There could have been no better offer of a place to be than with the Tim Kliphuis Jazz Trio at the Courtenay Centre Newton Abbot last Friday. Very fitting that in front of a near capacity audience Newton Abbot's mayor, councillor Mike Ryan, presented a cheque for £600 to nadsaconcerts.
The Stephane Grappelli-inspired Tim took us gently into what became a jaunty 'Tea for Two' that gave way to an impressive feature by Nigel Clark on guitar and later gave us our first experience of Roy Percy's percussive use of his bass. It was then Nigel's turn to introduce us to Hoagy Carmichael's 'The Nearness of You' where there was superb subtlety and balance between violin and guitar.
Stephane Grappelli's advice to play what you like, as opposed to his direct musical influence on Tim Kliphuis, burst upon us with the Trio's version of Vivaldi’s 'Four Seasons'. An insistent, even threatening, bass line was the prelude to Vivaldi as I had never heard him interpreted and improvised before.
After Tim, a Dutchman, had introduced us to Roy, a Scot, and Nigel an Irishman, the international mix was maintained by their next offering of a Tango: Tim's own composition, 'Astor's Dream'. The sultry hint of melancholy easily flowed from this smoothly balanced trio. And then followed 'Souvenir de Vilingen', a Graphelli number, wistfully presented.
But the mood abruptly changed for the Aaron Copland's inspired ‘Hoedown for the Common Man’. A blasting fanfare gave way to Celtic folk with 'She Moved Through The Fair' as one of the themes; then much ingenious improvisations before returning to Celtic roots.
We were eased back after the interval by the atmospheric jazzy 'I Surrender Dear'. Tim introduced the next piece as Faure's 'Nocturne No 1'. This was where we were taken from fun and sensations to awe and, for me, tingle-factor. The delicacy of touch and precision of intonation was superb; and one could easily smile as Latin rhythms made unexpected ripples.
Violin pizzicato led us into 'You Look Good to Me' which was a vehicle for high speed solo improvisations of all three instruments.
'Où Es - Tu Mon Amour' saw a return to the haunting wistful style; which was followed by a piece using pronounced slides of gypsy style. The trio's finale was 'Piccadilly Stomp' technically demanding and excitedly fast, leaving us exhilarated.
To continuing applause, the trio returned with their encore of Richard Strauss' 'Morgen' drawing a stunned electric silence from the audience; the mark that something special was taking place.
The appeal of Tim Kliphuis is so wide ranging. Who else would dare to mix Django Reinhart in the same programme as Richard Strauss; not to mention Faure, Vivaldi and Hoagy Carmichael; and to make the mix so natural? Only the broad ranging virtuosity of this trio makes it possible.
This was not the first time Tim Kliphuis had performed for NADSA concerts, and I certainly hope it will not be many years before this Trio returns again by very popular demand.