Dave Cliff and the Jack Parnell Trio

DAVID WAKEFIELD Norwich Jazz Festival event at the Green Man, Rackheath


> Norwich Jazz Festival event at the Green Man, Rackheath

If there is such a thing as “a guitarist's guitarist” then surely Dave Cliff falls into that category. He's not flashy, but has a technique that makes his playing look deceptively easy - able to switch from sumptuous chording into lightning-fast solos in a trice. Adapt that technique to the jazz idiom and it's not difficult to see why he is on the wish list of all the top visiting American players.

This session was a typically freewheeling gig comprising well-known standards and jazz favourites, all delivered with the casual aplomb that marks the accomplished player, and Cliff obviously enjoyed himself against the backing of the long-established Green Man house trio (Mike Capocci, piano; Mike Harris, bass; and the evergreen 80-plus Jack Parnell, still driving along in perfect time from the drum chair).

A packed house enthusiastically received fine performances of Richard Rodgers' My Romance, the old latin favourite Besame Mucho (played, rather unusually, in waltz time) and old swingers like Charlie Parker's Now's the Time. Guitarists, however, tend to shine on slower numbers, and Body and Soul gave Cliff a chance to play the opening bars out of tempo before the trio kicked in behind him.

The Green Man - all the gigs are free - never fails to make a significant contribution to the festival, and this was one of the best.

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