Miles better

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ANYONE interested in an evening of Miles Davis music?

Well, yes, rather a lot - resulting in a large audience for this sextet of top-class musicians who gave a true celebration of the music and played their socks off. 

Interspersed with such classics as Boplicity, Nardis and Milestones were pieces from the suite Sketches of Miles written by pianist and leader Terry Seabrook. These were so cleverly written and arranged that they fitted seamlessly into the evening. 

All the musicians were deeply engaged with the music and obviously enjoying their involvement. Trumpet duties were excellently handled by Graham Flowers, who was restrained and sensitive when necessary and confident and strong at other times.

Ian Price on tenor sax ranged from gently lyrical on Three Miles High to impassioned on Boppin’ for MD. 

Alan Barnes restricted himself mostly to the alto sax, playing the baritone on just two numbers - Boplicity and Seven Steps to Heaven - where he demonstrated a gruff elegance. On That’s What, he produced a teeming alto solo that was the aural equivalent of the golden rain firework. On Sideways, he was astonishing, going up a notch or two in intensity. 

Paul Whitten’s bass playing was strong and assured throughout and Spike Lee’s drumming was constantly inventive, whether soloing or driving the band. 

Seabrook’s piano playing was crisp, nimble, accomplished and wonderful - a splendid revelation and I’m ashamed that I know so little about him. 

The inner core of the evening lay in the playing of the five celebrated numbers on the revered album Kind of Blue. These were perfectly recreated with the musicians free to express themselves in the solo spots, athough it was notable that all three horns began their solos on So What by closely echoing their illustrious counterparts - Adderley, Davis and Coltrane - before taking their own paths. 

So, an evening of wonderful music beautifully played.