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Chris Garrick

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Reviews of Chris Garrick

 

09/06/2001 Nick Jones, Leicester International Music Festival

Jazz violin may be unusual, but you can overstress its rarity. Although Christian Garrick plays in a way impossible on any other instrument - the range of attack, the variations in tone, the frequent use of harmonics - this is no novelty act. In the third number - a Garrick original called Rigarda - the real character of the band became apparent. Moving fluently from unison piano and violin, through a subdued middle section and chorale to a theme that could have come from a 70s prog rock outfit, this sounded like a statement of intent.

This is a band that can play anything they like, and make it work. They have their trademarks - drummer Tom Hooper's boiling polyrhythms, a fondness for jagged ostinati and glorious, rhapsodic climaxes - but it is the way they make a range of music their own that is so impressive. There is nothing prissy or stuffy about this playing, as they segue into a deconstruction of the theme from Un Homme et Une Femme.

Although Garrick is centre stage, the players demonstrate an ensemble that reflects the best chamber music, but has a rock band's sense of drama.

Garrick, Hooper, bass player Jeremy Brown and pianist David Gordon seem willing to do anything to make the music work - witness Garrick's excursion into vocals on Change Partners. While their influences are apparent -a hint of Django Bates, a whiff of Jarrett, perhaps a little Marc Johnson - this is a band with a very individual voice.

A lovely evening, that reminds me why I go to hear live music.

 

07/07/2000 David Wakefield, Norfolk & Norwich Festival

MASTER OF JAZZ VIOLIN

Britain has, to my knowledge, never had a world-class jazz violinist; but it has now. While other string players have dabbled in jazz, with a nod in the general direction of Stephane Grappelli, this young man is making waves in the jazz world by doing his own thing. And if you want a french connection, his leaning is far more towards the more maverick tendencies of Jean Luc Ponty.

But let's leave the comparisons aside. Christian Garrick is a musician who embraces all facets of the violin, using its considerable dynamics and tonal qualities to embellish his music. Given excellent backing by his trio, Dave Gordon (piano and keyboards), Jeremy Brown (double bass) and Tom Hooper (drums), Garrick served up a feast of music that was as entertaining as it was varied.

Starting with a gently swinging version of the old standard I Remember You, he moved on to the startingly-brash John Taylor composition Coffee Time before moving on to John Dankworth's latin-tinged Double Six Blues. The highlight was a blistering version of Chick Corea's Armando's Rhumba.

 

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