London’s famed Jazz @ Pizza Express, located in the basement of, surprise, a Soho Pizza Express, was host to the legendary Chris Ingham’s REBOP Wednesday night, giving me my first ever taste of authentic jazz. What a brilliant sextet to begin with; consisting of a pianist, double bass, drummer, two saxophone players and a trumpet player. With a group this talented it’s not difficult to continue the legacy of Blue Note Records through 2 45 minute sets.
Jazz can be intimidating for any outsiders like myself, my only ‘jazz’ experience has been through Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, a large group who attained YouTube fame by covering popular songs of today in the style of yesteryear. Whilst I and 3 million others love this, I’m sure many die-hard jazz fans would not. However, Chris made this genre accessible for all- prior to beginning each track he would give the waiting audience a little of its history, who wrote it, when, why it’s a famed track that deserves the honour of being played in a 4-decade old club that embodies London’s enduring jazz scene.
Something I couldn’t stop focusing on was the delicacy and intricacy of the tiny movements made by the brass players at such high speeds to keep the music flowing, not once did they stumble, not once were they out of sync – Chris Ingham’s REBOP are something to marvel. A jazz drummer’s playing is vastly different to that of any drummer I’m accustomed to, mainly the pace and fluidity of his movements and the sounds he made with an instrument oft used, and known, for its loud thwump.
As a gig reviewer, you learn oft to judge a band by its audience. They’re usually who know them best, who know their highs, lows and anything in-between. Basing off of the thunderous applause and grins from cheek to cheek, REBOP hit it out of the park. I, as an unseasoned jazz listener, really enjoyed the evening, with my personal favourite being the upbeat ‘Dolphin Dance’ finishing the first set.
Both sets were consistently impressive, with various tracks giving each member of the sextet time to shine, even the double bass hidden in the back whose notes were oft buried beneath the booming brass. The night was rounded off with a large cacophony from all 6 members, likely leaving many restaurant goers above confused, though hopefully they enjoyed what bled through!
Whether you’re new to jazz or a complete veteran, Chris Ingham’s REBOP are for you. Jazz @ Pizza Express welcomes those seasoned and not, plus you can have pizza whilst watching live music, what’s not to like? Pizza Express is expanding upon its live venues, with another opening in Holborn, London later this year, kicking off with a Latin festival, make sure you’re there!