Five Way Split Quintet

Friday 20 Oct 2023


Quentin Collins – trumpet/flugelhorn, Vasilis Xenopoulos – tenor/soprano saxes, Matyas Gayer – piano, Matyas Hofecker – bass, Matt Home – drums.

This Quintet was formed in 2020 to carry on the lineage of groups like Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers as well as mirroring the New York contemporary-bop scene. Their sound respects the traditions of the hard-bop era while updating them for today’s audiences. They certainly achieve this with very imaginative and exciting music that thrilled this audience and will thrill all those who hear it during the rest of their pre-Christmas tour or buy their CD “All The Way”.

The front line is a terrific pairing and receives brilliant support from the trio behind. The usual pianist is Rob Barron but Matyas Gayer slotted into the group as if he’d always been there when, in fact, this was only the second time he’d stood in for Rob.

They began with a tribute to Wayne Shorter, Out of Wayne’s Bag, written by Vasilis, which began with a bright, forceful solo from Quentin which presaged much of what was to come, as did a complex, virtuosic one from Vasilis. Matyas G. impressed and Matyas H. and Matt backed them splendidly (these names are a reviewer’s nightmare!).

One Man’s Dream, made famous in a jazz context by Joe Zawinul, demonstrated how established and coordinated this group is, with a high level of mutal understanding. After stirring solos by Vasilis and Quentin, Matt’s cymbals cushioned a superbly fluid and melodic solo from Matyas H. (whose birthday it was!).

Quentin wrote Asymphonatic during the pandemic lockdown; a gentle intro. led to a wistful and then sparkling solo by Matyas G. over Matt’s latin beat.

Sunday in New York (from the film of the same name) was a more relaxed, extended number with Quentin using his mute and Vasilis sounding uncannily like Cannonball Adderley. This time Matt used his brushes to enhance a very skilled solo from Matyas H.

Benny Green’s Phoebe’s Samba had a brisk intro. before, first Quentin and then Vasilis, gave us scorching solos, both provoking prolonged applause. Matyas G.’s solo matched them, followed by an inventive and very well-structured solo from Matt.

The second half began with the absent Barron’s arrangement of All The Way, a cheerful number that led to Quentin’s Mr Birthday Waltz (not specifically for Matyas H.) on which he switched to flugelhorn and Vasilis to soprano. This was a relatively gentle and melodic number, featuring a solo by Quentin that started with solo bass accompaniment, before it finished with a competitive, frantic free-for-all stoked by Matt!

Vasilis wrote San Sebastian because he liked it so much when he visited there; Matyas G.’s buoyant solo was a highlight. Theme for Ernie was, arguably, the most hard-bop number of the night, ending with beautiful interplay between Vasilis and Quentin (flugelhorn again).  Sam Jones’s Bittersweet was the only true blues number of the evening and was followed, as an encore, by Harold Arlen’s My Shining Hour with “tour de force“ solos from everyone, bringing a terrific evening of top quality jazz - which delighted the enthusiastic audience - to a tumultuous musical conclusion.








Photos from the event

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