Firstly, a spoiler alert! Although reviewed as a single-reed jazz CD, this is not a pure jazz confection. It is, however, a superb example of jazz influenced musicianship of the first order.

The group title “The Dream Band” implies a great deal and which, in fact, it delivers: clarinet playing of Goodman/DeFranco standard, guitar and drumming fluency of Joe Pass/Buddy Rich, outstanding keyboard activity and an overall tendency to swing like mad. In any case this band has been filling the ChickenShed for years with similar programmes which embrace popular rhythms and numbers along with jazz 'standards'. This concert, lasting 78 minutes, carries an interesting variety of material across 10 tracks. Musicians involved are: Julian mainly on clarinet but some tasteful tenor sax on Everything must change, Dominic Ashworth on guitar, Neil Angilley on keyboards, Chris Dodd on bass and Mike Bradley on drums. Guest vocalist, Jacqui Hicks contributes to three ballads: Someday we'll all be free, Falling in love with love and Eveything must change plus vocalese elsewhere.

The outstanding tracks for jazz content are: After you've gone (Julian, Dominic and Mike – all superb), Airmail Special (Julian, plus great 'riffing' behind the drum solo), Pequenita (Julian solo),

The Firefly (a great rock-on number by Neil), L A Sunset (Julian's rock compo and clarinet solo) and

the final track Sweet Georgia Brown (Julian and Dominic solos). The recording quality is excellent for a live concert and which accurately captures the spirit of a live event – so often missing from studio sessions. Recommended most strongly for modern jazz clarinet fans.

Kenneth Morris
Jazz CD Review for “Clarinet & Saxophone” Magazine.
16th July 2020