Sam Braysher Quartet at Spike’s Place in Beckenham

Graham Thomas heard the altoist's quartet on top form on standards including My Little Suede Shoes (with hand-drum solo) and One Note Samba

Sam Braysher Quartet at Spike's Place, Club Langley, Beckenham, Kent, 14 March 2024. Clockwise from top left - Sam Braysher, Alex Bryson, Steve Brown, Dave Green. Photo © Brian O'Connor

Sam Braysher was billed to appear with his quartet at Spike’s Place in Beckenham, but owing to a fault with Alex Bryson’s keyboard, for the first few tunes this was reduced to a trio, while Alex went in search of a replacement keyboard.  However the trio format had the advantage of creating space for Sam’s alto sax to come to the fore, with support from Dave Green on bass and Steve Brown on drums.

Sam had an attractively cool tone on the alto and played long, melodic lines which brought out the harmonies of the tunes very clearly.  He featured some interesting and less well-known tunes from the American songbook, such as the ballad A Sinner Kissed An Angel (sung by Sinatra with the Tommy Dorsey band – Sam read out the romantic lyrics for this one!) and Some Other Spring (written for Billie Holiday by pianist Irene Kitchings).

Alex Bryson eventually reappeared with another keyboard (supplied by singer Jo Harrop), quickly set it up, and soon showed he was an excellent accompanist as well as a fluent and exciting soloist.

Charlie Parker’s My Little Suede Shoes featured Steve Brown playing a dramatic Caribbean-style drum solo entirely with his hands, while Dave Green played bass with his usual warm tone and excellent lines throughout.

Sam ended the gig with an uptempo rendition of One Note Samba, a great finish to the evening with everyone playing at the top of their game.

Sam Braysher Quartet at Spike’s Place, Club Langley, Beckenham, Kent, 14 March 2024