Courtney Pine Review: Saturday 29th April 2017
Last night I took my first visit to Shoreham’s resident arts centre, The Ropetackle Centre, to see jazz saxophonist Courtney Pine and his troupe of accomplished musicians redefine my understanding of instrumental jazz. The Ropetackle Centre is currently celebrating its tenth anniversary and is in the home stretch of raising the £20k required to help keep the centre up the times and developing great programmes and events for the locals to enjoy. This is the second time that Courtney Pine has played at this venue, and he was quick to tell the audience that he’d had a great time on his last visit and that is why he came back.
“My name is Courtney Pine and I love jazz!”
After an initial technical hiccup, the band left the stage and re-entered creating a polytextural multi-rhythmic collage of sound. Pine introduced himself by saying “My name is Courtney Pine and I love jazz!”, which met with great applause from the audience. The crowd was a mixed one, generally of a certain age, but all with a lot of enthusiasm for the music, which is really what fuels the fire in shows like this. Pine engaged with the audience between songs, creating a real dialogue between himself and everybody else in the room, making each person there feel a part of something bigger – the benefit of intimate shows in comparison to arena tours.
The venue itself is in very good condition and everything seemed how it should be in an arts centre – well-stocked bars, a tidy box office and helpful staff on hand to lead you in the right direction. The performance space is quite modestly sized, but there is still plenty of room for several hundred people standing, and the sound throughout the performance was great, barring the opening mishap.
Pine’s set consisted of a few extended pieces, or perhaps jams/experimentations might be better terminology here. Within the first few minutes, Pine showed the audience the breadth of sounds that could be produced by an expert experimental saxophonist, many of which were a million miles away from what you might be used to hearing in typical jazz venues. Producing a mix of clicks, breaths, high and low sound, wails, toots and far more besides, his performance was captivating from start to finish, with his larger-than-life personality beaming from the stage all night long.
Pine – A Master of Musical Juxtaposition
One thing that really stood out about Pine and his band, aside from their energy and technical abilities (which goes without saying), was their humour and their enjoyment of what they were doing. Pine, in particular, made a lot of musical jokes throughout the set, by playing extracts of everything from well-known songs, jazz classics like ‘Take Five’ and even snippets of nursery rhymes, albeit disguised as a series of tapping/clicking sounds. You could see that there was nowhere else they would have rather been than on stage at The Ropetackle last night, and I am sure that it will not be very long before Courtney Pine will be back again – and I’m confident that most of the audience would return to see it too.
Find out more about upcoming events at The Ropetackle on: