An enthusiastic gathering of like-minded jazz followers welcomed the spirit and gusto of the Rob Terry Trio on Saturday evening.
As Oxford street decorations sparkled signalled the launch of the approaching Christmas season, inside St Giles Church was hosting its latest 'Jazz at St Giles' concert. It is a credit to the organisation that there has been such a high calibre of performers who all genuinely love to return and perform for this growing jazz community. Commendation must go to the volunteers whose hospitality and management makes the concert such an enjoyable experience.
How graced were we to witness such virtuosic performances of Terry's compositions resonating throughout the space. In the words of bass player Paul Jeffries: 'Our group together for some eight-plus years with a passion for combining elements of classical music and jazz, continue to hone our skills, dedication and love of music, for the enjoyment of you, our audience.' And in the case of the Rob Terry Trio, they clearly fulfil their own creativity and lifelong love of music and performance.
The baby grand, bass and drums were the perfect combination for composer/ arranger Rob Terry's works which showcased Paul Jeffries (bass) and Charlie Strafford (drums) and Rob Terry (piano). From the opening number, Brubeck's 'Blue Rondo A la Turk' the audience were struck by the enthusiasm and energy of the trio. Showcasing their albums and popular pieces, the well-attended concert appeared to be in 'Seventh Heaven'.
'The Rite of Swing' cleverly interwove elements of Stravinsky and the jazz standard 'On Green Dolphin Street.' Other pieces included: 'He Knows' (2015) which was clearly one of the trio's favourites and 'Pentacle', themed around a five-pointed star. Musical quotes surfaced throughout the performance, complex metrical structures and familiar tunes including, 'Ain't She Sweet', 'Ain't Necessarily So' meant there was something for everyone. 'The Moonlight Sonata / My Funny Valentine' piece was a standout performance. Generous with their time, the Trio even sort, with audience permission of course, to shorten the interval so as to continue playing. The encore piece 'Walking' could be imagined as a short film score and features on their The Unexplained Life album. Just like a present under the tree waiting to be unwrapped by the excited recipient, it was enjoyable to witness. What a blessing, joy filled musicians of this calibre and spirit sharing their gift this season.