Abram Wilson Sextet

16 September 2005

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Abram Wilson Abram Wilson (trumpet/vocals)
Nathaniel Facey (alto sax)
Patrick Clahar (tenor sax)
Andrew McCormack (piano)
Neil Charles (double bass)
Shaney Forbes (drums)

When Soweto Kinch played his memorable concert at Bedales he brought Abram Wilson as guest trumpeter and one of the joys of that performance was the interplay of trumpet and sax. Returning with his own band Wilson went one better, lining up with Nathaniel Facey on alto sax and Patrick Clahar on tenor. The intricate but razor sharp ensemble playing of this trio contributed a great deal to the sheer invigorating excitement of the evening. They also contrasted attractively in styles whilst soloing. Wilson himself soars with virtuoso fluency, Facey plays a grittier alto though both generate a sense of urgency. Clahar uses the tenor to create a more mellow and melodic feel building carefully from calmly understated beginnings.

The band is consciously eclectic. Jazz traditions underpin everything but many other forms of modern music weave in and out. The use of walking bass with right hand chords on the piano at times combines with double bass to give a heavier, rock feel. At times there are echoes of big band soul. Rap has an influence too and some of the improvisation veers towards free form, but perhaps the most successful fusion is with Latin American. Here the tightness of the brass section really paid off and their tango was a highlight of the evening.

A bonus is Wilsonís singing. He has a clear voice amply suited to jazz vocals adding another dimension to an already diverse, energetic and stimulating band. (Graham Banks)

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