My first gig of this year’s jazz festival was the Phil Bancroft Quartet at the Hub – indeed, all but one of the gigs I went to was at the Hub (in contrast to last year, where all but one was at the Spiegel Tent). It was a hot Saturday afternoon, and I didn’t feel like sitting in a darkened hall listening to jazz; but this quartet quickly blew the cobwebs away.
They played a varied set – Bancroft explained how he liked different styles of music to do different things emotionally – and the tunes spanned a dynamic range, drummer Stu Ritchie somehow achieving the wonderful feat of being energetic and driving whilst playing with care, precision and – best of all – quietly: Ritchie was excellent.
But then this band has pedigree, with the wonderful Aidan O’Donnell on bass and Paul Harrison on piano. It was a fun gig – the music seemed to express Bancroft’s quirky humour – and the playing was excellent throughout.
Bancroft said that someone had told him he looked like the recently discovered Radovan Karadzic, and we shouldn’t be surprised if UN forces burst in to drag him off to the Hague; but the person behind me said he looked rather more like Hagrid.