Review: Rhythm Zoo – Alexander’s Chester – 28 Jan 2010

Posted on: Tuesday, Feb 2, 2010

Rhythm Zoo - Alexanders Chester

RHYTHM ZOO

Alexander’s, Rufus Court, Chester: 28.01.10

The Shropshire / Cheshire based blues five piece, Rhythm Zoo, appeared at Alexander’s after having their original date postponed due to the snow, and delivered two fine sets of quality blues covers, with enough variation to keep things interesting.

The band consist of Andi Harrison (vocals), Steve Alden (guitar), Dave Wilmore (bass), Dave Roberts (tenor and baritone saxophone) and Dermot Hall (drums), and have been steadily increasingly their profile with constant gigging, mainly in the North West area – with a date at the prestigious Nantwich Jazz & Blues Festival lined up.

Andi Harrison is a very nice singer, with a lovely controlled voice, never having to resort to any vocal histrionics – it was just a little surprising that the band don’t do more songs by female artists – however among the highlights were a nice jazzy take on Madeline Peyroux’s “Don’t Wait Too Long”, and a gospel-flavoured Shemekia Copeland song, “Whole Lotta Water”.

Her main foil in the band is guitarist Steve Alden, whose playing was of the highest quality, with great tone – to my ears influenced by Brit greats such as Eric Clapton and Peter Green – with a great “Rollin’ Man”, fine slide on “Shake Your Moneymaker” and “Dust My Broom”, and a rollicking “Key To Love”, off the legendary John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers album with Eric Clapton.

The band’s other main soloist is saxophone player, Dave Roberts, the Liverpool-born, Chester-based jazz man has played in many different styles over the years, and also leads his own modern jazz quartet. His sax fills and solos, both on tenor and baritone, were prominent, with Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man” – the band’s spotlight without Andi – being excellent.

The tight, but unfussy rhythm section of Dave Wilmore on bass, and Dermot Hall on drums, drove things along nicely to complement the other three musicians.

Other standouts on the night were a new song for the band, “Leap Of Faith”, associated with Chicago legend Etta James; a rousing “The Blues Is Alright”, from the late, great Little Milton; and an original composition, “Hook, Line And Sinker” – the title of the band’s new five-track mini-album.

With plenty of gigs coming up, and more original songs to be brought into the live shows, and the talent at their disposal, the stock of Rhythm Zoo seems set to rise – catch them if you can!

GRAHAME RHODES

www.rhythm-zoo.com

Rhythm Zoo - Alexanders Chester

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