Concert Review – The Alison Rayner Quintet

This all-star jazz quintet, convened by the double bassist and composer Alison Rayner led her impeccable band through a series of high-octane jazz numbers, and delicate ballads when they appeared as part of Lichfield Blues and Jazz Festival 2019.
With Alison Rayner on bass, keyboard player Steve Lodder, guitarist Deirdre Cartwright, drummer Buster Birch and saxophonist Diane McLoughlin, the set consisted of originals, that took in everything from hip-hop beats, scorching guitar and saxophones, intricate harmonies and adventurous sound creation, with looping pedals, and bowed bass adding to the sonic mix.
Numbers such as Here and Now or Half a World Away melded jazz and world music together, whilst the three movements of Soliloquy had a symphonic sheen to its composition. Steve Lodder’s Seen Around Corners was a showcase for his talents as a keyboard player, whilst Queer Bird was a joyous celebration of music.
Starting the second set, Walkabout was a piece that combined ethnic aboriginal sounds with atonal saxophone, and minimalist guitar to great effect. Buster Breaks a Beat was a hip-hop infused piece that gave a showcase for the drumming talents of Buster Birch, whilst the Celtic tinge to the softly delicate ballad A Braw Boy showed the full musical interest of this very talented ensemble.
The encore, Portrait of Jaco, dedicated to the ground breaking fretless bass player was music that went across boundaries and genres, giving all band members an opportunity to shine.

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