The performance by Dave Stapleton at St George’s Brandon Hill, Bristol last night was the first performance of his latest album called Flight (EDN 1032.) His band consists of a very fine jazz quartet of Marius Neset, Dave Kane and Olavi Louhivuori, and the equally fine Browdowski String Quartet. The fusion of two potentially different approaches to music making – jazz and classical – was beautifully, seamlessly displayed in Dave’s thoughtful, deep, through-composition which made the most of the flawless acoustic of St George’s. It’s a bit unfair to single anything out because it was a unified, satisfying whole and Dave’s enjoyment of the Steinway was evident. But I did particularly enjoy the joy and wonder on the faces of the members of the string quartet when Marius and Olavi enjoyed an extended duet where Marius’s saxophone filled the auditorium with gorgeous sound (shades of Golden Xplosion) and Olavi’s drums skittered around him. Their delight made me hear the music afresh – living and vibrant. I hope the quartet will continue their exploration of jazz.
The buzz in the hall at the interval and afterwards was enthusiastic. We all knew we’d had a very special evening. Five stars from me.