…sure-fire way to have us reaching for our coats and heading off to our local jazz club.

Nervy Nigel Records NERVYCD003

Alessio Menconi (guitar); Nigel Price (guitar); Louis Stringer (double bass); Joel Barford (drums)

Recorded March 22nd, 2022

A call to arms, this excellent live album reminds us just why we should be supporting our jazz clubs and musicians by attending as many gigs as possible. Why? Because if you don’t you risk missing out on hearing first hand a top flight band like this quartet, and worse facing the closure of more venues.

In stating the case for attending such establishments, Peggy’s Skylight hosted the Alessio Menconi/Nigel double guitar quartet, and Price thankfully took the opportunity to record the evening’s entertainment. I for one am glad he did so. The quartet are bristling with energy, and the chops to ensure that there is never a dull moment. All that is required is a bunch of great songs, and an audience ready to listen and enjoy the resulting music.

Kicking off with a lovely ‘The Days of Wine and Roses’ the quartet ease into a state of readiness with some fine interplay and solos between the two guitarists. By the following number, ‘Night and Day’, we’re off as the band knock things up a gear or two. Again, the solos are lithe and expressively fluid, but is really fascinating is hearing how the two guitarists support each other effortlessly switching from an accompanying role to soloist and back again.

This trait is evident throughout, and the support from Louis Stringer and Joel Barford is second to none. The interplay between the quartet on Wes Montgomery’s ‘Road Song’ is a sheer delight with the guitarists trading phrases, and sympathetic support from bass and drums. This feeling also pervades the superb reading of ‘Alone Together’ in which Stringer’s contribution on bass deserves a special mention. His timing and choice of notes in impeccable, lifting the piece wonderfully for Alessio Menconi and Nigel Price to thoroughly explore the song in their solos.

After generating such excitement, the quartet bring things back to earth with ‘Body and Soul’ before cranking things up for ‘A Night in Tunisia’. Again, take note of the playing of Stringer and Barford whose drive and empathy keep the music the music moving superbly.

A fitting finale to a cracking night’s work from an excellent band, and sure-fire way to have us reaching for our coats and heading off to our local jazz club.

Reviewed by Nick Lea