When taking an evening to see a true legend of the 1960s and 70s, it can be quite a buzz-kill to enter the hyper-modernised complex of The O2, even on an atmospheric fog-ridden November evening. Unfortunately this predicament doesn’t improve after trudging past several mediocre chain restaurants, eventually reaching the syrupy, vibeless, throwback building within a building that is the Brooklyn Bowl. Why top quality jazz and jazz-like acts should serve as a sideshow to bowling is a notion many of us will fail to understand.
Even the hugely experienced Marcos Valle who recently passed the 50-year hump in his career seemed slightly put out when he first took to the stage, and the first two numbers seemed to fall slightly flat as a result. Thankfully once the lushly arranged and gorgeously melodic ‘Garra’ kicked in all was well from this moment on. Valle’s set cherry-picked great numbers across his impressive career including mid 70s gold such as ‘Mentira’ as well as his 80s boogie classic ‘Estrelar’
Being primarily known for a catalogue of excellent recorded songs, Valle is under-credited as a jazz keyboardist and his talents are given light in his live show with a number of top-draw solos coming out of his Fender-Rhodes. Although Brooklyn Bowl boasts a good quality sound system, this is soured by its horrendously tall ceiling, which results in the snare booming around the room and the bass getting lost in a muddy clump. Luckily for Jesse Sadoc, Valle’s one-man horn section this was not as much of a problem. Switching between his trumpet and flugelhorn throughout, he was a star-performer on the night providing as much power as a three-man section might have done. Marcos’ rather glamorous younger wife Patricia Valle sided him as usual with backing vocals. Neither are spectacularly gifted in this department but are perfectly competent, and complement each other well. Valle’s music has so much going from a compositional standpoint anyway, virtuosic vocals would be surplus to requirements.
Towards the show's end, the poorly attended yet appreciative Brooklyn Bowl was suitably warmed by Valle’s sunshiny sounds. ‘Nem Paleto, Nem Graveta’ with its chuckles and flurries of melodica was a particular highlight, and Valle’s troupe could leave the stage knowing they made a pretty great show in a pretty unfavourable setting.
– Jake Williams