Joachim Caffonnette Trio and Sextet
The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh
Friday 12 July 2019
Today the 2019 Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival opened with a joyful melange of wonderful jazz and blues drawn from both locally and overseas. Of the 13 events taking place from this afternoon at various venues throughout the city, this reviewer, mindful of the great success of last February’s ‘Thrill’ festival of Belgian jazz here in Edinburgh, headed straight for The Jazz Bar where youthful Belgian band The Joachim Caffonnette Trio (JCT) was playing. Pianist Joachim Caffonnette, with colleagues Alex Gilson (double bass) and Jean-Baptiste Pinot (drums) are currently attracting attention in Europe for their arresting and intelligent sound. An added attraction tonight was their being joined on stage for the second half, by a trio of young Scottish brass players led by tenor saxophonist Michael Butcher.
Tonight the JCT played a first set consisting of three of Caffonnette’s tunes, sandwiched between Jerome Kern standard, ‘Long Ago And Far Away’ and The Beatles ‘Hey Jude’. The latter was one of the most appealing covers of the Beatles tune that this reviewer has ever heard, indeed the entire set evidenced Caffonnette’s obvious strengths in fluid harmonic changes, whilst managing to avoid the risk of distracting from the beautiful melodies.
The second half consisted of the trio presenting four more of Caffonnette’s compositions, with felicitous and exuberant augmentation by tenor saxman Michael Butcher, Matt Gough on flugelhorn and Richard Leonard on trombone. The fuller sound worked very well, the Belgian trio seeming to immediately gain in confidence as well as in volume. Indeed the overall sound might be characterised as smokin’. Bravo, all.
It is to be hoped this trio, and trans-national sextet, might make future appearances at this festival.
There will be an overview of many of this year’s Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival’s highlights on Jazzwise magazine’s website, at the end of the festival.