Tuesday, September 13, 2011

IC Ensemble at Alchemia (12.09)

IC stands for Imperial College in London and IC Big Band stands for a 5-trumpets, 5-saxes, 5-trombones and rhythm section strong orchestra comprised by the its students. And just the idea of non-professional musicians and non-music students gathering together to play some music is inspiring to say the least.

The stage in Alchemia saw an 8-piece group (it would be pretty much impossible to fit the entire band into this space) that nonetheless delivered a nicely round sound (alto, tenor, trumpet/flugelhorn, trombone in the horns section) and a great selections of tunes - avoiding the trap of watershed standards in favour of a couple of nice obscures (tunes by Steve Davis, Cedar Walton) and a handfull of niecely done originals, couple of ballads (a nice piece by the pianist) thrown in between the more up-tempo tunes with a funky twist ("Kool" by John Scofield, "Blackjack" by Donald Byrd) and my personal favourite of the night - exuberant and joyfully south-african "Sonia" by Dudu Pukwana. Obviously each tune a platform for a set of solos that, while not exactly memorable, were pretty solid (with special acknowledgement towards the trumpet player who, to my ear, used best the solo time he was allowed).

Not revealing or revolutionary or anything near but it would be unfair to expect from the music presented something that it wasn't supposed to be and underestimate light-handedly what it was - a lot of fun, an enjoyable evening, a set of optimistic music that should put a smile on your face. And bit of a sentimental journey for me as it was this kind of music  that introduced me to jazz (many thanks to the Big Band of the Zielona Gora University).
Congrats to all the players for their dedication and enthusiasm and skills. 

NOTE: If you are in Krakow and have a free evening - the full Big Band is playing tonight at Klub 'Pod Jaszczurami" and you don't get too many chances these days to see 20 persons together at the same time on stage and fully appreciate what the Big Band and Big Band sound means.

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