Tim Kliphuis Trio, Kendal Town Hall

A COUPLE of seasons ago the internationally-renowned Tim Kliphuis Trio was a guest of the Kendal Midday Concert Club. On that occasion the trio “wowed the venerable members” of the club with “one of its characteristic electrifying performances.” I have to tell you now (Neville Chamberlain, 1939!) that the by now considerably more venerable members were recently again dazzled by the magnificence of the jazz-inspired musicianship on show. Tim Kliphuis (violin), Nigel Clark (guitar) and Roy Percy (bass) - all of world-renown in their specialist fields - are undergoing their trio’s 10th anniversary tour. From the outset of this concert it was clear that we were to have the privilege of witnessing a display of technical virtuosity, imaginative improvisations and impeccable musical style that would illuminate the trio’s personal view of the music of, among others, Vivaldi, Fauré, Grapelli, Copland, Édith Piaf and Richard Strauss.

There were so many features to admire: Tim Kliphuis, a fine raconteur with an attractive sense of humour, guided us entertainingly through the performances, all of which were heavily influenced by his musical intelligence and expertise. Seductive tone, stunning improvisatory powers, remarkable technical dexterity - all were there in profusion, as was, of course, his sure rhythmic security, his command of dynamic levels and his overall control of ensemble balance. Nigel Clark’s contribution is equally commanding. With seemingly effortless artistry he constantly beguiled with his wide range of technical deftness, his improvising skills and his ability to move smoothly from an accompanying mode into that of the soloist. Roy Percy - an exemplary jazz bassist, if ever there was one - constantly caught the attention with his discrete (but telling) support for all textures, his discerning solo contributions and (just like that of his colleagues) his cool, laid-back demeanour.

Rapturous final applause led to the most perfect of encores: a tasteful, utterly exquisite arrangement of Richard Strauss’s song, Morgen. “Tomorrow the sun will shine,” it relates. It certainly did today.

Brian Paynes