Roger Beaujolais (vibraphone)
Mark Lockheart (tenor & soprano saxophones)
David Newton (piano)
Simon Thorpe (double bass)
Winston Clifford (drums)
Ollie Savill (percussion)
Reviewed by: Rob Witts
Reviewed: 21 July, 2006
Venue: Purcell Room, London
The band responded to the stifling heat in the Purcell Room with a sultry rendition of “Black Narcissus”, Savill adding a wash of rustling seashells under Beaujolais’s floating chords. The group plays this 1960s’ Blue Note repertoire very stylishly, with supple support from Simon Thorpe’s bass and Winston Clifford’s drums, and a beautiful rippling riff springing up in piano and saxophone.
Replacing Robin Aspland on piano, David Newton contributed an incisive, McCoy Tyner-ish solo to a hard-swinging “Old Devil Moon!” with Latin overtones. Mark Lockheart (of Polar Bear and Perfect Houseplants) caressed the melody of “What’s New” on tenor sax, before raising the temperature with a torrent of sound on “Highway One”. At the centre of the group was Beaujolais himself, shaping a phrase with a subtle and varied touch, or igniting the band with a furious flurry of notes.
If the players lacked a little focus in the first half, they hit their stride in the second, taking an obvious pleasure in their classy and assured music-making in spite of the heat.