Steve Fishwick Sextet
Glasgow Art Club, Rob Adams
There are two ways of interpreting the suggestion that a band "sounds good on paper". One considers the pedigrees of the musicians involved and imagines them working well together, and the other can be deciphered by the actual dots on the pages that comprise the band book. Trumpeter Steve Fishwick's sextet falls into both categories.
A collective history that includes work with jazz luminaries Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Heath, Joe Lovano, Dave Holland, Cedar Walton and Anita O'Day, together with the promotional effort that Bridge Music puts into its Jazz Thursdays series at Glasgow Art Club, produced a standing-room-only attendance. It was on the second of these "sounds good on paper" examples that the band delivered, however.
The writing and arranging, and consequently the ensemble performance, was of a largely high quality, with a version of You Don't Know What Love Is, taken at a faster tempo than usual and borrowed from the great Slide Hampton's pad of arrangements, making particularly good use of the trumpet, tenor and baritone front line.
Fishwick's own Dear Old London Town slyly used the camouflage of its relaxed groove and very effective brass stabs to slip in a devilishly constructed but very effective bridge. And charts by the band's baritone player, Frank Basile (notably the brisk Morse Code) and his sometime employer Jimmy Heath (Togetherness) underlined the horns' well-tempered nature.
The soloing by these clearly able players didn't always communicate, though, and it was a "stand-in", pianist Ross Stanley whose individual contributions proved the highlight, showing a lovely touch and an inventiveness that married adventure and expression with a real sense of connection to the original theme.