Graham Harvey All Star Quintet - Swansea Jazzland 20/06/07

There are many bands that claim to be All Stars but very few have the combined credits and talent of this outfit. Led by former Incognito keyboard player Harvey, the quintet also featured some of the finest (and busiest) players on the UK jazz scene saxophonist Ben Castle, trombone virtuoso Mark Nightingale (pictured), top jazz bass guitarist Laurence Cottle and last minute drum  dep (for Ian Thomas) Matt Skelton.
Graham Harvey All Star Quintet - Swansea Jazzland 20/06/07
The band kicked off the night’s proceedings, to a packed and enthusiastic Swansea audience, with an incendiary reading of Coltrane’s ‘Moment’s Notice’, one of his more challenging charts which led to inspired solos from all the band. Trombonist Nightingale in particular continues to stretch the boundaries of his instrument, playing with the speed and clarity of a trumpeter, and often in the same octave, impressive stuff. Castle also excelled, playing with a bluesy yet modern edge and continuing to demonstrate why he is one of the most popular and in demand sax players around.
The band continued through a variety of Coltrane tunes and standards, expertly balancing melody, dynamics and pyrotechnics. Highlights included Nightingale’s quartet version of ‘Weaver of Dreams’ and a tricky 5/4 arrangement of ‘I Remember You’, made all the more tricky by Cottle’s inventive rhythmic displacements on the coda.
The final fireworks came in the form of an insanely fast run through Parker’s bebop standard ‘Donna Lee’ which once again inspired mind-blowing solos from all involved. If this band is playing anywhere near you, don’t miss the opportunity to catch some of the UK’s greatest jazz talent doing what they do best.

Review: Alun Vaughan

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