It was impressive enough that the pre-bookings for this show were twice as many as we have generally experienced at the Legion venue, and rightly so as we were treated to a night of absolute jazz from James and his group.
This was James’ debut as a headline performer, featuring the launch of his first album and it was great to see and hear a vibraphone, an instrument much neglected, taking its place again in the jazz sound. The ‘Group’ was not just a bunch of musos cobbled together for the gig. Even though this ensemble was performing together for the first time it consisted of some of the leading lights in Brisbane jazz – John Reeves -piano, Peter Walters – bass, and Joe Marchisella – drums providing a solid rhythm section with special guests Graeme Norris on sax and Mal Wood trumpet and vocals giving that highly professional polish to the whole event.
It is impossible to get a raucous note from a vibraphone so the performance was smooth, interesting and jazzy while a few gutsy sounds from Graeme and Mal here and there added colour and robustness to the show. I’m sure James will continue making his mark on the jazz scene. There is no doubt that he will become one of the welcome attractions in future appearances at the BJC and I wish him well.