CHARLES LLOYD (+ JOE LOVANO / DAVE DOUGLAS) | London, Barbican

Sunday evening at the Barbican saw a real tour-de-force of jazz from the old school masters to bring a magnificent close to this year’s EFG London Jazz Festival.

The performance opened with Joe Lovano on sax and Dave Douglas on trumpet, co-leading their Sound Prints quintet. Linda Oh on double bass distinguished herself with lightning-fast accompaniment and a solo to rival Holland, Spalding or any other of today’s bass legends. The group’s arrangements of their own originals were both superbly inventive and flawlessly executed. The quintet then played two sublime Wayne Shorter compositions written especially for the group. By the end of their set, the crowd were beside themselves with appreciation for a truly spectacular masterclass, with standing ovations across the entire hall.

The second half saw Charles Lloyd (winner of the NEA Jazz Masters Award) take to the stage with an eclectic combination of traditional Greek and Hungarian instruments, alongside a conventional jazz quartet. Whilst the level of virtuosity matched the support, Charles’ Wild Man Suite was much freer in its structure, requiring a deeper level of concentration from the audience in order to enjoy it. Brief moments of more conventional structure served as transitions between movements of the continuous composition, during which the supporting instrumentation was allowed to enjoy the limelight. Charles certainly proved an entertaining performer, with spasming jazz-jolts and knee jerks acting as embellishments to his impressive melodic flourishes although his intrusion onto Gerald Clayton’s piano was perhaps an unnecessary display of his virtuosic tendencies.

Overall the concert was a distinguished and well-suited end to a truly magnificent festival of music.

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