Thursday 19 June 2014

Clement Regert - Wild Card

Clement Regert - guitar
Being embedded in London's Jazz circuit you get to hear about many of the musicians way before you ever get a chance to listen to them live. One such name is Clement Regert who has forged ahead with his Wild Card trio alongside Andy Noble (organ) and Sophie Alloway (drums). Since arriving in England in 2005 he has steadily made a name for himself amongst our Jazz elite and it is no surprise that he called upon such talented musicians as Dennis Rollins, Graeme Flowers and Pedro Segundo for this gig at Soho's Pizza Express (12/06/2014).

The usual balance of young professionals and adventurous tourists had been upset by the first night of the World Cup finals. Many of London's white collar community had fled to the suburbs and we were left with a smattering of couples with eyes only for one another and a melting pot of nationalities hell bent on boosting the trade in union jack hats and Oxford Street bargains.

Andy Noble - organ
Those that chose to stay at home and be dazzled by Brazil's yellow strip soon realised that all that glitters is not gold. Clement Regert's Wild Card kicked off with the finest of Brazilian exports by comparision. 'Canto de Xango' by Baden Powell de Aquino gives you not only compassion, but dexterity and most of all intellect, a quality not always associated with his fellow footballing countrymen. Regert gave us his own brand of Baden Powell, one which was brassy, turning Powell's usually dainty footsteps into deep and confident grooves.

Pedro Segundo - Percussion
'Sweet Smoke' choked off any more thoughts of round balls full of hot air. It was an early view of tonight's most impressive performers, Andy Noble and Pedro Segundo (percussion). Noble is another import to London's jazz family, from Australian stock originally. Our statuesque man on keys climbed even higher with his deep pulsing work on 'Place du Tertre', which is the square on Montmatre and the home to a small army of caricaturists. I do not need to exaggerate any of Noble's vital statistics in picture nor words.

Lowly Worm
Both artist and audience alike needed their night vision goggles to spot the olive skinned dreamboat Pedro Segundo in the Pizza Express' darkest recesses. Compositionally he was perfectly balanced by the fair complexion and white shirt of Sophie Alloway to his right. Together they looked like the King and Queen of a jumbled up chess set. Segundo provided much of the night's texture and his subtle solos were worth pricking up the ears for, especially on Kenny Barron's 'Sunshower'.

Sophie Alloway - Drums
The Latin themes that were carried so successfully by Noble and Segundo brought out the best in Clement Regert too. His lithe sleek frame wiggled and swayed to the infectious rhythms. With his trademark hat atop his head and hips swaying he resembled the iconic Lowly Worm of Richard Scarry fame. It wasn't all upbeat finger popping and Regert's intelligence came to the fore on his version of 'Feelin' Good'. He has a tendency to chew the melody with a dancing jaw and here because of the tune's slow pace he resembled a Spaghetti Western villain not unlike a French Lee Van Cleef.

Dennis Rollins - Trombone
Much of the evening's joy was reserved for the twin barrels of brass from Graeme Flowers (trumpet) and Dennis Rollins (Trombone). 'You are Amazing", a Regert penned tune, rubbed both organ and guitar together with a verve like two ancient Greeks oiling themselves. The tune's hero was Graeme Flowers, who gave us the glory. A real modern day Achilles. Sophie Alloway was above such manly macho camaraderie being the "Goddess of Groove" as Jazzwise's Jon Newey describes her.

Graeme Flowers - Trumpet
I hate to break the bad news that Alloway and the rest of Wild Card are indeed mortals. On the upside it means they are easier to track down. See them next week, Thursday 26th June at The Plough, not the big dipping variety but the pub in Ealing, which is much easier to get too.


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