Frank Griffiths Nonet ‘Live’
Ealing Jazz Festival 2000
Hep jazz CD 2081
- Lester leaps In
- Save Your love for Me
- Here We Are
- Young and Foolish
- Funjii Mama
- The Barnes Bull
Frank Griffith – Leader, tenor Sax/Clarinet: Bob Martin – Alto: Duncan Lamont Jnr – Baritone: Henry Lowther – Trumpet: Steve Fishwick – Trumpet: Malcolm Smith – Trombone: Tom Cawley – Piano: Dominic Howles – Bass: Matt Fishwick - Drums
This is the size of band that Maynard Ferguson tours with and the latter day Mulligan Bands were of a similar size. Large enough to have exciting arrangements and tight ensemble work, but small enough to leave the soloists space to work. There has been a derth of this kind of band on the UK scene and American Tenor Player Frank Griffith is to be congratulated on this one. Bands of this size require everyone to be ‘onside’ there is absolutely no room for passengers or misfits. It says much for Frank’s skill as an arranger that the band has an identity and on this evening everyone was on top form. Bob Martin is an outstanding alto player, no doubt a few years with that exacting task-master Buddy Rich will have seen to that! Frank himself had a similar pedigree with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Band in New York.
Lester Leaps In features both Bob Martin and Frank Griffiths and is an outstanding track, an exciting Griffiths chart and some top class soloing. Save Your Love features Henry Lowther who never disappoints on Trumpet, the arrangement this time by the late Jimmy Deuchar. Young and Foolish brings the amazing Bob Martin back to the solo spotlight and as usual he is in dazzling form.
The rhythm section is superb throughout and must be singled out for a mention, they are just perfect.
It was nice to hear Funjii Mama again, a Blue Mitchell theme that should be played more often, features here for Steve Fishwick, Malcolm Smith, Duncan Lamont Jnr. Tom Cawley and the Leader.
Update has the Leader on Clarinet on the intro. and is a chart written by Eddie Harvey, who many will remember from his Dankworth Seven Days. Another fine arrangement well played. The arrangement of Gone is contributed by Ken Stone, who was the co-leader of a previous version of the band in the US.
The Barnes Bull was the band’s encore to a very appreciative audience, composed and arranged by Frank, it features his Clarinet playing which is the envy of all of us who attempt to play the instrument that as Frank says ‘can even squeak in the box’!!
This is an excellent album of a live performance by an exciting band, my recommendation is buy it!