There is a stark dichotomy in jazz today. I’m not referring to the differences between traditional jazz and the extremes of modern jazz – in itself anathema to many – but rather to the ageing old school of bands and fans and a newly emerging generation of
younger bands and fans.
I sense in a minority of older fans and even musicians a begrudging reluctance to accept that the new generation bands are every bit as vivacious and talented as their predecessors. What’s more, they are having to reclaim lost ground and attract a whole new, younger generation of jazz fans. This may require some diversification in the music they play, but in the main they stick not just to the jazz of the 1950s and 60s but also to the origins of New Orleans Revivalist Jazz. They deserve to succeed and they are succeeding.
One such band is the Adrian Cox Quartet
I first met Adrian in 2009 at The Ken Colyer Trust Autumn Jazz Parade in Hemsby, Norfolk, when he was a mere 25 year old stripling. By then he had already been playing clarinet for the best part of a decade with a strong leaning to New Orleans Jazz.
I’ve since met up with him at Hemsby twice more and have taken in his gigs with TJ Johnson at The Crypt, Trafalgar Square. Earlier this year I was privileged to see him playing with The Martyn Brothers Band at The 100 Club where he duetted brilliantly with the great Sammy Rimington on sax and clarinet.
A Masterful Clarinet and Sax Maestro
Since launching his Quartet, Adrian has been acclaimed as “a masterful New Orleans style clarinet and sax maestro” and billed as “London’s most charismatic clarinet/sax player.” Watch out too for his “easy jazz vocals”!
Over the years I’ve taken a good many photos of Adrian in action and some of them have found their way onto Google Images via Jazz&Jazz. Last Tuesday, 23rd July, along with my wife Ginny and close friend Brian Smith, aka “Smiffy”, of the Welwyn Garden City Peartree Jazz Club, I was treated to a another brilliant Adrian session at The Botany Bay Jazz Club, Enfield. This was my first opportunity to photograph Adrian with his Quartet, or as it was on the night, Quintet.
Burgundy Street Blues
After the break Adrian played a George Lewis number. Then I wondered if he would dare to tackle that epitome of New Orleans Jazz, George Lewis’s “Burgundy Street Blues”. He did! It was his very next number, performed to hushed silence and followed by rapturous applause.
Thank you, Botany Bay Jazz Club, for allowing us to join you for a wonderful evening of jazz and swing.
You can keep up with Adrian’s Tour Dates at Ents 24.
(Photos © Peter M Butler, Jazz&Jazz)