Beats & Pieces shun ‘Big Band’ associations of nostalgia swinging crooners in favour of a more literal interpretation: they’re a band with rather a few members that take up quite a lot of space.  Their ‘big’ sound isn’t a regiment of saxophones in harmonic uniformity but a composite of their various musical backgrounds that combine to make something brand new.

Crumpled t-shirts and jeans trumped crisply pressed dinner jackets as Ben Cottrell’s ensemble started Love Supreme’s Sunday line up.  Their huge wall of sound might initially have been a struggle for those still feeling tender after Giles Peterson kept them glued to the dance floor until 2 a.m. the night before: Cottrell acknowledged that not many jazz gigs open with a welcome of ‘good morning’.

Richard Jones set down a cascading waterfall pattern on the Rhodes for ‘Rain’, whilst the rest of the band brewed up a thunderstorm of grooves and horn harmonies.  Blistering solos from Ollie Dover (alto sax) and Finlay Panter (drums) kicked the clouds away and ripped blazing hot sunshine into the proceedings.  Their cover of Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’ highlighted the strength of Cottrell’s arranging skill, lifting it from a tribute to a funk of its own that grooved hard.

The traditionalists might have been listening to Ray Gelato and Claire Martin swinging on the main stage, but Beats & Pieces proved that whilst the Big Band may have been born in the late 1920s it will be carried in creative hands through to the 2020s and beyond.

Read all of our reviews from Love Supreme here.

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