1 February 2019

Live Review: Tom Barford

New Generation Jazz: Tom Barford Quintet

The Verdict, Brighton

Friday 30th November, 2018

Saxophonist Tom Barford appeared at The Verdict as part of the New Generation Jazz series to promote his latest album, Bloomer, on Edition Records. They mixed tunes from the album with other original material, most notably from guitarist and composer Billy Marrows. They also performed a couple of lesser-known jazz originals by Gil Evans and Thelonious Monk.

They began with the title track of the new album which featured a dynamic and well-structured solo from pianist Rupert Cox. The Barford original, Phizzwizard gave Marrows a chance to display his delicate and sensitive guitar work, and throughout the performance both the pianist and guitarist worked well together, staying out of each other’s way when necessary. The Marrows original, Flight, saw the two of them exchanging fours over a propulsive samba groove. Barracudas, a Gil Evans original that appears on Wayne Shorter’s Etcetera album, featured the excellent bassist Flo Moore who has a keen rhythmic sense and a clear tone.

Like a number of recent Royal Academy jazz graduates, Barford displayed a maturity beyond his years and an originality in his compositions.

They began the second set with the jazz/rock fusion imbibed F Step, followed by another Barford original, Ideology, influenced by the compositional style of Iain Ballamy and based on the standard My Ideal, which resulted in angular lines and resolved dissonances. This style of playing was aptly suited to the next choice of tune, Thelonious Monk’s We See that featured more virtuosic guitar work from Billy Marrows. Barford ended with the final tune from the album, entitled The Highly Strung Trapeze Artist, which featured some melodic solos from Barford, guitarist Billy Marrows and bassist Flo Moore.


Charlie Anderson

Tom Barford, tenor saxophone; Rupert Cox, piano; Billy Marrows, guitar; Flo Moore, bass; Dave Storey, drums.

Photo: Lisa Wormsley

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