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Contemporary jazz does not get any better than this trio; Julian Siegel Trio CBSO Centre ***** CULTURE.

Byline: Peter Bacon

A certain feeling of deja vu would have been correct.

It was January, the CBSO Centre, the same players and the same opening tune: Siegel's composition A Night At The Opera.

Had we jumped back two years? Quite a bit of the material was repeated from the '07 gig: Atlantic, Stop Go Man, Alfie, Haunted Waltz, Sandpit.

It didn't matter, of course - the tunes and arrangements might have been familiar, but jazz is forever fresh, especially when three such creative spirits as Siegel (saxophone, clarinets), Joey Baron (drums) and Greg Cohen (double bass) are at work.

The change was one of development and maturity, a sense that now these three knew each other even better, what had started out as a festival commission and transatlantic project had grown into a deeper musical friendship.

The acme came immediately after the interval. In Seven Days, one of several new pieces, Siegel took a cryptic and persistent motif of four or five notes, repeating and reworking it in order and timing. His solos shared the motif's urgent material and pulled and pushed it about, while Baron and Cohen fired away underneath him.

The result swept the listener along in high excitement, caught in a raging river.

Baron is simply my favourite drummer - enthralling, whether supporting, leading or responding.

Cohen's mastery is less obvious, and at the start he suffered from being too quiet, but his tuneful solos, incorporating rich chords into the logical lines, and his effortlessly spot-on timing are equally rewarding.

Siegel just gets better and better, his tone rich and burnished and heard to great effect in this unamplified way.

For me, contemporary jazz doesn't get any better than this.


Julian Siegel
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 27, 2009
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