Concert Review – Theo Travis Quartet

Theo Travis Quartet – December 20th 2002

The ghosts of John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and Miles Davies were invoked when Theo Travis returned with his talented quartet to Lichfield’s Guildhall.

The audience made up with enthusiasm what they lacked in size when the band began the concert with the funky ‘Fort Dunlop’. The tour was to promote the band’s latest musical project, ‘Heart of the Sun’ which was received with critical acclaim.

As well as playing material from this album, the audience was treated to music from the band’s other records and some carefully chosen cover versions. These included a rambunctious re-casting of King Crimson’s ’20th Century Schizoid Man’ as a workout for Jazz Quartet, with unison riffs, and Marc Parnell’s superb drum solo threatening to bring the house down.

Theo, who played Tenor Sax, as well as flute was more than ably assisted by drummer Marc Parnell, double bassist Andy Hamil, and up and coming jazz star, Phil Peskett on piano. They all played superbly, with the setting of the Guildhall providing the ideal acoustic environment for their mostly acoustic music.

During their second set, Theo Travis played more of a split between flute and Tenor Sax, and the new setting for Pink Floyd’s ‘See Emily Play’ was an inspired arrangement. The two pieces that were played on solo flute, with digital delay providing the backing were also highlights.

The band finished the second set with a track from ‘Heart of the Sun’ – ‘Fast Life’ which was superb. The piece gave bassist Andy Hamill the chance to play a solo which was a perfect balance of melody and technique. In contrast, Marc Parnell played a drum solo that was even more daring and fluid than the music he played during ’20th Century Schizoid Man’.

Encoring with a slow ballad, the band provided the perfect ending to a concert which was worth an evening of anyone’s life.

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