A new release taken from a series of gigs giving a unique insight into the playing of a world class saxophone player and the quartet featuring Mark Edwards, Andrew Cleyndert and Spike Wells. Bobby Wellins is playing better than ever.
FIVE STAR REVIEW FROM THE IRISH TIMES:
Wellins, all bruised, wary vulnerability, full of touching grace and lyricism, is unique among tenors. With an oblique way of building a solo quite unlike anyone else, his freedom with line and rhythm allows him to stay connected to the material without being bound by it.
Backed by a gripping working band in Mark Edwards (piano), Andy Cleyndert (bass) and Spike Wells (drums), he's in prime form on this collection of live performances from the past year. The wry, laconic statements of My Funny Valentine , Caravan , a glorious Old Folks and a buoyant Favela and Love For Sale are the work of a master - individual, illuminating and respectful.
But he flourishes in the security of a rhythm section alive not just to every nuance of his own playing, but also a worthy trio in its own right. And Wellins proves, again, that originality doesn't depend on style.
John Fordham: The Guardian
The evergreen Scottish tenor saxophonist Bobby Wellins, a pro since the mid-1950s, is living proof of the validity of several unfashionable jazz theories: that straight delivery of the standards repertoire can sound new; that less is more; and that early abandonment of the starting theme can hold the audience if the lyrical sense of the improviser is up to it. Wellins has strong affinities with the eloquent reserve of Stan Getz, and his long partnership with pianist Stan Tracey nurtured an improvising style that elevates insinuation over declaration. This is a selection of Wellins's UK live shows over the past couple of years (with, it has to be said, variable quality in the pianos). He is accompanied by his excellent regular group featuring the wayward yet fluent pianist Mark Edwards, bassist Andy Cleyndert and drummer Spike Wells. A brisk, oblique Caravan, a smokily phlegmatic Old Folks, a breezy account of Love for Sale (with a classic Wellins expansion of the solo from downward-sliding phrases and shrugging blurts to flying runs over Edwards' pumping chords) and a driving Dizzy's Blues make it almost as good as being at a Wellins gig.
Bobby Welliins: Snapshot (Trio Records)
A couple of notes from Bobby Wellins and as a listener you are sold – it’s the tone that does it, that and the natural line he plays, whether it’s the melody itself of My Funny Valentine or way on into an improvisation on it. It’s as clear as conversation, as wise, dry, funny or suddenly serious as the stories of a man who has seen a lot of life in his time and is still singing the praises of it all.
This disc is taken from various concerts with Wellins’ regular band of Mark Edwards on piano, Andrew Cleyndert on bass and Spike Wells on drums.
Ellington, Jobim, Cole Porter. Willard Robinson’s Old Folks, and a blues of Bobby’s complete the set list, the band is as relaxed and familiar with each other as any you’ll find, and Edwards is an especially bright and more excitable foil to Wellins’ darker, more considered playing.
Bobby was bringing musical delight to our ears back in 1965 with Stan Tracey on Under Milkwood – he’s still doing it, and doing it with more depth in 2008.