Tim Thornton Quartet
(Lauderdale House, 21st May 2015. Review by Brian Blain)
Always one of the best parts of going out to listen to jazz is to encounter a new band and unfamiliar musicians who really hit the spot. So it was when Young Musician of the Year at the 2013 Parliamentary Jazz Awards , bassist Tim Thornton launched his new band and album at Lauderdale House a couple of weeks ago, although regular attenders of the late jams at Ronnie Scott's would already be familiar with his rich, woody bass sound and the fast bass drum foot of his rhythm partner Chris Draper. With the addition of the go-to guy for any situation, piano player Ross Stanley, here was a rhythm section to savour.
The opening Black and Tan Fantasy was startling, partly because of someone I have never heard before, alto saxophonist James Gardiner-Bateman, blessed with a big powerful sound and a stream of logical thought, shaped by both freedom and harmonic knowledge; and the way Thornton's arrrangement of Ellington's classic fused together elements of the abstract as well as tradition.
And that is how the evening continued, with plenty of the 'eternal verities' of heat and swing as well as liberal soupçons of intriguing abstraction. As ever,Stanley gave a master-class in dynamics and construction on every solo, and his conversation with Thornton on the leader's original, Dresden was just one high spot among many. The Feelgood Place was another, its 'down' theme inspiring one of those 'talk-to-me' Mingus type solos with long sustains on deep bass notes that threatened to shake the walls of this lovely old venue.
In complete contrast, the Beatles' Here, There and Everywhere showed the band's more lyrical side, and a welcome disposition to tackle the unfashionable. Tim is workng hard to build a tour for early next year - that's how long it takes – so do try to catch up with them.