Photo of the band Guido Spannocchi Quartet

Guido Spannocchi Quartet at The Marr’s Bar, Worcester 2nd May 2024

Spring continues to struggle to show its true colours through the lingering, dreary weather, as Winter, forever about to depart, hesitates at the door once again with a Columbo-esque “Just one more thing”! Those who rose from the comfort of their sofas, duvets and steaming bowls of Heinz tomato soup to join us at The Marr’s Bar on Thursday evening couldn’t have found a more bright, warm and invigorating respite, as Austrian alto-man Guido Spannocchi took to the stage with his amazing quartet to perform for the first time in Worcester.

We were transported immediately to warmer climes with the opening ‘Imaginary Cape Town’, a new composition featuring Spannocchi’s distinctive sax tone and Danny Keane’s joyfully melodious dexterity on the electric piano, with Pete Adam Hill providing perfectly placed percussive punctuation from the relative shadows of stage-right!

‘Strutting in Six’ introduced another conversation between Keane and Hill over a 6/4 groove, followed by ‘Pocket of Value’, giving rise to Jason Simpson’s first outing of the evening at ‘the dusty end’ of his Fender Precision fretboard before merging into ‘The Business’. The first set ended with the short, Fugue-infused ‘Tempus Fugit’.

The second set opened with ‘Cafezinho’, Portuguese for ‘small coffee’, inspired by the establishment somewhere in London where a cafezinho can still be purchased for just £1 (although the details remain top secret!). More sunshine came in the form of the wonderfully syncopated ‘Autumn Sun’, with Keane letting rip on the keys before passing the baton to Simpson for another top-level, bottom-end feature. My favourite piece of the evening was ‘DKT’ – “the Danny Keane Tune” – a playful dance with a west African, maybe even Calypso feel, but in 7/4.

The set ended with the stonking ‘South Lambo’, a proper swinging strut with Hill accentuating the backbeat throughout as Spannocchi and Keane shredded out once more. This will probably make it to video this week on the Music Spoken Here YouTube channel. The encore, ‘Uphill Blues’ was in a similar vein rhythmically, with another be-bop blow from Spannocchi and a final solo from Simpson on bass, before Hill was left alone to bash one out on the kit for the last time!

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