Review: Quentin Collins Quintet, Reading

Derek Ansell enjoys two sets by trumpeter Quentin Collins and his quintet at the Progress Theatre, Reading, including music from Monk, Powell, Ellington and Corea

Trumpeter Quentin Collins played two lively sets at the Progress Theatre in Reading last week for Reading Jazz, the local club. Collins plays in an open, brassy manner but is not afraid to use trills, slurs and growls to express himself.

With music by Monk, Powell, Ellington and Corea, most of the bebop heritage was explored in depth with a few contemporary flourishes added in. Embraceable You was presented as a slow ballad feature for pianist Andrew McCormack which he segued into a burgeoning blues featuring the leader in expansive mood. Monk’s Eronel brought out the love of early bop shared by the quartet and there was a well-structured version of Ellington’s Prelude To A Kiss. Driftin’ was a composition by Herbie Hancock and it gave Collins the opportunity to fashion a tasty solo in the hard bop style.

Throughout this recital the work of keyboard player McCormack was essential to the overall success of the group, both in his comping and solo efforts. The bass of Tom Farmer was accurate, providing a solid pulse throughout and drummer Enzo Zirelli was lively in support, driving the band and giving occasional solo bursts.

Collins is a very busy trumpeter, playing in a variety of musical styles, including backing Prince, Girls Aloud, Kyle Eastwood and Engelbert Humperdink. It was easy to see and hear, however, that his first love is jazz, specifically bop and hard bop. Maybe it doesn’t pay all the bills but he probably enjoys playing it more than anything else.

Photo by Darren Garish

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