Art Themen/Dave Barry Quartet: Hanky ​​Panky review – what a difference a day makes… | Jazz

Llast-minute arrangements sometimes turn out lucky. Drummer Dave Barry was booked for a recording session which was cancelled. He had wanted to record with saxophonist Art Themen for some time and grabbed the canceled date. Themen were free, as were their first picks, pianist Gareth Williams and bassist Dave Green. This is the result. The eight tracks are a mixture of numbers composed by jazz musicians and some old songs that have drifted into the jazz repertoire, but here the treatment is looser and more inventive than the usual parade of solos. We often only hear piano and bass, for example, or saxophone and piano.

The variety, not only of sounds but also of atmospheres and moods, is remarkable. The main track, by Dexter Gordon, has Themen buzzing about its simple melody like a mischievous bee, while Williams’ ease of hitting over time shows that it doesn’t need to be simple at all. Ellington’s Prelude to a Kiss manages to be effortlessly Ellingtonian without imitating it and, to me, it’s the best of a really good bunch. Everything is done in one day!

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