Spiral is a band coming from a multi genre perspective with a sound blending funk, soul, samba, jazz and blues (and a hint of reggae). They have a nice brassy sound and it is their horn dominated front line which pulls them closer to the Jazz end of the spectrum.
Spiral appeared at the CJC on Wednesday 9th April and in deference to a Jazz focussed audience they stretched out on a few numbers. Their big exuberant sound easily dominated the room, with trumpet/flugal player Finn Scholes capturing a lot of attention with his occasional displays of bravura. This is a band of many parts but for the CJC club audience it was the tightly executed high-spirited ensemble playing that they most warmed to. When the band where playing the head arrangements they took the world by the scruff (sorry dog metaphors are hard to shake off this month). They were so familiar with their material after performing around the country that the charts were only given a cursory glance. It was that familiarity that brought the sound together and when a solid groove was called for the band delivered instinctively.
The leader of the band saxophonist, composer Andrew Hall was also the vocalist and most numbers began and ended with a few vocal choruses. He took a number of tenor solos during the night and showed that he was in charge without hogging the limelight. Andrew plays horns and winds but stuck to tenor on this night which gave more heft to the music.
Anthony Hunt was on keyboards and I liked his Jazz voicings. He mostly used a Fender Rhodes sound. He played a very nice Nord Stage and that instrument is capable of delivering anything that a band like this could demand from keys.
Finn Scholes is the player I am most familiar with. His confidence on stage, his ability to introduce various stylistic concepts and his obvious chops make him the stand out. We will be hearing and enjoying his playing for a long time to come I suspect.
Joel Vinsen played a nice Ibanez guitar and he utilised the variety of pedal effects at his disposal tastefully. When the moods of the numbers changed it was his comping or licks that guided the others.
Steve Harvie is a well-known drummer about town and he has played at the CJC before. His drumming is tasteful and not over embellished.
Dave Hodkinson was on electric bass and he knew what his role was and performed convincingly. In a small room an electric bass that is too high in the mix will drown out acoustic instruments. He did not do this and his timing and lines were good.
Alex Berwick joined the band part way through the evening and his trombone added exactly what was needed to the overall sound. He soloed nicely and reinforced the view that I had formed that the horn line were the stars.