US saxophonist Dick Oatts is currently visiting NZ and in Auckland he has been working with the New Zealand School of Music at the Albany Campus of Massey University. On Thursday evening the School presented him in a concert playing to a small audience with the re-constituted Phil Broadhurst Trio (Phil on Piano, Alberto Santorelli on bass and Frank Gibson Jr on drums).
I had been aware of Dick’s reputation in the New York big band context and had seen him a few years ago during a visit to NYC as part of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra which is the feature act at the Village Vanguard most Monday nights but I was intrigued to see him in a combo setting.
I have to say that the performance exceeded my expectations – the group really gelled and Dick showed his versatility on the alto with an energetic and adventurous performance extending the group and featuring many of his own compositions which had the group really cooking. Phil was in great form as always as were Alberto and Frank with whom Dick seemed to have a particularly close affinity. Always good to get out and hear live jazz in a relatively intimate setting.