REVIEW: Alan Barnes - Barnes plays Basie at The Other Palace (2017 EFG LJF)

Alan Barnes (centre) with Robert Fowler
Photo credit: Lisa Wormsley

Alan Barnes - Barnes plays Basie
(The Other Palace. 17 November 2017. EFG LJF. Review by Charlie Anderson)

Saxophonist Alan Barnes brought an all-star line up to The Other Palace to perform the music of Count Basie, with the hard-swinging rhythm section of pianist Robin Aspland, bassist Adam King and drummer Matt Home. Many of the Basie signature introductions were expertly re-created by pianist Aspland, who sounded particularly impressive on One O’Clock Jump, and also contributed a number of intelligent and beguiling solos. Throughout the evening it was the quality of the solos that impressed the most, together with the band’s ability to re-create the Basie big band sound in a reduced ensemble.

Trumpeter George Hogg used a range of trumpet mutes to get the sounds of Buck Clayton and Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison, and stood out on the Basie classics Lil’ Darlin’ and After Supper. Tenor saxophonist Robert Fowler gave a sparkling performance with his beautiful old-school tone combined with prodigious technique and fluency around the instrument, which was illustrated perfectly on his rendition of Blue and Sentimental, that also included a warm, sensitive solo by Alan Barnes on the baritone saxophone. The baritone was also the highlight of the closing number of the first set, One O’Clock Jump, which also served as a bass solo feature for excellent young bassist Adam King.

They started the second set with a swinging Shiny Stockings, and progressed through another set of Basie classics, with an uptempo 9:20 Special, the beautiful Neal Hefti tune Lil’ Darlin’ and a hard swinging Topsy which again featured some beautiful baritone saxophone playing from Alan Barnes. Although they finished with the Basie classic Jumpin’ at the Woodside as their encore, it was inevitable that the enthusiastic audience were going to demand more. They were rewarded with Basie-esque version of Honeysuckle Rose. Promoter and host John Billett once again put on a fantastic show and gave as good as he got when it came to the repartee between him and the perennially funny Alan Barnes.

Line Up
Alan Barnes - alto and baritone saxophone
Robert Fowler- tenor saxophone
George Hogg – trumpet
Robin Aspland – piano
Adam King – double bass
Matt Home – drums

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