Edinburgh Jazz Festival

David Patrick Tentet

Festival Theatre Studio

Rob Adams

four stars

DAVID Patrick might not thank me for saying this right at this moment, but the Edinburgh-based pianist should have a look and see if there are any more orchestral works that were premiered in 1913 that might enjoy second lives as jazz pieces.

Following on from his excellent adaptation of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, which he has now recorded and which was reprised as an unlikely appetiser here, Patrick has tackled the Rite’s almost exact contemporary, Debussy’s Jeux, and recast it as a splendid, if anything more natural, swinging jazz ballet.

Adding two German musicians, violinist Max Grosch and Mark Lotz on flutes and piccolo, to the Scottish-German octet that performed the Rite, Patrick skilfully created an impression of greater instrument numbers and gave the piece a strong sense of storyline and momentum through both orchestration and the musicians’ soloing opportunities.

It’s a band replete with personalities, with Lotz providing forceful piccolo in the initial waltz and later taking a marvellously expressive wooden flute solo and the more familiar Tom MacNiven effervescing on trumpet and saxophonist Stewart Forbes, deputising admirably for the indisposed Brian Molley, making every softly singing note count in his tenor ballad sequence.

Being more of an extended waltz, Jeux doesn’t have quite the same attention-grabbing rhythmical bumps as the Rite, but it has much affecting writing, such as the descending figure that Grosch played with beautiful finesse before passing it on to Lotz on piccolo, and its ending, witty and piquant, may not provide the kind of blasting finale favoured by big bands but it was all the more refreshing for that.