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The Simon Spillett Quartet


The April 2018 gig at The Talking Heads did not disappoint with all players on very good form and an audience appreciative of what was delivered.

Simon Spillett – Saxophone

John Horler – Piano

Dave Green – Bass

Spike Wells – Drums

There was no slow build-up with the band getting straight in there at pace on “Just In Time” with Simon Spillett leading the way before taking a break to allow the rhythm section to stretch out. Simon then rejoined the fray with some excellent sax playing, again at pace, with every note crisp and clear. “The Song Is You” followed before things slowed a little for the first of the evening’s ballads. “Darn That Dream” (written by Jimmy Van Heusen) was led by Simon beautifully supported by pianist John Horler, there was wonderful interplay between John and bass player Dave Green with great musical underpinning from drummer Spike Wells. There was no grandstanding on show here just exceptional jazz playing – with playing of this standard, on tunes this well written, it is very difficult to understand anyone who says that they do not like jazz. The Hank Mobley tune “This I Dig Of You” stood out for the first-class bass solo from Dave Green, a bass player I have heard many times on various CDs but live … simply sublime. The first set ended with “If I Were A Bell” (a Frank Loesser tune for for his 1950 musical Guys and Dolls), which gave Spike Wells an opportunity to show off his skills with a terrific drum solo that went down very well with the audience at Southampton Jazz Club.

Interval: drinks & raffle

John Horler took the lead for the first tune of the second set: “It’s About Time. There was another drum solo from Spike – equally as well received as the one he played at the close of the first set. “Gingerbread Boy”, the Donald Byrd tune, was the second number of the second set before the ballad “You Don’t Know What Love Is” filled the air. This was lyrical tune playing at its best with Spike Wells using his brushes to very good effect. Freddie Hubbard’s “Up Jumped Spring” was the penultimate tune of the evening, the final selection going to “Oleo” by Sony Rollins, which was played at pace just like the opening tune of the evening which I guess is bringing the event full circle. The quartet left the stage and the audience left the building having heard two sets of really good jazz music!