Tim Garland's Dean Street Underground

East Coast Jazz Festival at Norwich Playhouse

It's quite a treat to see a nine-piece jazz outfit anywhere these days and one of this standard is something to be savoured.

Add to that its leader's ability for not only playing exceptionally fine tenor and soprano saxophone, but his arranging and composing skills, and you have what we had – a couple of hours of timeless and faultless jazz.

Kicking off with Thelonious Monk's Off Minor showed what a wide palette of tonal colours a nine-piece is capable of.

At full pelt, it's a powerful force with added stabs of brass from the excellent trombone of Barnaby Dickinson (seen with Guy Barker's band at last year's festival) forged with the two trumpets and flugelhorns of Henry Collins and Noel Langley.

Garland has more than his fair share of talent in this collective. Young piano player Gwilym Simcock's contribution was one of endless delights and he is surely set for great things.

Garland's tune Gentle Nemesis showed off the skills of alto saxophone player Sam Maine, with Andy Panayi's essential contributions on baritone saxophone and flute.

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We heard two pieces from Kenny Wheeler's “lost” Sixties suite Windmill Tilter and a reworking of Grover Washington's Seventies funk hit Mr Magic, while Billy Taylor's I Wish I Knew What it Was to Be Free (the theme music from BBC1's Film 2003 programme) was taken slowly, its gospel flavour brought to the fore.

Garland, a regular player in the United States, said that wherever he travelled, English jazz players are now highly respected. And so they should be.

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