Marco Marzola Trio at Spike’s Place, Beckenham

Graham Thomas saw the London-based Italian bassist lead his trio on tunes including Satin Doll, Caravan, Estate and My Little Suede Shoes

The Marco Marzola trio at Spike's Place in Beckenham, 9 May 2024. Photo © Brian O'Connor

The trio performed a straightahead set of familiar standards, but the quality of their playing kept it sounding fresh, while variety was maintained by including some bossa and and Latin tunes.

They started with There Will Never Be Another You, followed by Jobim’s Meditation. On Satin Doll, Nico Menci played a hard-swinging solo with two-handed piano chords. Marco Marzola provided unflashy but effective bass lines throughout.

On an uptempo Just In Time, Nico varied his piano solo with lines in double octaves, followed by block chords. Alfonso Vitale skilfully employed dynamics in his drum solo, playing complex patterns while taking the volume level right down, then building slowly back up again.

On Green Dolphin Street, Nico Menci showed a humorous touch by sneaking in several quotes from other tunes (for example Four, which he proved fits the first four bars perfectly!)

Throughout the set, Alfonso Vitale played several excellent drum solos, sometimes concentrating on one part of the kit. For example, he played a brushes solo on Speak Low followed by a remarkable hi-hat solo on Caravan, in which he demonstrated all the rhythms and dynamics it was possible to extract from this device!

Fittingly, the ballad number chosen was Estate (Summer) by Italian composer/singer Bruno Martino.

The set concluded with a rousing My Little Suede Shoes, the Charlie Parker Latin chart. Once again, Alfonso Vitale played a wonderful drum solo, imitating a Latin percussion section with his snare off and incorporating stick sounds and rimshots.


Marco Marzola Trio at Spike’s Place, Beckenham, 9 May 2024. Marco Marzola (b); Nico Menci (p); Alfonso Vitale (d).