Alan Barnes Octet - Jazz Portraits
Bruce Adams | trumpet, flugel horn
Mark Nightingale | trombone
Alan Barnes | alto sax and clarinet
Robert Fowler | tenor sax and clarinet
Karen Sharp | baritone sax and clarinet
David Newton | piano
Simon Thorpe | bass
Clark Tracey | drums
This long established octet has always been a show-case for Alan’s arranging and composing skills. His compositions include “The Sherlock Holmes Suite” “A Jazz Christmas Carol” as well as two collaborations with playwright Alan Plater “Songs For Unsung Heroes” and “ The Seven Ages Of Jazz”.
This new suite of compositions takes its cue from Duke Ellington’s practise of presenting a separate portrait of each member of the band, written to their strengths and trying to capture their essence as musicians.
The contrasting pieces are:
“Le Rossignol” for Mark Nightingale, “Escapology” for Simon Thorpe, “The Barrister” for Bruce Adams, “Nostalgic” for Robert Fowler and “The Newt Steps Out’ for David Newton. ‘Karen’s Waltz” and “Mr C.T.” are self explanatory and there is even a self portrait asking the question “Is There Anybody There?”
These pieces are booked-ended with other original pieces but in the style of various jazz greats: “Tavares” for Horace Silver and “Sweet-Pea” for Billy Strayhorn, “Bop’s Your Uncle” for the be-bop pioneers and “The Count and the Duke”, a roaring blues to finish.
As usual, the music is swinging and accessible as well as serious and is always presented with humour, peppered with anecdotes.