Chris Ingham Quartet: Dudley

The Other Palace, Palace Street, Westminster, 27 June 2019


This was the fourth of five concerts playing the last Thursday of the month at The Other Palace, the brainchild of Chris Ingham who features in all of them with his quartet. In the first three concerts the focus was on instrumentalists and/or vocalists, leaving Chris to do little more than serve as accompanist but now at last in a concert featuring the compositions of Dudley Moore Chris got to flaunt his not inconsiderable chops at the keyboard aided and abetted by George Double on drums, Geoff Gascoyne, bass and Paul Higgs on trumpet and flugelhorn.

Chris is of the opinion, and passionately so, that Dudley Moore’s comedic and acting talents greatly overshadowed his skill as both a composer and pianist, and his Dudley concerts – he has played the show several times across the country and issued a CD featuring the same players – have been an attempt to restore Moore to what Chris sees as his proper place in jazz.

Many, if not indeed all, of these highly original compositions – Poova Nova, Cornfield, A Sad One For George, Amalgam – are virtually unknown to today’s audiences but then that is exactly the point Chris is making. Having heard them performed lovingly by this gifted quartet the only possible conclusion is that they are well worth hearing and re-hearing, running the gamut as they do from manic to melancholic.

As a film buff I am certainly familiar with titles like Thirty Is A Dangerous Age, Cynthia and Bedazzled, both of which featured Dudley Moore the actor but I can’t honestly say with hand on heart that I recall the scores he composed for these films, nor, if it comes to that, the theme tune of Not Only But Also, the cult television series that featured Moore and Peter Cook. Other titles were Waterloo, Waltz For Suzy (composed for Moore’s first wife Suzy Kendall, whom he never really got over), and Dudley Dull.

It was clear that the quartet had spent hours woodshedding and equally clear that it was a labour of love on all their parts. As someone who has attended – and reviewed for JJ – all three previous concerts in this series it was a particular pleasure to hear Chris in full spate as he showed yet again he is up there with the cream of UK pianists. This is not to overlook the other three who all contributed equally to a memorable evening.

Chris Ingham Quartet: Dudley. The Other Palace, Palace Street, Westminster, 27 June 2019.