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The People Band, London, UK, March, 2013

Sammy Stein By

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There was a sense of restraint which was tangible at times, and the first half, in particular, took on something of a concert feel as each piece was almost formally introduced by one of the Harts. The second half was freer, and the players immersed themselves in the music, listening intently to each other, reading reactions and creating music which, at times, encouraged an irresistible urge to laugh out loud or, at others, simply close the eyes and drift with the music into blissful oblivion.

Café Oto is not the best setting acoustically. It has many corners and lots of furniture and clutter which seem to swallow the sound, but it more than makes up for this with its welcoming ambience and relaxed feel which suits a gig like this; the band is close to the audience, which also makes for a special ambience. It was really good to see the broad age range in the audience.

The gig delivered what every People Band gig offers—unpredictable, unexpected sounds, brought forth by some of the most versatile and gifted jazz players around. They create music which is, at times, beautiful in the purest sense of the word and sometimes almost unlistenable, but is always interesting and fun. As improvisers the members of The People Band excel. Each individual is outstanding in his/her own right and they are all involved with their own projects outside of the group. However, it is when they join together on one small stage that the magic happens.

Whilst the world changes and moves at an ever more frantic pace, The People Band is a reminder that at a time decades ago some young men took a forward role in the freeform movement, and they are still here, doing what they have always done.

In his segue leading to Day's solo, Figgis commented that when the band got together again in the early 2000s, after a hiatus of some decades, he questioned at the time whether it was a good idea. The reaction of the crowd gathered at Café Oto must surely have given him the answer—it was definitely a good idea.

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