All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

596

Barbara Dennerlein Quartet at Ronnie Scott's

By

Sign in to view read count
Barbara Dennerlein Quartet
Ronnie Scott's
London, England
June 6, 2009



The sold-out space in Ronnie Scott's Club was illuminated by candle light when Barbara Dennerlein and her band took the stage. The Ronnie Scott All-Stars had already finished the opening set with some familiar tunes featuring piano and flugelhorn as the lead voices, backed by bass and drums. This short program established an appropriate contrast to what was to come.

The traditional, wooden Hammond B3 dominated stage, immediately commanding the spectator's attention. Marcel Gustke, Dennerlein's steady drummer from Germany, slipped behind the drum kit in the back; Dave Lewis found standing room next to the Hammond with enough room to accommodate himself and his tenor sax; and Mark Ridout picked up his hollow-body guitar while sitting down on an upholstered chair with a black backrest and a leopard-patterned seat.

They started with "Easy Going," a 4/4 bar rhythmically accentuated piece with a groove somewhere between swing and march and featuring Dennerlein's bass pedal work with both feet on an impressive solo. "It's amazing how good she plays," a club employee whispered. Lucky guy, he already had heard her the evening before.

The second title "Fly Away" took the audience on a complete journey through Barbara's Hammond jazz world. The up-tempo Latin groove of the piece regularly seduces not only the listener but the performer to dive deep into her solo improvisation, her fingertips initially coaxing forth feathery notes, before going to urgent chordal textures and increasingly loud dynamics until the Hammond virtually moans and screams, its sermon fervently delivered with syncopated block chords. At this moment a listener is apt to wonder how this daring, adventurous musical traveler will ever find her way back home.

"Change Of Pace," the title track of the organist's CD production featuring Hammond with symphony orchestra, is less about definitive closure than experimentation: stopping, thinking things over, trying a different approach, taking a different point of view. This approach is represented by changes of meter and, as if that wouldn't be enough, clusters of triplets. But in the middle the song yields to a flowing 4/4 bar and a swinging section offering Dave Lewis an ample solo part. Later in the tune, drummer Marcel Gustke started solo fireworks over the fanfare-like repeated intro theme (which is definitely not 4/4—more likely 13/8 or a similar exotic meter).

During "Last Call," from Dennerlein's intimate solo CD, In A Silent Mood (Bebab, 2004), it was Mark Ridout's turn on this contemplative piece to add a soulful solo. A marked contrast followed: "Black And White," named after the colors of the keys but expressive of the unmistakable contrast in mood from the previous number. Again, this fast tune features Barbara as soloist on keys and pedals in an incredible tempo. Enthusiastic applause erupted after Barbara had indicated the band members to rejoin her, but of course she went on in full speed.



The first concert ended with "Going Home" and the recently composed "Bebabaloo" which, though it hasn't come out on CD as yet, had the crowd movin' and groovin' in their seats. The featured performer then surprised the audience with her encore, "Organ Boogie." Only someone who has ever tried to play a boogie bass line on the piano might have a clue about the difficulty and impact of Dennerlein's singular performance on the bass pedals.

Set Two

The second set was again opened by the Ronnie Scott All Stars. It was almost half past midnight when Dennerlein began her last set with "Jimmy's Walk," her dedication to seminal organ great Jimmy Smith. For the first four bars she played her left hand bass in his style, then continued with the left foot on the pedals. Added licks and riffs on the keyboards, she clearly had no need of a bassist, especially given the independence of her left foot. The band joined in, and Barbara let every musician introduce himself to the audience with a short solo before she took her right foot from the swell pedal for another bass solo with both feet. People craned their necks to see what was going on with her feet. To make it short—Dennerlein took the audience by storm.

Again the Munich-based organist explained the stories and ideas behind the performed songs that had been written by her without exception. "Samba And The Drum Stick," as we learned, is dedicated to Barbara's first dog Samba, a female German Dachshund with the unusual gait resembling a samba dancer's and a proclivity for filching drum sticks from the drummer's stick bag.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Organ Boogie

Organ Boogie

Barbara Dennerlein
Bebabaloo

Funkish

Funkish

Barbara Dennerlein
Love Letters

Top Ten List
Talking 2 Musicians
Talkin' Blues
Live Reviews
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
 

Change Of Pace

Polygram Distribution
2006

buy
The Best of Barbara Dennerlein

The Best of Barbara...

Verve Music Group
2006

buy
 

Spiritual Movement...

Polygram Distribution
2002

buy
 

Love Letters

Polygram Distribution
2001

buy
 

Outhipped

Verve Music Group
2000

buy
 

Outhipped

Polygram Distribution
1999

buy

Related Articles

Read Tallinn Music Week 2018 Live Reviews
Tallinn Music Week 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: April 19, 2018
Read James Blood Ulmer and the Thing at Bochum Art Museum Live Reviews
James Blood Ulmer and the Thing at Bochum Art Museum
by Phillip Woolever
Published: April 17, 2018
Read Jocelyn Medina at Jazz at Kitano Live Reviews
Jocelyn Medina at Jazz at Kitano
by Tyran Grillo
Published: April 16, 2018
Read Marbin at The Firmament Live Reviews
Marbin at The Firmament
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 15, 2018
Read Big Ears Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Big Ears Festival 2018
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 13, 2018
Read Meg Morley Trio at 606 Club Live Reviews
Meg Morley Trio at 606 Club
by Gareth Thomas
Published: April 13, 2018
Read "Nels and Alex Cline at The Jazz Bakery" Live Reviews Nels and Alex Cline at The Jazz Bakery
by Jonathan Manning
Published: January 22, 2018
Read "Jean Luc Ponty Band at the Boulder Theater" Live Reviews Jean Luc Ponty Band at the Boulder Theater
by Geoff Anderson
Published: June 17, 2017
Read "Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC Winter Jazzfest" Live Reviews Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 15, 2018
Read "Toshiko Akiyoshi Trio at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola" Live Reviews Toshiko Akiyoshi Trio at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola
by Keith Henry Brown
Published: September 7, 2017
Read "Sue Rynhart at The Cresent Arts Centre" Live Reviews Sue Rynhart at The Cresent Arts Centre
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 15, 2017
Read "7 Mile House Jazz Festival 2018" Live Reviews 7 Mile House Jazz Festival 2018
by Walter Atkins
Published: March 25, 2018