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Jazz at The Hive








It was an outstanding night with a very appreciative audience filling the Hive.


Here is a review from one of the audience




In a fantastic fusion of music and photography the audience were wowed by
the Tommaso Starace Quartet in the latest presentation by Shrewsbury Jazz
Network at The Hive.

The photographs of Italian, Gianni Berengo Gardin, proved brilliant
touch-paper for a warm-hearted musical jazz fire, sometimes roaring,
sometimes contentedly glowing. Entitled ‘Italian Short Stories’, the
pictures had been carefully selected to inspire contrasting resonances and
moods but they were masterfully arranged into a satisfying whole.
Programming is a distinct skill, often not properly applied and it was
thoughtfully accomplished here.

Lovers, dancers, kissing sheep, spinning roundabouts, masked children
playing and open countryside were among the chosen images. The writer’s
favourite combinations were ‘The Bubble Vendor’ and ‘Jamme’; the photo in
the latter, a Neapolitan family aboard a motorbike, the driver - a small

The former provoked a steady stream of conjoined notes played on the higher
octaves of the keyboard overlaid by fizzes of notes from the higher register
saxophone; an airily, gentle, bubble-like effect. ‘Jamme’ was a pleasingly
angular cacophony with speedy rifts, sudden halts, accented off-beat
dissonances from all quarters and some marvellously ‘skiddy’ playing,
especially from Tommaso. The portrayal of jeopardy in the motorbike ride
through Naples’ busy streets elicited great sparking between band members and
a very enthusiastic audience response.

Helped by the projection of the images behind the band, everything was
accessible and would have appealed to folk, rock and classical music lovers
as well as jazz buffs. One felt immediately at ease with each number but
still sufficiently challenged. This was a reflection on the composer’s
ability to cleverly draw the listener into a more complex arena. No doubt,
everyone had a different favourite, an endorsement on the class and range of
this band. The audience was in turn, energised, moved and amused. Many
went home clutching a signed cd.

The players were the stars of the show, empathising as a whole rather than
as ‘turns’ against a background, weaving their magic with great expressivity
and fronted with inimitable style by Tommaso. They clearly enjoyed their
experience and they were loved back.

The Shewsbury Jazz Network should be loud and proud of its presentations and
The Hive for its support, ambiance and great acoustic. The Wild Flower
Sextet play next there for SJN on 17th January, featuring the award winning
trumpeter Laura Jurd. This should be another exciting evening.