THE FRIENDS QUINTET
13 December 2015
These particular friends consisted of Gareth Chelley on saxes, Peter Kingslake, a lively guitarist who filled up all the empty spaces in the music, Dave Small, piano and occasional vocals, Keith Howard on bass and Mike Goff at the drums.
This quintet of old mates, all fairly local to the area, played some solid mainstream jazz including jazz classics like Miles Davis's All Blues, and Horace Silver's The Preacher, along with some well worn and much loved standards. Herbie Hancock's catchy soul blues, Watermelon Man, featured solid improvising from everybody with Peter Kingslake catching the ear with his smooth, improvised and supporting chords on guitar.
Gareth Chelley proved to be a fairly laid back alto sax player with a soft focus tone that was warm and easy on the ear. Piano, bass and drums kept things moving along nicely, particularly when Dave Small played his electric instrument in conventional piano mode. Ellington's Don't Get Around Much Anymore and the old standard Yesterdays, ( not the Beatle tune) were standout performances. Round Midnight had some neat alto sax variations and a good piano interlude.
The Angel Inn are now offering a jazz package for enthusiasts who can have a three course meal and entry to the jazz room at no extra cost. To start, Celeriac soup, smooth and creamy. I had Duck breast, fondant pots and sweet corn croquette which was delicious and my partner went for Wild Mushroom linguine with spinach, truffle oil and parmesan which she enjoyed. I did also indulge in a Bailey's Panacotta with coffee cream, which was naughty but rather nice! Sarah settled for ice cream and sorbet.
As the night went on the music became slower and more blues drenched, creating a nice jazz atmosphere but they did finish the evening with an up- tempo piece, then The Preacher and a Ray Charles ballad.
Vocalist Lea Lyle and trio comes in on January 10th 2015.
This review is reproduced with the kind permission of the Newbury Weekly News, where it was first published.