It’s a bit of a blowout for fans of the jazzy reed this week, with saxophones of various sizes cropping up all over town. The Bebop Club have done particularly well in catching Draw By Four’s Arts Council tour (Friday 21), with tenor player (and bandleader) Jon Shenoy (above) playing off Will Bartlett’s Hammond organ and Sam Dunn’s guitar with the excellent drumming of Chris Draper. There’s an occasional nod to the classic boogaloo organ quartet sound but there’s a definite contemporary edge to Jon’s compositional style.
Another tenor player with a bit less far to travel comes to the Hen & Chicken (Sunday 23), being a local lad. Jake McMurchie may be a familiar face in bands like Michelson Morley, Sefrial and Get The Blessing but he’s the kind of player that repays constant listening, adapting his distinctive sound to whatever musical company he’s keeping. His more rarely spotted Jake McMurchie Quartet is a more conventionally jazzy outfit than those other contemporary bands, however, giving free rein to his Sonny Rollins-influenced soloing alongside guitarist Dan Waldman, with Riaan Vosloo and Matt Brown the excellent rhythm drivers on bass and drums.
But if it’s alto sax you’re after you’d do well to catch the James Morton Band playing at the Fringe (Wednesday 19) not least because James is bringing London-based pianist Tomasz Bura down for the gig. Tomas has a dazzling technique and quick witted imagination that will well match Mr Morton’s mercurial playing. There’s more alto action at Bocabar on Saturday (22) with Sophie Stockham, Jonny Henderson & Matt Brown no doubt getting very groovy, while Damian Cook is the featured soloist at The Old Fish Market on Sunday (23). But if you fancy something a bit more weighty then Bartoune’s baritone-sax led cabaret swing sound (Tobacco Factory, Sunday 23) should be just the ticket.
Even pianist George Cooper (Future Inn, Thursday 20) has proved susceptible to the week’s sax frenzy, augmenting his usual piano trio with no less than The Haggis Horns frontline threesome of Malcolm Strachan (trumpet), Rob Mitchell (alto) and Atholl Ransome (tenor). That’s a powerhouse sextet in the making and appropriately enough they’re tackling the high energy hard bopping legacy of the great Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.