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Alister Spence Trio with Raymond MacDonald, Glasgow Art Club


Bridge Music launched another season of its Thursday jazz concerts with this international quartet and while the session highlighted occasional problems with intonation, the intimacy of its presentation served to further illustrate the qualities of Glasgow Art Club's gallery as a listening venue. Musicians certainly seem to find it conducive to creativity and any seat in the room allows the audience close involvement with the action.

Australian pianist Alister Spence was making a welcome return to the club, playing his own music, much of it drawn from his fine new album, Far Flung, as well as sharing the set list with his fellow musicians. The album's closing track and the concert's opener, Arc, with its sampled double bass drone and a lively real-time arco introduction from bassist Joe Williamson, set the scene for a couple of genial sets big on atmospheric development and gently unfolding compositions, but also featured insistent rhythms, witty, slightly off-kilter melodies and on Brave Ghost, again from Far Flung, the kind of drums-propelled boogaloo that in a less sedate setting might have prompted some tail-feather shaking.

Saxophonist Raymond MacDonald brought improvisations both stormy and breathily quiet and his super-stealthy If You Really Want To Hear About It was a quirky second-set highlight alongside Spence's invigorating Mullet Run, with drummer Chris Cantillo thriving in its jumpy metre, and the final number, Another Autumn, which as well as offering Williamson a chance to explore its attractive harmonic structure has the sort of reflective melody that lingers well after the coda.

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