Review: Richard Quain Trio, Zoot Money and FNUK at Swing Unlimited Jazz Club

In Wimbledon it’s great to see players well matched.  It makes the game thrilling for spectators and players alike whoever the eventual winner.  Reminded me of seeing and hearing the incredible Richard Quain Trio some weeks ago.  Then, their opponents were the superb Producers.  And this week, just as Andy Murray pulled out the stops at Wimbledon, at Swing Unlimited Jazz Club on Wednesday Richie came up with his devasting serve again.

First service on another long, loud night, the Richard Quain Trio were as perfect and exciting as ever.  Richard Quain, Bournemouth based (currently) singer/songwriter/guitarist, led his sparse but effective band – Ollie Richmond-Jones on drums and Stuart Ross on electric bass providing superb rhythm – through an all-too-short first set of the evening.  Their rootsy and original sound is shown off to perfection with a rockin’ ‘Make it Right’ - a lovely mid-tempo number.  A middle eight section stepping up a semi-tone makes it really appealing.  Richie’s voice is unbelievable: high, pure-toned, pitch perfect and above all packed full of raw feeling.  It’s almost spiritual the way Richie emotes those lyrics.  His guitar playing channels Jimi Hendrix like with his first ace ‘Red House’, through self-penned songs like ‘I’m Goin’ Down’.  There was a rollicking ‘Rein Your Fire In’ – telling a story as the best songs always do – to a gorgeous Nina Simone-esque ‘Let’s Get Loaded’.  Ollie on expert drums, riding his cymbals, added to the ambiance with smooth percussive brush-work like on Kevin Quain’s ‘Let’s Get Loaded Together’.  By the end of the too-short opening set they had truly blown the audience away.

Charisma is an overused label, but oh boy! Richard Quain has it.  Comparisons with Amy Winehouse won’t do his career any harm.   A career that should take him from Swing Unlimited Jazz Club to Grand Slam.  He, and his future audiences, deserve no less.

What a night!  Onstage at Swing Unlimited Jazz Club the lucky audience are accustomed to catching world class jazz at the Ronnie Scott’s of Westbourne.  This time the game was completely evenly matched.  No, not that win at Wimbledon!   After such a fabulous first set (when you thought it couldn’t get any better) from the Richard Quain Trio, appeared the amazing Zoot Money and FNUK serving ace after ace.
The headliners – coming on after such a tough act to follow – combined legendary sixties keyboards and vocals genius Zoot Money with seasoned veterans FNUK.  All still at the top of their game.  I’ve got to mention all the musicians, each one of them legends: cool Pat Davey playing simply stunning, unique and funky electric bass and keeping the rhythm with Dave Maynes’s super slick drums – which he rides like a bronco.  His energy and enthusiasm is conveyed to the audience who just couldn’t sit still.  Boy! Dave Mayne works those drums and cymbals, as he needs to to keep up the unrelenting tempos.  Uptempo hit follows hit – songs by Chuck Berry like ‘Left My Home’ and ‘Sweet Little Rock and Roller’  seguing into ‘Green Onions’ (Booker T. & the MGs).  By this time the audience were bouncing in their seats.  Some had started dancing.  Gianni Chiarello is a phenomenal guitarist, taking his solos like on ‘Fog on the Highway’ like he’s on centre court playing for his life.  If there was a gold trophy for a rock/blues/jazz guitarist, Gianni should get it.  Ian Ellis’s saxophone playing is sheer joy.  He’s right at the top of the game, er, sorry, show!  Ian’s saxophone swoops and dives through the melodies.  He brilliantly improvises tunes  like ‘Wild Women (and Desperate Men)’ (Alexis Korner) and his solos are thrilling, like in ‘Let the Good Times Roll’ (Louis Jordan).
Which brings me to Zoot.  I daren’t google him.  What can be said probably has been said.  However, let’s just try…  Mention his name to any sixties flower power child and they know Zoot Money.  (Or not even flower-power – I mentioned him to an ex-British army officer and he could name a Zoot tune!)   Zoot is pure, unadulterated old-school blues and rock ‘n’ roll joy.  He revels in his music and working the crowd – and his band. Unlike his contemporaries, who have erased their voices, Zoot’s voice is still magic.  It’s the most amazing instrument, still in peak condition as it dips down low or spirals up into the stratosphere, his falsetto seamlessly gliding through the scales.  This is why he can match even Richard Quain’s beautiful and haunting singing.  And his glorious double keyboard playing is it’s equal, especially the quivering Hammond organ and Fender wang sounds he springs up.  Every facial gesture brings a new turn in the music, every bulging eye-balling of his fellow musos a different tack, as the music spins from corner to corner of the court.  It’s like playing mixed doubles with the greatest.  Each note, just like in Wimbledon, seemingly effortless, but precisely placed.
FNUK just glance at each other and fit in with whatever is coming at them.  And Zoot takes the band along with him as he replays every match point, whether an uptempo ‘Rockin’ with my Baby’ or cooling it down for a moment with steel drums vox on his keys for ‘Old Enough to Know’.  “Time to settle, get a job, get some money coming in…” Honestly, I don’t think so, Zoot.  Just keep rockin’ baby!
PS: Well done Swing Unlimited Big Band!  A stomping night’s playing at the Concord Club in Eastleigh on Friday.  Bands don’t come any tighter or bolder, with rhythm and brass so evenly matched, helped by superb sound engineer Pete Alcock.  This was big band melody played to perfection.  Singer Jack Sinatra was a lucky performer to front such a spectacular and perfectly modulated band.  During a recording of Frank’s Royal Festival Hall show, he turns to tell the band, “Leave some place to go boys” during ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin”.  He wouldn’t have had to give any such directions, so superbly was Swing Unlimited Big Band led by James Steadman.  Cracking!
The time has come! This Wednesday it's FNUK with ZOOT MONEY! You've got two more days to get your advance tickets at only £8 (Still only ridiculously cheap @ £12 on the door) if you call @[703858905:2048:Catherine Peiro] 07771 267445 before Tuesday!<br /><br /><br />
By the way, the following evening at the Soundcellar jazz club in the Blue Boar Poole, you can see @[520021469:2048:Nigel Price] with @[576511272:2048:Georgia Mancio] - two stellar nights of fantastic live jazz back-to-back! Support live jazz!<br /><br /><br />
https://www.facebook.com/events/512016422197532/

 

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