Theo Travis Quartet

DAVID WAKEFIELD East Coast Jazz Festival event at the Green Man, Rackheath


There's always an element of uncertainty about attending a gig by someone whose name is familiar, but whose work is not.

I had read a fairly spiky review of Theo Travis' double album View From The Edge, and can only assume that what we heard at the Green Man were the bits that the reviewer enjoyed!

For this young man represents another reason to be joyful about the future of British jazz. Travis is obviously capable of adapting his mood to the material in hand, a point illustrated when his restrained mood on his own composition, the Herbie Hancock-flavoured Lulworth Night, was followed by a blistering version of Have You Met Miss Jones in which he reeled off a series of intricate solos. Had he peaked too early, I wondered; fortunately I was mistaken.

Backed by Simon Coleman (piano), Andy Hamill (bass) and the effervescent Marc Parnell (drums), he kept up the momentum for the whole evening. Tubby Hayes' On The Wagon and another Travis original, Fast Life, brought the first half to a lively end – the latter being a showcase for the Parnell expertise.

The second half followed the same mix of originals and familiar standards, with Charles Mingus' Nostalgia In Times Square getting a lively outing, and Travis slowing things right down for a thoughtful rendering of The Duke's In A Sentimental Mood, which also featured some excellent piano. It made a great finish to the Green Man's festival contribution this year.