Courtney Pine

Norwich Playhouse

Norwich Playhouse

Jazz pioneer Courtney Pine has been at the forefront of the UK scene for over 20 years, and shows no signs of slowing down in his creative output.

At a packed Playhouse on Wednesday evening, he treated us to a varied programme of standards with a modern twist and his own compositions.

Opening with a tribute to James Brown, you get a sense of what Pine's sound is all about: technically brilliant, but always soulful, he engages his audience through his playing, as if it is just you he is playing to.

The set flowed without losing any momentum and one of the highlights of the night was The 37th Chamber taken from his landmark Modern Jazz Stories album. A dynamic solo mixing western and eastern techniques showed just what a consummate showman he is.

He was ably supported by his band, including superb solo work from violinist Omar Puente and guitarist Cameron Pierre, and was not afraid to showcase their talents - which is a good sign with any front man. A re-working of the classic standard Body and Soul was particularly apt for Valentine's Evening, with Pine again taking the opportunity to take a song and make it his own.

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The evening ended with Oliver Nelson's Stolen Moments, and a rousing rendition of Power to the People, which brought the audience to their feet.

This really was a brilliant night of outstanding entertainment from one of the UK's true jazz stars.

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