Alan Barnes +11 : Dave Gelly Review | The Observer
SUNDAY 14 JULY 2019
It was only after thinking back to all the albums he’s made, awards he’s won and gigs he’s enlivened, that I concluded it must be true: Alan Barnes, the earthly Peter Pan of British jazz, reaches his 60th birthday this month. The great thing about him is that he just loves jazz, all of it, and the evident pleasure it gives him to play it is catching. This is his birthday album, and all 11 members of his handpicked band, he says, are of like mind and “definitely not of the gloom school”.
They’re also among the most admired players around today, most of them younger than the birthday boy himself. The tunes are from the year of his birth, 1959, an annus mirabilis, with more future jazz classics released than ever before or since. So we have pieces by Monk, Coltrane, Mulligan, Mingus and Jobim, all reimagined and arranged by Mark Nightingale.
Everyone has a solo moment, and Barnes features brilliantly on everything. He plays alto and baritone saxophones, clarinet and, on Ellington’s The Single Petal of a Rose, bass clarinet. That’s my favourite track, but they’re all quite superb.
Pat White: trumpet
James Copus: trumpet & flugel horn
Mark Nightingale: trombone & band director
Callum Au: trombone
Jim Gold: alto sax & clarinet
Robert Fowler: tenor sax, clarinet & bass clarinet
Andy Panayi: tenor sax, flute & clarinet
Mick Foster: baritone sax & bass clarinet
Robin Aspland: piano
Jeremy Brown: bass
Matt Skelton: drums
Alan Barnes +11 RONNIE SCOTTS REVIEW
01 MAY 2019
Alan Barnes (alto sax/baritone sax/clarinet), Colin Skinner (alto sax/clarinet), Andy Panayi (tenor sax/flute), Mick Foster (baritone sax/bass clarinet etc.), Patrick White, James Copus (trumpets); Gordon Campbell, Callum Au (trombones); Robin Aspland (piano); Sam Burgess (bass); Ed Richardson (drums).
(Review by La8nce).
Ronnie's was SOLD OUT and why shouldn't it be? This was a rather special event. A celebration, not only of 60 years of the club (or should that be The Club?) it was also the number of years that Alan Barnes (or should that be The Alan Barnes?) had been on the planet and, specific to that year (1959), it was the year that so many classic jazz albums were released including Art Pepper + 11.
Alan Barnes + 11 didn't set out to emulate the original but, instead, chose material from many of the other gems from the class of '59 e.g.: Boogie Stop Shuffle; Take 5; Felicidade; A Single Petal of a Rose; Blowin' the Blues Away; Little Rootie Tootie; Naima; Hi-Fly; Dreamsville; Catch as Catch Can and a final belter the name of which escaped me.
Mark Nightingale wrote the arrangements but didn't make the gig as he was in Japan ("What a stag night that was" quipped Barnes) however, in Callum Au he couldn't have found a better dep. All of the saxes were featured throughout with Panayi's flute particularly impressive. Both trumpets and trombones were on the money and the rhythm section a soloist's dream. As for the leader he dazzled on alto, baritone, clarinet and even bass clarinet although it was Foster who took the lead on the latter instrument. His humour, as ever, shone through. After the audience chuckled at his plug for the band's CD he responded with "What's so funny? You don't laugh at the butcher for selling sausages!"