Live Review: SCuba. Piccolo, George Square, Edinburgh. Sunday 17 July 2022

This energetic, new-to-Scottish Jazz Space quintet certainly raised Edinburgh’s already semi-tropical temperatures further, with their scorching Latin jazz sounds at Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival’s Piccolo venue last Sunday evening.

Despite being programmed for the same slot as Soweto Kinch who was playing close-by, a decent-sized crowd did themselves a favour in showing up to hear these highly talented Angus-based jazzers.

Led by percussionist Ricky Linn, sax and flute player Paul Greenwood (who interestingly has played with The Cinematic Orchestra) was front-stage, with strong support from pianist Richard Bailey, drummer Paul Judge and double bass player Seth Bennett. Whilst appearing to lack confidence slightly at the beginning (a very listening audience may feed in to this), one felt that any diffidence was needless as their jazz chops were immediately evident.

Greenwood in centre stage was the first to impress, then Linn whose tabla playing (perhaps due to its relative rarity here in Edinburgh) was particularly striking. Bassist Bennett had several spells in the solo spotlight and one might have wished to hear more from Bailey and Judge, both of whose briefer solos spoke to this listener of hidden depths.

While the largely Cuban-style tunes were expertly executed and of course infectiously uplifting, some of the slower, more spacious and atmospheric passages held especial appeal.

One might have enjoyed a little more ‘stage patter’, yet this is easy to develop with increased gigging experience, and on the basis of this festival showing, venues would do well to book up SCuba quick-smart.



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