Jazz review: Malcolm MacFarlane, Edinburgh

Following the release of his solo album Winter’s Journey, local boy Malcolm MacFarlane is firmly back in the collaborative groove with his latest incarnation.

Malcolm MacFarlane - 3 Bristo Place, Edinburgh

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It was a celebration of the classic soul jazz tradition of the Sixties and Seventies with an ensemble that featured, on this outing, Gordon McNeil deputising for John Burgess on tenor sax, Malcolm Edmondstone on organ and Paul Mills on drums. Together, they made a righteously funky sound – smooth, but with that pleasing warmth and hipster cachet you get from the signature sound of Hammond organ – exhibiting a particular affinity for the music of Stanley Turrentine and Grant Green.

MacFarlane’s rhythm guitar playing had the taut choppiness of funk, while his solos were lyrical yet precise, in contrast to the louche and lithe sax playing or the tight but loose backbone provided by the muscley Mills on the likes of Boogaloo Joe Jones’s Hoochie Coo Chickie.

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Mellow Mood did engender a fair bit of improvisatory noodling around its melody, but there was great excitement when MacFarlane announced he had a wah-wah pedal and he was gonna use it – in tandem, as it turned out, with some steamy sax licks. The mood remained sultry as they were joined by MacFarlane’s fellow Shakatak alumnus Jacqui Hicks for jazz vocal standards such as Caravan and It Ain’t Necessarily So, plus Eric Clapton and Mamas and the Papas covers which settled in rather loungey territory, until MacFarlane injected a bit of western swing flavour into the bluesy Frim Fram Sauce.

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