjazz.org) is weekly Wednesday gig. This week 15th: the Pat Bettison Trio

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