Tom Green’s magnificent seven take off at Burdall’s Yard

Double Septet. That’s what Tom Green’s band became for a few a minutes at the end of an exhilarating first set at Burdall’s Yard, Bath Spa University’s performance venue in a vaulted cellar beneath a pavement in central Bath. Students from the music degree were the on-stage guests to double the numbers and deliver an anarchic version of award winning Green’s New Orleans inspired 'DIY', the product of an afternoon workshop. This latest in a series of gigs bringing great bands to what must surely be Bath’s best appointed cellar for the benefit of students and the public alike, provided a great start to an epic mainland UK tour for the septet promoting their debut album Skyline.

Tom Green’s Septet is packed with exciting players but it’s the leader’s writing and arranging that is as much of a star turn as any of the frequently exciting and always fluent soloists. Ear worm like melodic fragments get developed and filled out with the four horns somehow sounding like a big band, complementary lines and rhythmic figures weave in out as likely to come from a locked in bass and piano as closely harmonised horns. There’s an instinct for drama and attention grabbing swerves, making each piece seem like an epic. The opener Peace of Mind evolved a flowing, even quavered groove after an opening of sweet piano chords and one of those catchy fragments articulated by Green’s warm-toned trombone sound.

tom-green-septet2

A blistering solo from Tommy Andrews on alto was given an extra lift by the horns surging in with a twisting riff, then one of those sudden switches left Sam Miles’ tenor building an atmospheric solo with a sparse rhythm section nudging him. A great moment. ‘Mirage’, had constant changes of pace after a stately theme, bursting into exuberant swing for another breathy emotionally charged tenor solo. ‘Skylark’ was a delightful reworking of the standard, stretching and colouring Irving Berlin’s melody Miguel’s Gorodi’s flugel horn soaring over the band before a glorious flowing solo from Sam James on piano, full of lyrical flourishes and swooping runs.

After 'DIY''s anarchic whoop up, the second set saw features for rhythm section of Misha Mullov-Abbado on bass and Scott Chapman on drums in more extended Green compositions and Mullov-Abbado in particular created another magic moment with a singing grooving solo on the encore Kaleidoscope. This was a great start to a national tour that will be well worth catching.

– Mike Collins – @jazzyblogman 

Photos by Ruth Butler – www.facebook.com/jazzfineartphoto

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