Harry Diplock Trio: And Friends 

London-based guitarist and trio follow Django Reinhardt's example, with variety added by guests including Joe Webb and Giacomo Smith

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There’s no information with this CD, apart from names and instrumentation, about the musicians who play so well throughout. Online posts reveal that Harry Diplock, inspired by Django Reinhardt, has been active in the London club scene over the last decade with a range of swing and gypsy jazz groups, performing at venues such as Ronnie Scott’s, Pizza Express, Torino Jazz Club and 606, besides playing widely in Europe. He is a co-founder of London’s Django Collective organisation, and has hosted and taught guitar in festival workshops.

A bright, upbeat version of Rose Room features, regrettably only for this one track, the jauntily assured and lively piano of first guest Joe Webb. On this, and in the charmingly mellow I’m Confessin’, Harry effectively re-creates, on acoustic guitar with his own spin, some stylistic attributes of Django’s colourful style – fast-fingered, single-string runs, percussive and ringing; energetic rhythmic scrubs and rolls; dramatic dynamics and raunchily creative ideas characterised by his unique musical personality.

Unexpectedly, a piece by J. S. Bach, no less, is blended successfully into jazz style in a captivating arrangement of Erbarme Dich (from St. Matthew’s Passion). This features fluent and articulate improvisation from guest clarinettist Giacomo Smith, impressive also in the upbeat Just One Of Those Things, where he’s matched by a fine guitar solo. Guest violinist Matt Holborn steps confidently into Grappelli’s shoes for a sumptuous I Can’t Get Started, with more fine guitar backing.

The title of The Peacocks (written by jazz pianist Jimmy Rowles) suggests something strutting and showy but this is in fact a slow-burn, brooding piece in a minor key, interpreted in semi-classical style with guest guitarist Kourosh Kanani. It’s sensitively performed, but (at over eight minutes) is by far the longest track on this very short album, taking up close to a quarter of its playing time: perhaps an ideal closing choice to summarise the colourful range of music that preceded it.

Despite this small caveat, I thoroughly recommend this very enjoyable release – especially to Reinhardt fans – for its talented standard of performance, and for its development of good and varied fresh ideas from  some respected and appropriate roots. Copies available, presumably, via Harry.


Discography
Rose Room; Erbarme Dich; I’m Confessin’; Just One Of Those Things; Cefalu; Interlude; Je Ne Sais Pas Dire; I Can’t Get Started; The Peacocks (34.57)
Diplock, Remi Oswald (g); Peter Thomas (b). Guests: Joe Webb (p); Giacomo Smith (cl); Matt Holborn (vn); Kourosh Kanani (g). London, 3 and 4 April 2023.
harrydiplock.co.uk