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brass jaw, jazz bar, edinburgh

You'll probably hear many renderings of Good King Wenceslas before the season's over; likewise Jingle Bells and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

You won't, though, experience them with quite the same sense of verve, guile, enquiring musicality and sheer roguish fun, allied to undeniable artistry, unless you have the good fortune to run into Brass Jaw.

Good King Wenceslas even inspired an outbreak of jiving. Not that dancing should surprise anyone who has followed this horn quartet along their musical journey. With Allon Beauvoisin earning his "hardest working baritone saxophonist in showbusiness" soubriquet down there on the bassline shop floor, there was a whole lot of grooving going on, as there generally is at their gigs, with the difference here being the tunes that either segued into or inspired richly voiced brass chorales on top of those grooves.

The Christmas Song's idyllic, glowing image of chestnuts roasting was given superb chordal enhancement before breaking into a riot of colour and rhythmic intensity, and one of several choice Beauvoisin arrangements found Little Drummer Boy and James Brown's Funky Drummer conspiring in an unlikely but totally convincing partnership.

There were actually two Brass Jaws at work: tenor saxophonist Konrad Wiszniewski, having suffered severe finger damage just before this tour, took it canny in the first half before being "subbed" by his Scottish National Jazz Orchestra colleague, trombonist Michael Owers. The result was some different textures and continuing creativity, with alto saxophonist Paul Towndrow and trumpeter Ryan Quigley conjuring hot solos and a generous portion of new material, including Beauvoisin's effervescent Pulling A Quigley alongside the Christmas repertoire, signalling further compelling Brass Jaw adventures ahead.


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