Ahead of the first annual Ribble Valley Jazz Festival in Clitheroe this month, it seems apt to review a live recording of the one of the club’s popular lunchtime concerts. Only established in 2007, Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues have worked tirelessly to achieve what they have thus far. What began simply as a way for local players to get together and jam has resulted in a solid band that plays regularly, a series of jazz workshops for younger players, a youth big band competition and now an annual jazz festival. As well as establishing a healthy schedule of local gigs and events, the organisation has also attracted some of the country’s premier acts including Steve Berry, Alan Barnes and Eric Ainsworth.
Recorded at one of the Club’s lunchtime concerts at the Grand in Clitheroe, this CD does a good job of showcasing some of this region’s talent. Lead by Brian Taylor on saxophone, flute and harmonica, this particular unit play through 13 tracks of varying pace and mood. Taylor himself is on excellent form, especially on Autumn Leaves where his subtle flute playing dances above the Kevin Morris’ measured guitar. On other tracks though Morris digs deep and provides some of the best solos of the session. On Angel Eyes the group adopt an almost rolling blues backdrop for the guitarist to crunch through some muscular lines. Nick Mohan is an economic pianist who chooses his notes with care, and along with bassist Ed Harrison and Tom Rice on drums, he plays a major part in keeping this quintet knitted together well.