Emerging from a baroque milieu where improvisation and flamboyance would have been par for the course, arrangement of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons by a violin-led swing jazz trio seems perfectly appropriate, as keenly demonstrated by Dutch violinist Tim Kliphuis with guitarist Nigel Clark and bassist Roy Percy, here augmented by a string trio of violinist Seonaid Aitken, viola player Francesca Hunt and cellist Su-a Lee.
Tim Kliphuis Sextet ****
Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh
Kliphuis and company can really swing, and they swung Vivaldi too – effectively, respectfully and joyously, Kliphuis’s violin singing and darting vivaciously through the first movement of Summer and the second of Spring, Clark’s guitar thrumming alongside or delivering whirring solos. From the broader jazz repertoire, Django alternated between sighing ensemble strings and lively fiddle breaks, while Aitken exercised her alter ego as a gypsy jazz player, trading lines with Kliphuis and also giving a warm-voiced rendition of Don’t Worry About Me.
They were augmented at one point by five impressive-sounding students from City of Edinburgh School of Music, and Su-a produced her famous musical saw for a spooky account of Moon River that sounded like Henry Mancini on the Forbidden Planet.
Elsewhere Kliphuis’s treatment of Ellington’s Isfahan was a bit heavy on exaggerated glissandi, while a mash-up of Aaron Copeland’s Hoedown and Fanfare for the Common Man was fun, if rather visibly joined up. Returning to the classic jazz canon, however, lush strings gave way to a torrid Caravan, propelled with gypsy flare and with all elements in fine equilibrium.