David Patrick is a versatile pianist and composer, equally at home playing with Carol Kidd or Salsa Celtica, although Stravinsky doesn’t readily spring to mind.
David Patrick’s International Sextet - Jazz Bar, Edinburgh
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However, he marked yesterday’s centenary of the premiere of the Russian’s iconoclastic Rite of Spring by adapting it into a jazz suite.
A slightly stressed-looking Patrick assembled a top-notch band, with Tom MacNiven on trumpet and flugelhorn, Brian Molley and Sam Coombs sharing a clutch of saxes and flute, and Germans Martin Zenker and Ole Seimetz on bass and drums respectively. Billed as a sextet, it became a septet for the Stravinsky with the addition of Dick Lee on bass clarinet and shrilling soprano clarinet.
As this went to press, they were moving into Patrick’s more accustomed compositional territory, but the Rite was an exhilarating event in itself. Coombs’s soprano sax stood in effectively for the famous bassoon introduction of the original, as Stravinsky’s twisted pastoral of folk tunes and forest murmurs was given a jazz cellar reading, with syncopation to match, occasionally rasping into relatively free jamming and even swinging.
There was perhaps a slight loss of momentum in the drum solo and piano chords that presaged the powerfully stabbing finale, but overall this was a brash and brilliant homage, if greeted by a perhaps disappointingly well-behaved audience, despite being preceded by Herbie Hancock’s terse Riot. This dance to the death with no fatalities is reprised tonight at Glasgow Art Club.