Jean Toussaint Sextet, Jazz Cafe, London ★★★★★ British jazz has often been enriched by visiting American musicians, who discover to their surprise that the jazz scene over here really is lively, and decide to stay. Tenor sax player Jean Toussaint is one of them. He’s been a genial presence on the UK jazz scene for 30 years, not least as a teacher, and his superb latest album Brother Raymond features more than a dozen of his protégées and colleagues. Last night, only five of them were on stage with him at the Jazz Café for a date on the album tour, but what a wonderful sound they made, uproarious, witty and tightly honed, all at once. The first number, Amabo, had a hectic pattering Calyspo-ish rhythm, a reminder that Toussaint was raised on the Caribbean island of St Thomas before moving to New York. Even more striking was the way he and trumpeter Byron Wallen and trombonist Dennis Rollins evoked the ecstatic three-part melodic weave of New Orleans jazz, before breaking out into invigorating solos. That was one of many signs that Toussaint and his fellow players are steeped in the culture of jazz in its glory days. There was… Read full this story
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