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The Alan Barnes Quartet


Alan Barnes arrived at Southampton Jazz Club on the back of a weekend of jazz at The Swanage Jazz Festival. There he played in his octet and duo settings, for Tuesday, 17 July, 2018 he was in a quartet consisting of:

Alan Barnes – Saxophones and clarinet

Robin Aspland – Piano

Adam King – Bass

Matt Fishwick – Drums

The thing with Alan is that you always know that you are going to hear first class sax playing and that he will always be supported by strong players he knows will give a good performance: and tonight’s showing was no exception. The band kicked of with Billy Reid’s “I’ll Close My Eyes” – Alan on alto – before going in to “Kitty” by Harry “Sweets” Edison with Alan on the baritone sax. Jerome Kern’s “This Song Is You” had Matt Fishwick upping the tempo and great call and response playing between sax and piano. The set then went Bossa Nova with Antônio Carlos Jobim’s “Triste”. Alan switched to clarinet for this one and the rhythm section shone when Alan stepped back for a few bars. “Detour Ahead” was the penultimate tune of the first set. The tune is a jazz standard with words and music credited to Herb Ellis, John Frigo, and Lou Carter. The song was written in 1947 while Carter, Ellis and Frigo were part of The Soft Winds, a group they created after leaving Jimmy Dorsey’s orchestra. While officially credited to Carter, Frigo, and Ellis, there is no agreement in whether all three composed the song – Alan introduced it as a Frigo tune. The audience responded very well to Alan’s alto playing on this one but I must give a mention to bassist Adam King whose playing was exemplary.

Beer replenishment, CD purchasing and raffle.

The second set got underway with Benny Golson’s “Stablemates”, written in 1955, before the band got in to a discussion about how they were going to play Gillespie’s “The Eternal Triangle” and what intro they would be using – personally I love to hear a band do this. They decided on an uptempo approach, which was probably the right way to go considering that the next tune, “Some Other Spring”, was a beautifully played ballad. Alan played baritone sax on “Soul Station”, the Hank Mobley jazz standard that I never tire of hearing, before “Emily” was played at a waltz pace. The tempo was upped for another Hank Mobley number “This I Dig Of You”, which can also be found on the “Soul Station” album released back in 1960. The final number of the evening went to “Body & Soul”, a tune that has been recorded by so many different artists but most famously, and influentially, by Coleman Hawkins. This was a terrific tune with which to finish the set and with touches of “Red Red Robin” thrown in for good measure Alan’s humour was there right to the very end.