Quentin Collins/Brandon Allen quartet with Antonio Forcione Watermill Jazz, Friends Life Social Club, Dorking

By Mark Youll | 24th June, 2012 | gig reviews, reviews |

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Without losing their grip on the bop-like gymnastics that cut clean through Allen's opener 'What's It Gonna Be', and into the equally busy but breakneck 'Fuerteventura', this stellar unit - fired by the ever- inspired Enzo Zirelli on drums, and the punctuating, sludge-funk organ of Ross Stanley - served up a cocktail of world rhythms that rightly resonated with this packed-out house.

Undoubtedly a show at the hands of the band’s guest guitarist Forcione, and unveiling a set largely lent from the deep catalogue of this charismatic virtuoso, Allen and Collins’ respective sax and trumpet input only magnified the native timbre ever-present in the arrangements. The Moroccan feel fit for ‘Gypsy Dreams’ would hear Collins briefly banish his Hubbard-like licks in favour of faint flugel textures.

Typically ambient here, but punchy when contending with Forcione’s raw, and often aggressive finger-style, declared a din almost akin to one Zirelli would later make, exhausting every bit of his kit to flatter a flamenco-flavoured guitar solo ‘Tears of Joy’. At the heart of this tireless set – that would also announce some serious big band chops to honour Mancini, a languid samba for Mandela, and Zirelli borrowing breaks from the JBs to order the horn and Hammond solos carving up the coda of ‘Maurizio’s Party’ – revealed a couple of cool customers in Allen and Collins. A dynamic duo at the height of their game, leaving their audience overly-content but confused as to why this finely-fused collective don’t map out a regular future together.

Mark Youll
Originally published in Jazzwise Magazine, July issue 2012.