REVIEW: Quincy Jones Presents Jacob Collier Solo Show debut, and Justin Kauflin Trio at Ronnie Scott's

Jacob Collier. Photo credit: Carl Hyde. All Rights Reserved


Quincy Jones Presents Jacob Collier Solo Show debut and Justin Kauflin
(Ronnie Scott's, 1st July 2015. Review by James P.K. Pearson)

Our minds, warned Quincy Jones, presenting Jacob Collier’s debut solo show at Ronnie Scott’s, were “about to be blown on to the roof.” which, safe to say, was an understatement.

Collier, who at the age of 20 is yet to graduate from the Royal Academy of Music, arrested the audience with pure wonderment and awe in a debut solo show that securely marks his place as jazz’s new prodigy. Having recently taken established a collaboration with Ben Bloomberg of the MIT Media Lab, to find new ways to multi-track music live, Collier displayed a fine array of musical talents. Counting the number of instruments on stage proved difficult, but I would estimate around 12 or 13.

Flipping between the Steinway grand, keyboards, percussion and bass using looping pedals, multitracking and a fantastic projector show behind him, Collier’s fresh interpretation of Quincy Jones’ PYT stunned the audience. Heads shook in pure disbelief throughout the evening due to the sheer range and quality of his singing and playing, which was particularly world class in his renditions of Chaplin’s Smile and Bacharach/David’s Close to You, his pulsating funk bass lines and multi-layered vocal lines aiding the bopping of heads around the room. It feels natural to reach for the superlatives adequately to describe the feeling and vibe Collier spread throughout Ronnie’s in his 45 minute set, which closed with Gershwin’s  Fascinatin' Rhythm, which marked progression from his Youtube version.

Quincy Jones then moved on to introducing another of his young stars, Justin Kauflin, who remarked that his job of following Collier was immensely tough; his sound was one that “no human being or group of human beings could ever recreate”, which on reflection seems just about fair enough. Along with long-term collaborator Billy Williams on the drums, and bassist Chris Smith, Kauflin classily presented his talents in improvisation and jazz songwriting. No wonder Quincy Jones took these two young musicians under his wing.

You simply have to see it to believe it. The show will have a high profile outing as the opening act for Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea at this year's Montreux Jazz Festival.

LINK: More of Carl Hyde's photos. NB Copyright applies.  

James P. K. Pearson is a geography graduate and jazz pianist, looking to work in music promotion.

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