Damon Brown with the Spin Trio, Thu 11th April 2019
There was a more laid back mood at the Spin for the last concert before its Easter break. The house trio of Pete Oxley, guitar, Mark Doffman on drums and guest bassist Dave Jones, (depping for Raf Mizraki) were joined by British trumpet star Damon Brown, and there was a distinct off-duty flavour to the proceedings.
Brown popped by the Spin while visiting from his current home in
It was not a night for experimentation, though Pete Oxley’s angular, enquiring approach always nudges a safe old 'I got rhythm' nicely to the edges of its comfort zone. The assembled quartet swung through a tasteful selection of standards at low volume, propelled by Doffman’s whispering cymbals and deft touches on the drums. Dave Jones kept feet tapping even in the stripped-down setting, with Oxley’s sparse changes leaving plenty of space.
Trumpet can be shrill and harsh, but Brown’s fluency and round tone ensured the heads and solos were never overwhelming. Even in this cooled down setting, he generated the right kind of energy simply with the inventiveness of his work through the changes, always with a strong sense of melody and with occasional bluesy edges to maintain the colour and groove.
There was a treat in store too, because Brown revealed himself to be a sultry, soulful singer, with engaging versions of I Left My Heart In San Francisco and Come Rain Or Come Shine. As a trumpeter with a taste for vocals, comparisons with Chet Baker are inevitable, but Brown has his own greasy sound, more reminiscent of vocalists like Al Jarreau or Oscar Brown Jr. The songs were refreshing and highly popular interludes.
Among the instrumentals we heard Stella By Starlight, Silver Serenade and Clifford Brown’s Joyspring, with Benny Golson’s Killer Joe allowing Dave Jones to show off his funkier side. Charles Mingus’ gospelised Nostalgia In Times Square brought the evening to a relatively rousing conclusion.
You can catch Pete Oxley with Nicolas Meier at Worton Organic Farm on Easter Saturday. Otherwise, keep your diary free for Thursday May 2nd, when the Eva Lovett Group gets the Spin’s summer season underway.