MO FOSTER & FRIENDS
The London Bass Guitar Show, London Olympia — 4th March 2018
Journalist Andy Rawll — view from front-left seat.
This session legend, and one-time Jeff Beck cohort, has thumbed his golden address book to assemble a sextet of undoubted virtuosity, including Ray Russell, Nic France, Chris Biscoe, Jim Watson and Corrina Silvester. This is a righteous celebration of the music of major jazz composers, such as Gil Evans, Jaco Pastorius, Michael Gibbs, and John Lewis, delivered with style and substance.
The thrill of Gil's arrangement of Gershwin's timeless 'Gone, Gone, Gone', from his hallowed collaboration with Miles Davis, is perfectly realised, as this funereal lament is brought to life, through a series of thrillingly evocative solos, including the exceptional brass of Biscoe.
Having played on the studio original on Gibbs' 1970 debut, Ray reprises his Mahavishnu-style solo on 'Some Echoes' with angular ferocity, while Mo pumps up Jack Bruce's original pounding bass-line. This provides a timely warm-up for his own ironically titled composition 'Oh No', such is the maelstrom of sixteenth notes and neck-breaking runs that only a player of Foster's pedigree would contemplate writing, let alone perform live — literally, from gone to gonzo.
The set closes with a liberating take on Eddie Harris' 'Freedom Jazz Dance' with Nic providing more shuffle and groove than you can shake a drumstick at, enhanced immeasurably by Corrina's percussive flair, while Jim's sparkling keys dance and shimmy in the foreground. As solos reach a crescendo and the rhythm accelerates, the euphoria of the shared experience between the players and audience is palpable.