Thank you Oriel College

One of the delights of living in Oxford is the diversity of musical life and happening upon unexpected concerts. I just spotted a poster while I was wandering about earlier in the week to inform me that Tim Garlandtimg, Jason Rebello and Ant Law would be playing a trio concert last night at the Holywell Music Room. Tim turns out to be this year’s musician in residence at Oriel – fantastic idea to have someone of his experience and creativity working with students – and he was rounding off a series of masterclasses with this concert. Tim’s always worked well in the trio format as it gives him enough space for really extended solos, but plenty of opportunity to interact with his partners and allow them to shine as well. Years ago he played with Storms / Nocturnes (Joe Locke and Geoff Keezer) at this same venue, and he’s also played locally in Dorchester Abbey with Acoustic Triangle. The current trio made similarly effective use of the live acoustic offered by the Holywell (as resonant as Dorchester, but with central heating, which was better for the audience) and the haunting Tyne Song, with a bravura outing for Jason at its core, conjured up boats moving in fog, misty echoes, and churning propellors in the murky waters. There were old favourites (Rosa Ballerina, Blues for Little Joe) and new music from “Songs To The North Sky” I’d last heard Tim playing some of the material from that double album with the Northern Sinfonia at Gateshead, but the more intimate, chamber jazz side of the album was excellently represented here. The hour and a half set zipped by, its unexpected, far-too-soon ending seeming to catch the band out as well as us. Fortunately there was time for an encore of a really new piece “Bright New Year” which has Tim’s soprano skirling through its entire range, a tour-de-force solo from Jason (who played out of his skin – rejoicing in the Holywell’s marvellous Steinway), and plangent twelve-string guitar from Ant. A real treat on an evening when spring seemed to be in the air, not just in the stones of Oxford’s medieval heart, but in this jubilant, enjoyable music as well.