Friday 18 October 2013

Gareth Lockrane Grooves - Whirlwind Festival

Gareth Lockrane - Flute
Day 1 of the Whirlwind Festival came to a close with an hour set from homegrown favourite Gareth Lockrane. Bringing his award winning lips to lighten the heart of the Kings Place audience before their journeys home into Autumnal London.

Dave Whitford - bass
Not a stranger to my pen, Gareth has entered my sketchbook on a few occasions recently, most consistently as part of Mark Perry and Duncan Eagles' new release, Road Ahead. More importantly he has found his way into the hearts of many jazz lovers both on the local and international stage. His modest demeanour belies a vast talent and he is as you expect, approachable, good company and by no means intellectually challenged. He has been brave enough to choose strong stylised graphic image for his album covers and as a fellow artist they caught my attention some time ago.

Alex Garnett
Surprisingly with an initial sweep of his wand he didn't live up to expectation. A mere blip in normal service, maybe a fault of my expectations and desires or possibly a victim of his own success. The rigours of balancing teaching, recording, composing and performance may have taken a toll on energy levels. This was short lived and once Lockrane had "Put the cat out" he combined well with Alex Garnett on the second tune, "Dark Swinger"  where they both broke from trot to gallop and entwined in complex agility.

Ross Stanley - piano
 In fact the charts seem so engrossing that Dave Whitford on bass could barely raise his nose from the page. He definitely has the most low slung style on the circuit and with his left hand reaching high into the air, he has the air of urban cowboy on a mechanical bull.

Tim Giles - Drums
"Memories in Widescreen" introduced us to Ross Stanley on piano, a showcase for his emotive talents and the heart strings were ritually plucked. He is a man of two halves, the top half serene and bookish in appearance while his legs, in particular his left, pumps at a rapid rate. A repetitive stroke that could only be matched by a Viagra fuelled, foot pumping, mattress inflating desperado.

A favourite of the set was Lockrane's "One for Bheki", with its slow groove and harmonic threads which brought out an intensity in both Stanley (organ) and Tim Giles' subtle drumming. It suited the late hour too with the first flushes of sleepiness unveiling themselves. It wouldn't have been a fitting end to the first festival day so Gareth Lockrane's Grooveyard left us with the jaunty 'The Strut' to put a spring in our step.


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