Courtney Pine

DAVID WAKEFIELD The Waterfront, Norwich


The ebullient Mr Pine has been coming to The Waterfront since his teens, and, judged by this performance, will be visiting for many years yet. Norwich loves the brilliance, technique, humour, single-mindedness and the showmanship of the saxophone star.

Courtney is on his Devotion tour - this being the title of his latest project and latest album. Although we didn't get the full works, which includes several distinguished voices, we had a taste via several numbers from the album. But the conclusion is that it doesn't much matter what he plays; it's all good stuff.

His Afro-Caribbean, hip-hop and drum & bass influences shine through, but always there is evidence of his jazz roots, deeply embedded, inevitably, in John Coltrane, and much of Pine's work on soprano sax is emotionally reminiscent of the master. That said, his best work at this performance was on tenor.

One suspects Pine carries out his full repertoire of tricks - including circular breathing - because his audiences generally expect it. But, as if to prove that he is not all showboating, he gave generous space to his accomplished sidemen Cameron Pierre (guitar) and Dennis Rollins (trombone). Pierre in particular is a thoughtful player who does not rely on electronics.

They got good support from Chris Jerome (organ/keyboards), Peter Martin (double bass) and the excellent Robert Fordjour (drums) - a supreme timekeeper.