Oli Howe Trio
The Verdict, Brighton
Saturday 12th May, 2018
Pianist Oli Howe is someone who has always enjoyed exploring the jazz piano trio format and seeing where he can take it and the time that the trio have spent rehearsing has paid off, with tightly-performed introductions to well-known standards such as Days of Wine and Roses and Blue Skies.
Howe has a melodic and soulful touch and the ability to play fast solo lines as well as slow pieces with emotional depth. Beginning the first set with a hard-swinging Ellis Marsalis tune Swinging at The Haven, the trio got off to a great start with lots of musical rapport.
The set went through a number of Howe’s favourite jazz standards, including his interpretation of Dolphin Dance and the rarely-heard latin ballad Love Dance by Ivan Lins. A brisk version of That Old Black Magic provided some tight transitions from two-feel to hard swing.
Howe began the second set with Monty Alexander’s version of Nite Mist Blues by Ahmad Jamal, complete with dramatic boogie-woogie interludes and contemporary flourishes and changes in tempo.
Bassist Oz Dechaine has always been a solid timekeeper and has become increasingly more fluent on the instrument, illustrated by a number of confident and enjoyable solos.
The highlight of the second set was their contemporary take on the old standard Blue Skies with a tightly-played introduction and a rapid, fluent solo from Oz Dechaine. Their diverse second set also included the beautiful ballad Never Let Me Go, another contemporary take on Monk’s I Mean You and some odd-time additions to the standards All Blues and Footprints. Ending with Chick Corea’s complex blues Matrix and then an encore of Nardis, this is clearly a trio that enjoy playing together and have developed a strong rapport together.
Oli Howe, piano; Oz Dechaine, bass; Darren Beckett, drums.