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Lunch break concert,
Ben Waghorn & Dave Stapleton

Written by Alan Cooper

reproduced with permission


Lunch break concert, Ben Waghorn & Dave Stapleton

Saturday's Lunch Break Concert was the second in the current series that was done in collaboration with sound and its ongoing Saxfest. It also brought the second sax and piano duo to the Art Gallery/Cowdray Hall complex. Saxophonist Ben Waghorn and Dave Stapleton are both members of the Dave Stapleton Quintet and several of the pieces they played as a duo at the lunchtime concert have been recorded by the complete Quintet, including the Stapleton composition which opened their recital. It is entitled Images. The piano led off revealing Stapleton's gift for strongly compelling melodic material. Ben Waghorn on tenor sax began by shadowing the piano melody but as the momentum of the music built up the sax was soon heading up the runway and taking flight.

Initially I had my doubts as to whether the Centre Court of the Art Gallery would be a good venue for this combination of instruments but I need not have worried, everything sounded just fine.

The duo's second piece was an unnamed improvisation that had the rhythmically infectious influences of Hasidic dance music something that with its soaring sax line chimed in solidly with the improvisational requirements of jazz. It was followed by the first of two jazz standard's, Angel Eyes by the fifties singer, pianist and bandleader Matt Dennis. This was a nice laid-back mainstream jazz performance. Then Cantaloupe Island by ace pianist Herbie Hancock had Ben Waghorn's sax taking flight again over an insistent bossa nova beat on the piano.

Another Dave Stapleton composition Manfred is on the Quintet's CD When Life was in Black and White and is named after the German record producer, bass guitarist and founder of the ECM label Manfred Eicher. This was another of Stapleton's pieces where the Hebraic influence was evident providing a fascinating world music slant present within his compositional style.

Two compositions by Dave Stapleton brought the recital to a close. These were a new nicely relaxed piece as yet untitled and Aquamarine, a very apt title for another beautifully laid-back musical flirtation, this time with blues style music. This appealing recital managed to draw a large audience of attentive and appreciative listeners who clearly enjoyed the performance every bit as much as I did.

Original article reproduced here with kind permission.

events mentioned
  Date Day Time Location Event Details

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1Sat1.00 pmAberdeenBen Waghorn, saxophone & Dave Stapleton, piano