Jazz has a core that is made up of energy, passion and spontaneity, this is what brings millions of music fans to jazz gigs. Some genres survive on the audience knowing what to expect, classical music is repeated music, note for note, the musicians change while the music stays exactly the same, but jazz is all about the moment, feeding from others in the band and reacting, twisting, conjuring your own musical path but staying within the ever-widening border of the music.
Sounds complicated but it isn’t, well, for good musicians it isn’t, us mere musical mortals are forced to scratch our head at what and how they do what they do, but the bottom line is, if you want to listen to jazz, listen to live jazz!
Guido Spannocchi wasn’t even aware that there was a recording being made when he played at Porgy and Bess in Vienna so perhaps this is even closer to what a jazz gig sounds like, without the extra pressure of knowing every note is being stored forever. Luckily the band were mid-tour so any wrinkles in the set were well and truly ironed out and the result is a moment in time with a band at the peak of their powers, interlocking and stepping back to allow others to take centre stage.
The band is a four-piece made up of Spannocchi on saxophone, Danny Keane on piano, Ruth Goller on bass (interestingly electric bass rather than double bass) and Pete Adams on drums and you certainly get a lot of music for your money, some of these tracks go beyond the ten minute mark and it truly feels like a live music experience. I’m no expert on Spannocchi’s back catalogue but the double album is made up entirely of his own compositions.
There are too many tracks to go through individually but tracks like ‘Cafezinho’, ‘Don Ron’, ‘Strutting in Six’ and ‘Night-time in Soho’ stand out (I particularly like the bass tone on ‘Cafezinho’, it manages to cut through the mix really strongly and the drum shuffle on ‘Night-time in Soho’ is brilliant). Ultimatelythe success of the album will come down to how much you like your jazz and if your prefer the warts-and-all approach to jazz recordings, personally I prefer live jazz to all other musical genres, there is just something so vital about it and this band demonstrates how alive and thriving jazz is… if you look in right places.