Killer Shrimp’s last album, ‘Sincerely Whatever’, took on the blues-infused hard bop of the 1940s and 50s, only to scamper off down all manner of delightful jitties of genre, with inflections of drum ‘n’ bass, lyrical ballads and loping funk. Largely showcasing this material tonight, Killer Shrimp’s opener boded well: an angular, impressionistic double bass solo from Mark Hodgson, a taught, old-school drum solo in the vein of Charlie Rouse or Philly Joe Jones from Alan Coster, and glorious horn harmonies from Damon Brown’s trumpet and Ed Jones’ tenor sax. The augers soon proved to be spot on.
From the moment they swung into this untitled blues piece, road-tested tonight on the goodly chin-fiddling jazz fans of Arnold, the tight, intimate ensemble playing of Killer Shrimp hit me, like a very welcome, pleasant punch to the appreciation centre of the brain. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised; they did win a ‘Best Jazz Ensemble’ award in 2007 after all. Then again, they were without their regular drummer, replaced tonight by the increasingly brilliant Alan Coster. To change your line-up, and yet retain an almost Fortean understanding and ‘togetherness’ is something only the finest musicians are capable of.
Once again, Jazz Steps have done the incredible in bringing a world-beating jazz group to humble little Arnold. Gawd bless ‘em!
All photos courtesy of Bob Meyrick (c)