Harry Baker trio, Vortex

So which were the more interesting parts of the first house set from newcomers the Harry Baker trio: the originals or ''the standards part'' as pianist Baker described the latter? That's not an easy question to answer. Let's defer. Because both …

Published: 28 Oct 2021. Updated: 36 days.

So which were the more interesting parts of the first house set from newcomers the Harry Baker trio: the originals or ''the standards part'' as pianist Baker described the latter? That's not an easy question to answer. Let's defer. Because both certainly had their merits and this was a great introduction to a new trio in front of a typically alert Vortex listening audience. Baker has a stellar academic classical background from his time at Oxford University and at the Royal Academy of Music, his style a little Nikki Iles-like certainly towards the beginning and throughout he was strong on detail and showed a lot of flair in his soloing, the building blocks of the tunes largely modal and modernistic.

Double bassist Will Sach who also studied at the Royal Academy of Music upped the ante in terms of soloing later, a double bassist who comes over like a new Dave Holland in the making and was here just as impressive as when first heard by marlbank live at Kentish Town venue the Oxford with trumpeter Alex Ridout back in the summer. When the trio grooved usually the sound percolated up from the bass beat and McLoughlin then ran with it. There were different elements to the originals: the writing of Baker on the one hand, the Gwilym Simcock-esque 'Beyond the Smog' the pick, and the very different style (far more involved and less dreamy) from drummer Oren McLoughlin out of Chetham's and the Royal Academy of Music whose homage to the German twin of his hometown Glossop, Bad Vilbel, imagines a lively contrast to the frustration of home ''where nothing happens''. He also spoke to the audience engagingly if briefly as most of the tune announcements were by Baker.

Of the covers the trio's take on John Scofield's 'Meant to Be' worked best, McLoughlin whose role came to the fore quite like Bill Stewart on the 1991-released Blue Note record. Perhaps the trio's future is to explore 1990s jazz even more because this worked well. They also did an easy-to-digest version by contrast of far more recent indie band Big Thief's 'U.F.O.F'. That was the biggest surprise of what was a vivid snapshot of a talented new trio at work. The Baker trio play the OSO Arts Centre in Barnes on 7 November

Harry Baker, top left, Will Sach, Oren McLoughlin

Tags: Lives

Derry sax icon Gay McIntyre has died at the age of 88

Very sorry to hear of the passing of Derry sax icon Gay McIntyre who has died at the age of 88 via Gerry Bradley's report for BBC News. A very genial man and a fixture of jazz in Derry for many years I only first heard him live around 2013 at …

Published: 27 Oct 2021. Updated: 37 days.

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Very sorry to hear of the passing of Derry sax icon Gay McIntyre who has died at the age of 88 via Gerry Bradley's report for BBC News.

A very genial man and a fixture of jazz in Derry for many years I only first heard him live around 2013 at ''the Rocker'' where he was a regular. But his legend long preceded this when you tallked to anyone about jazz in Derry going way back. But in the Rocker, the Rocking Chair bar in Waterloo Street where I heard him first play 'Danny Boy', it seemed at last the right time, right place no matter how many years earlier this should have been. And no one has ever come close live playing the great song in a jazz context in terms of emotion that I have witnessed. If you're Irish particularly from the north as I am 'Danny Boy' means something very special in universal folk culture. It's people music and nonpareil no matter how low, middle or high brow you think you are.

The last time I heard him was in 2014 about 65 miles away chatting to Gay again briefly at the bar of the Ardhowen theatre by the waters of the Erne after a fine show of his after first saying hi on the previous occasion and even carrying his case as he made his way out of the Rocker! That Fermanagh night later was a better show, and the band began with ‘On Green Dolphin Street’ and Gay was playing his usual alto saxophone at first and was joined by Bennigans scene pianist John Leighton, NoCrows bassist Eddie Lee from Sligo town, and drummer David Lyttle from Waringstown in county Down. It was a ‘Reminiscing’-themed occasion with plenty of bebop including ‘A Night in Tunisia’ and ‘Scrapple from the Apple’ and a good sprinkling of vocals numbers from new jazz singing star in the making Victoria Geelan who drew on some 1940s songs. McIntyre showed his command on trad-jazz clarinet on a strong version of Acker Bilk’s ‘Stranger on the Shore’ and dedicated the encore yes ‘Danny Boy’ to the much-loved broadcaster Gerry Anderson, another Derry icon, who had played in Gay’s band and who had died not long before. You couldn’t help but dry a tear from your eye listening to Gay’s moving version and the same applies today hearing the news. RIP