Wednesday June 27th - Ben Crosland Quintet - Ray Davies Songbook 8.30pm
Ben Crosland Quintet plays The Ray Davies Songbook
Ray Davies’ songs are rooted in the blues, music hall, popular song, variety and musical theatre – the perfect vehicles for jazz interpretation.
Dave O’Higgins: saxophones - John Etheridge: guitar - Steve Lodder: piano/keyboards - Ben Crosland: bass - Buster Birch: drums
For those who bemoan the lack of melody in contemporary jazz, Ben Crosland’s latest release should offer a palliative. Ray Davies’s long run of hit singles with the Kinks has established him as one of the pre-eminent British melodists since the swinging sixties, and though his groovy lacy-cuffed take on rock may seem an unusual choice, his songwriting is rooted in the diverse blend of the blues, music hall, popular song and musical theatre traditions that typified the era, and makes a surprisingly strong candidate for jazz re-interpretation.
Crosland has assembled a band of sympathetic players; guitar chameleon Etheridge especially has a background in diverse jazz-rock crossovers, and obliges with a Scofield styled solo on the wah-wah heavy frug of “All Day And All Of The Night”. Dave O’Higgin’s incisive post-bop playing brings the necessary authority to prevent a swing reading of “You Really Got Me” from sliding into pastiche. “See My Friend” is a particularly well-conceived arrangement, with the joyously swinging 6/8 complementing the floating quality of the melody, and a pleasing re-harmonisation from Crosland showing his arranging chops. Steve Lodder flies on piano, and elsewhere adds restrained hammond and synth. Crosland’s own bass guitar pairs seamlessly with De Krom; ‘Sunny Afternoon” switches between a slinky reggae-inspired groove and cool swing in a perfect evocation of a warm July in the park. Anyone in search of deliberately challenging artistic envelope-pushing should probably look elsewhere; those after a sunny mix of strong melody, sympathetic arrangements and polished playing will find much here to delight them.
Admission £12.50, Jazzland Members £10. Students £6.25