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<<  -- 2 --  Malcolm Miller    ONE HELL OF A CONCERT


Two wonderfully inventive arrangements of Miles Davies ensued, both premières. In Spanish Key Martin Butler captured the oriental melismatic nature of the melody over the ostinato bass, with some colourful pointillist effects from the woodwind, a beguiling clarinet solo from Duncan Prescott and then, over a hushed backing, the muted trumpet sounds, then sax and oboe (Christian Forshaw and Melinda Maxwell), leading to a hushed, cool conclusion. Wiegold's version of Bitches Brew was more extended, with prominent solos for trumpet, double bass (Corin Long) and vibraphone (Sam Walton); the big band homogeneity was miraculous, its syncopated smoothness suspended over urgent percussion patterns in a dreamy blend so reminiscent of Miles Davies' ground-breaking 70s classic. The slinky harmonies of Bitches Brew, coloured by soupy low brass tuba (Peter Smith) and Trombone (David Purser) at one point give way to wailing from all the instruments, signal of the varied moods of this artfully shaped hybrid piece of contemporary composition and jazz improvisation.

In the second half, Murray Lachlan Young's brilliant poetic dialogue with the double bassist Corin Long captivated the audience. His What is Hell? was a beautifully verbalised description of the imagery of Hell from well known sayings about the Devil, from biblical and apocryphal to contemporary stripograms ... The musical rhythms of the poetry projected with punchy panache interacted with the low rumblings of Corin Long on Bass, with an amusing spontaneous exchange between poet and musician, Long swooping higher up in harmonics.

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Copyright © 30 November 2005 Malcolm Miller, London UK


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