Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The Paul Busby Big Band

The Brunswick, Hove
Sunday 7th November 2010

Tonight's gig was held at the Brunswick pub in Hove. This venue offers a beautiful and intimate setting for performances of any kind, and tonight is no exception.
The hall is draped in curtains and candlelit tables are placed around the room; one spectator commented that it was “like a Ronnie Scotts by the sea”.
This cold November evening sees a packed out venue, with only early comers getting a seat. This was for a good reason as tonight the wonderful Paul Busby Big Band are about to play.
Tonight's line-up, as any local Jazz boffin will know, is nothing short of exceptional, as can be viewed below;

  • Dave Moorhouse
  • Martijn van Galen
  • Rob Heasman
  • Bob Turner

  • Paul Nieman
  • Mark Bassey
  • Howard Beagley
  • Tim Wade
  • Alex Bondonno (alto)
  • Phil Paton (alto)
  • Brendan Kelly (tenor)
  • Simon D'Souza (tenor)
  • Anna Jordanous (baritone/alto/flute)

Rhythm Section
  • Terry Pack (bass)
  • Dave Trigwell (drums)
  • Paul Busby (piano & composer)

Composer Paul Busby wrote and performed a set entirely about Dorking, Surrey in May this year; tonight's set played homage to that as well as showing us an exciting taster of the Brighton set that is to come in April 2011...
The collective experience from this band that borrows members from; The Sussex Jazz Orchestra, OOMPH (Cassablanca functions band), Elephant, Straight No Chaser and Bellowhead to name a few.

The music featured a mix of conceptual jazz that lent to old as well as more contemporary styles. Paul Busby explained the themes that would be explored before the beginning of each track using the instruments at hand to their full potential. This was particularly used to great effect in track Vied Ac, which means Holy Oak in Saxon which is the hill upon which Whitehawk stands now. We were told to listen to the changes in weather whilst the band cleverly depicted wind and rain by blowing down their instruments.
The sound in the venue was fantastic, with the each member of the band having a separate mic. This sets a challenge for any sound engineer as the levels have to be constantly monitored as solos swap between band members.

Drummer Dave Trigwell is an absolute master behind the kit, unfortunately for I and most of the audience he was hidden behind a pillar meaning I couldn't see his impressive technical ability. Trigwell's playing was just as themic as the rest of the band, playing rhythms that really helped bring the music to life.

Terry Pack, has fantastic control of his instrument and a really fluid style in solos. This coupled with Trigwell make for an impressively tight rhythm section allowing a platform for the rest of the band.

The brass section featuring some of the biggest names in local jazz was one of the tightest i've seen. Their parts had been written beautifully, demonstrating flawless dynamic control and execution portraying a variety of emotions.
Paul Busby wrote some very interesting arrangements, and in one track, based around an old game of rugby that was played in Dorking by large gatherings of the town folk used the saxophones and trumpets to face off each other in a clash of harmony's and polyrhythms.

The gig tonight showcased some of the most talented group of musicians Brighton has to offer. I cannot imagine how the performance or songwriting could have bettered itself tonight in anyway, and this is coming from someone who's very particular about his jazz listening. Solos featuring the majority of the band were always befitting to the pieces with no trace of ego. This is a top band to see featuring some serious professionals who know exactly what they're, keep updated for April's gig based entirely around Brighton, will sure be one that can't be missed.



  1. Terry Pack also plays in an awesome trio called Full Circle, who are well worth a listen if you like conceptual, classical-influenced jazz.

  2. The band's next gig is on 24th April at 8pm at the Brunswick - the premier of the full Brighton Jazz Suite. Same line-up with the addition of Tim Wade on trombone and Jerry Dearden playing bass guitar on some numbers.


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