The Devizes Arts Festival rolls on, and I was just thinking that it was high time that we had some proper jazz in the programme. To satisfy this so-far unfilled gap, DAF had managed to secure the services of top-notch international outfit The Darius Brubeck Quartet. Darius, of course, is the son of the famous Dave Brubeck.
Looking and sounding somewhat bemused to find themselves in the heart of rural Wiltshire, and a long way from the fleshpots of that there London, the band turned up smartly booted and suited, glad to be out on the road again playing the music that they love.
Darius himself is an American jazz pianist, composer, author and retired professor residing in the UK. Paying tribute to his father’s music in the jazz master’s centenary year, Darius had teamed up with saxophonist Dave O’Higgins, bassist Matt Ridley and drummer Wesley Gibbens. Not surprisingly, this was their Devizes debut, after playing critically acclaimed international tours and sold-out shows at major jazz houses in London.
The concert included Darius’s own compositions, some pieces influenced by and written by his South African students, as well as some well-loved Dave Brubeck hits, culminating in probably the most recognisable piece of the evening: the sublime “Take Five”.
Darius himself, quietly spoken, dapper and urbane, introduced each piece. The quartet’s mutual understanding and interaction was much in evidence, each musician contributing in laid-back fashion, and giving respectful musical breathing space to the others. Each piece was a delight, clear and unfussy, providing a concert that was certainly “cool” and, in the words of Louis Balfour of The Fast Show “nice”. As might have been expected, Darius’ piano and Dave’s saxophone were very much to the fore in most of the pieces, although there was time for both bass and drum solos.
Overall a very enjoyable evening listening to jazz of the highest calibre.
The Devizes Arts Festival continues for the next few days until 25th June at various venues across town. Tickets can be booked at Devizes Books or online at http://www.devizesartsfestival.org.uk
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