From double bass to steel drums

Mick Hutton and Friends, The Bell, Clare, Sunday, July 27. FOR a good ten years Mick Hutton built up a tremendous reputation as a superb double bass player and he in regular demand to play for the world's top musicians.

Mick Hutton and Friends, The Bell, Clare, Sunday, July 27.

FOR a good ten years Mick Hutton built up a tremendous reputation as a superb double bass player and he in regular demand to play for the world's top musicians.

He was at the height of his career some six years ago when he slip on a staircase and damaged his hand ligaments to such an extent that it brought a premature end to his career in music.

Or so it seemed.


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But Mick had other ideas and he has re-invented himself as an accomplished performer on the steel pans, so often seen in a Caribbean setting.

And so his guest appearance at the fortnightly Jazznights gig at The Bell at Clare turned out to be a rare treat for those fortunate enough to be there.

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The warm sounds of the steel pans on a pleasant summer evening made it quite an occasion to remember. . . just close your eyes and soak up the music and you could be lying on a beach in Trinidad.

It wasn't all reggae, mind you, but there was plenty of Latin inspired jazz on offer and, after all there are not many jazz inspired steel pan musicians around these days. . . quite a treat really.

Meeting up with fellow jazzmen like young Carl Hudson on the keys and Alex Best on the drums with veteran Bernie Hodgkins on double bass to stop things from running completely away, it was, at times, literally "off the hoof" stuff which is, in the final analysis, what jazz should be all about.

With Mick leading the way the launched the evening with a lively version of Samba Dorfe' and followed it up with a beautifully melodic arrangement of We'll Be Together Again.

By now things were really buzzing and some familiar compositions by the likes of Duke Ellington, Herbie Hancock and Charlie Mingus produced some cracking solos from all three members of the trio and by the time they got around to playing the familiar Dindi by Antonio Carlos Jobim, the evening was complete for most of the enthusiastic audience and they bayed for an encore and got one in the shape of the hugely popular swinger Caravan.

Mick Hutton was a familiar face on the East Anglian jazz scene for many years, and he is now extremely active in the Colchester area and, on this showing, there's no reason why he should not be highly familiar again, this time on the steel pans.

Alan Crumpton

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