Carlos Lopez-Real was our special guest tonight and the gig finished with shouts of More, More. He is an in-demand saxophonist, composer and educator based in London. His current bands are Mandorla, featuring guitarist Justin Quinn, a quartet with young singer Fini Bearman, and a new quintet collaboration with Brigitte Beraha and Will Collier. In addition to jazz, his writing is influenced by classical composers such as Steve Reich and John Adams, the singer Bjork and North Indian improvised music. He is the founder of e17 jazz, the East London-based collective spawned out of both F-IRE and LOOP associations. After Oxford University and the Guildhall School of Music, he then studied with David Liebman in New York.
He was accompanied by the Roger Odell Jazznights Trio comprising Roger Odell (Shakatak founder member and drummer) on drums, Chris Ingham (of Rebop) on keys and Bernie Hodgkins on his 5 string double bass.
The evening opened with the Jazznights resident songbird Larraine Odell who gave us a very sensitive rendering of Cole Porter’s Love For Sale which featured Chris Ingham on keys. A very individual version of Buddy Kaye’s I’ll Close My Eyes followed with a great solo on bass by Bernie. The third number from Larraine was Jimmy Van Heusen’s It Could Happen To You with 4 bar breaks by Roger & Bernie. You’re My Thrill, a 1933 popular song, composed by Jay Gorney, with lyrics by Sidney Clare and was Doris Day’s first LP album in 1949. This was a new song for Larraine and we are a sure it will become one of her standards. Too Close For Comfort was a very apt up tempo ending to Larraine’s set – this and most of the songs were arranged by Roger.
Carlos Lopez-Real on Alto opened his first set with a fast standard: Alone Together with Carlos straight into an extended solo, Chris & Bernie then took over the solo spots. John Coltrane’s (I always think of it as Coltrane’s but it was actually composed by Victor Young & Jack Elliott) You’re A Weaver Of Dreams followed leading in to Nostalgia In Times Square by Charlie Mingus is a 12 bar blues with differing harmonies and was played by Carlos to great effect using the lower registers of the Alto – at times, the effect was as if it had been played on a tenor! This Mingus number is fitting of course for a featured bass sol and Bernie certainly excelled at that. Carlos finished that with a contrasting solo in the upper registers of the Alto.
Following the interval the Jazznights raffle was followed by the traditional sitting in spot.. Geoff Harriman on harmonica and Will Jarmen on drums playing a medium tempo Johnny Mercer classic Autumn Leaves. Steve Laws playing a vintage 1922
Conn alto sax which gives a much richer and punchier sound than his Selmer mark IV played John Coltrane’s Mister PC, this was again accompanied by Will Jarmen on drums together with Chris on keys and Bernie on bass
Carlos opened his second set with Oleo which is a Bebop composition by Sonny Rollins, written in 1954. It is one of the most popular pieces to feature rhythm changes. 8 bar trades diminished to 4 bar trades by Carlos, Chris & Roger. Next was an instantly arranged version by Carlos of Secret Love – not quite the same as
the Doris Day version from the film Calamity Jane in 1953! Carlos then reached for is soprano sax with a lovely rendition of You Don’t Know What Love Is. Back on Alto Carlos played Cedar Walton’s most famous Bolivia.
An all too short second set climaxed and very unfortunately ended far too quickly with Ellington’s Caravan ( I always think of it as Ellington’s but it was composed by Juan Tizol and was first played by Barney Bigard in 1936, the year before Ellington’s recording). A bass intro followed by keys and drums led into Carlos’s first solo before Chris Ingham took over with a heavy left hand emphasising the Caravan theme which lead into Bernie on bass. It was a fitting ending to the gig which the extensive technical ability of Carlos. He is a lovely player and it was so evident that all the band thoroughly enjoyed the gig.
After all the justified plaudits, just one small criticism – a longer solo by Roger would have been nice rather than being just featured in the breaks – but so what!. A wonderful evening
For further information on Carlos Lopez-Real go to www.carloslopez-real.co.uk/
For future gigs at Jazznights go to www.jazz-nights.com