Nigel Price at Jazznights: The Bell, Clare Sunday 16th May 2010

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Nigel first came to prominence as a member of the jazz funk group James Taylor Quartet but since then he has also played regularly with the Ronnie Scott’s All Stars as well as touring with his own organ trio. “One of Britain’s finest players on the six strings . . . he’s a legend in the making” – Griff Prescott.

Nigel is now a well established member of the jazz community and is an in demand sideman as well as leading his own groups, preferring the organ, drums Jazznnights Nigel Price 160510 (1) guitar combo but versatile enough to feel comfortable in a variety of musical scenarios.He has encountered many different musicians along the way and is pleased to have played with (amongst others) : Pee Wee Ellis, Alex Garnett, Matt Wates, Bobby Wellins, Alec Dankworth, Alan Barnes, Martin Drew, Ben Clatworthy, Dave O’Higgins, Mark Ramsden, Julian Siegel, Mike Gorman, Mike Outram, Pete Long, Frank Griffith, Dave Cliff,Steve Waterman,Laurence Cottle,Anthony Kerr,Mornington Lockett,Steve Watts,Mike Janisch, Jim Watson,Graham Fox,Nick France,Sir Brian Iddendon,Geoff Gascoyne,Martin Shaw,James Pearson,Sam Burgess,Chris Dagley,Matt Home,Pete Whittaker,Sam Gambarini,Simon Spillet,Dave Newton,Spike Wells,Peter King etc etc.

The evening opened with the resident Jazznights Trio  which tonight featured Roger Odell on drums, Simon Brown on keys and Bernie Hodgkins on his 5 string double bass. Together with Larraine Odell on vocals giving us (sadly only three) great numbers:
1 Harold Arlen’s 1932 “I’ve got the world on a string”
2 Gershwin’s “Isn’t it a Pity” – this is a personal favourite of ours by Larraine and was composed by George Gershwin, with lyrics by Ira Gershwin, written for the 1933 musical Pardon My English.
3  “Comes Love” (Nothing Can Be Done” featuring Bernie on bass with Roger featuring the brushes – a lovely version

Nigel Price started his first set with Alone Together, a senuous opening unaccompanied solo led to an up tempo number accentuated by a commanding beat from Roger Odell with solos from Nigel Price, Simon Brown and Bernie Hodgkins. The  Bossa Nova Triste by Antonio Carlos Jobim followed and was Jazznnights Nigel Price 160510 (27) again accentuated by Roger’s Brazilian bossa beat. Duke Ellington’s 1938 Prelude To A Kiss with a lovely unaccompanied introduction from Nigel. The first set ended (all too quickly) with Jerome Kern’s All The Things You Are. It was written for the musical Very Warm for May (1939) and was later featured in the film Broadway Rhythm (1944). Nigel again gave a very slow noteworthy intro leading into very fast middle and final sections which featured alternating 8 bar breaks between Simon, Nigel and Roger leading  in to a barnstorming finish.

The second set began with the traditional Jazznights sitting in spot which tonight featured Geoff Harriman on Harmonica and Will Jarmen on drums playing a very soulful and wistful version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow. A first for tghe sitting in spot was soprano Anna Kennedy from the USA who sang Ellington’s I’m Beginning To See The Light followed by, in Anna’s words an emblematic song from the states by Janis Joplin called Oh Lord Won’t You Buy Me A Mercedes Benz, Anna opened the song with an a capella intro.

Nigel’s second set opened with Clifford’ Brown’s Sandu – a great blues in E flat. Next was the ‘dark tune’ Invitation with its many minor chords beautifully played – allegedly requested by Simon Brown!. Bernie Hodkins suggested Richard Rodgers “Have You Met Miss Jones?” – a song that was written in 1937 for the musical comedy, I’d Rather Be Right. This was a superb melodic version featuring 12 bar breaks that decreased to 8 bars by Nigel, Simon and Roger. The great ballad Body And Soul again commenced with an unaccompanied introduction. Because of its complex chord progressions, “Body and Soul” remains a favourite of jazz musicians. The unusual changes in key and tempo are also highly attractive and provide a large degree of improvisational freedom and all the band really enjoyed that one.

The very rhythmic “Anthropology” is a bebop-style jazz composition written by saxophonist Charlie Parker and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie from 1945. Like many other jazz compositions, it utilizes the chord changes known as “rhythm changes”. It was unfortunately quite a short number due to time limitations – another 30minutes of that Anthropology would have done very nicely! A wonderful finale for a  glorious gig. Nigel is a fantastic guitarist – come back soon to Jazznights.

For more details of Jazznights and future gigs go to www.jazz-nights.com – see you there!

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