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Tom Browne-Ronnie Laws Play Ronnie Scotts, London

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Tom Browne Jazz has always drawn nourishment from dance rhythms, yet needs to be careful it doesn't drown in them. The fusion of waspish keyboards and funkadelic bass that saxophonist Ronnie Laws surfed to crossover success came close to that dangerous point, but on his best recordings and especially in live performance he could conjure soulful licks and trenchant lines with the enterprise and power of the best soul singers.

This gig twinned him with trumpeter Tom Browne—his “Funkin' for Jamaica" is a club classic—and added a makeshift rhythm section. Regular bass guitarist Nick Cook played a steady but over-restricted holding role, and Jason Robello and Troy Miller fleshed out textures and beats on keyboards and drums. It's 30 years since this particular jazz-and-beats formula captured the energy of clubland's leading edge, and this gig caught fire only sporadically—a few more dates would do the trick. Still, the repertoire clearly stands the test of time.


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