January 11, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
Courtney Pine, the British jazz musicians turned Jazz Crusader for BBC2, presented an evening of British Jazz at IAJE. I missed the first set from Empirical, winner of the 2007 EBU European Jazz Competition. I got there for the band's final notes.
Pine quickly introduced Martin Taylor, who jumped onstage a little early. Since the stagecrew wasn't ready for the band, he entertained the audience with a solo version of "I'm Old Fashioned." Here it is:
I supposed you're predestined to play guitar when your named Martin Taylor, since that's the name of two highly regarded luthiers. Taylor made his first appearance in Toronto 25 years ago. This performance was his return engagement. It's been a while. Here's a cut from the full band:
I was totally blown away by the next act. Kids from Scotland who play like they've been playing together for years. Check this out, and tell me if you think they sound like novices...
The last act, I suppose, represented "the future." Trombonist Dennis Rollins has been raking in the awards in Britain. The music was certainly fun and dance-ready. Occasional references to "Summertime" and "Work Song" notwithstanding, I would call this a tightly arranged ensemble that combines a panoply of styles, including drum-n-bass, jazz, funk, and garage. Hear what I mean:
So there you have it. I guess you can't call this show The British Invasion, since we're technically in Canada, where Queen Elizabeth is the head of state. - Josh
© 2008 WBGO