We had a good time last night. It was a polished performance, very much on the gentle and cerebral side of jazz, from three very musical individuals. It was good to see them interacting with each other and in total command of their instruments.
The trio came on immaculately presented, with Carla and Steve Swallow holding hands, possibly for support as she is 83 and he 79. Andy Sheppard at 62 is the junior partner but playing a full part in the music, supportive at times and the lead voice at others.
I think the venue was full and the average age of the audience was probably about the same as that for the trio. I would say that the reception was respectful rather than hugely enthusiastic.
All of the tunes played were Carla's, except for her arrangement of Monk's Misterioso that they payed towards the end. Practically all of the tunes were medium tempo, gentle and quirky pieces, many of them played in three or four part medleys. The band members were playing from written parts throughout and it wasn't always obvious where the improvisation started and stopped. Possibly for that reason only a few of the solos were applauded.
Andy Sheppard played both tenor and soprano with great taste and unbelievable control. Beautiful tone, great vibrato and subtone, a bit of circular breathing and altissimo. Lovely, creative playing but he never really had a chance to let rip as he has when I've seen him playing before with other groups.
I'm very glad I went.
PS I lost a bet with one of my sax-playing friends who came with me. I thought that Steve Swallow was playing a 6-string bass but it was actually a 5-string instrument so that cost me a pint. I will pay the bet when we see Dave O'Higgins playing tonight.