Rochdale Music Society Concert: The Tim Kliphuis Trio

Date published: 22 March 2024

It’s not all that often that a jazz trio with a worldwide reputation for such excellence as the Tim Kliphuis Trio finds itself doing a gig in a parish church like St Michael’s in Bamford. But that is how it was on this occasion thanks to the enterprising promotion policy of the Rochdale Music Society, which has been bringing great music of all kinds to the borough of Rochdale in the form of its annual concert series ever since 1980. Those of us who came together to experience the Tim Kliphuis Trio’s unbelievable artistry were truly privileged to do so. It was an evening of consummate musical delight.

Jazz has some of the greatest musical experiences to offer when presented and performed by the likes of classical trained Dutch violin virtuoso, Tim Kliphuis, and the two Scotsmen, Nigel Clark (guitar) and Roy Percy (double bass) both of whom are equally instrumental virtuosi. As contemporary exponents of the art of jazz they bring to their performances a depth of artistic understanding and appreciation of what music alone can express which many a performer of traditional ‘classical’ music might well envy and do well to emulate.

The evening’s programme was in two distinct parts, the first of which consisted of Tim Kliphuis’s recently compiled commentary on ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ by the 19th century Russian composer, Musorgsky Earlier in the 2023-24 concert series the original masterpiece for solo piano had been wonderfully performed by Michael Shiu, but this jazz take on such pictures as Gnomus and Great Wave added considerable colour and excitement to their musical viewing. There were also entirely fresh additions to the gallery composed by Tim Kliphuis himself, among them Klimt’s Kiss and O’Keeffe’s Ritz Tower, both of which revealed Tim’s vivid musical imagination and wide-ranging creative invention.

The second part of the programme featured some more traditional (mid-20th century jazz classic) ‘songs’ to which the Trio brought their individual insights and spectacular skills within the scope of a Trio. Moments of extreme ecstasy and the most intense tranquillity punctuated their projection of melodic ideas and harmonic progressions, which were always firmly recognisable as the inspiration behind the ingenious and technically demanding challenges which the musicians presented themselves with and to which they responded with aplomb.

Such a musical evening proves that live music making is still in great demand by those who value the immediacy and vitality of being there where and when the music is being made. It also illustrates the fact that over the last century or so the various jazz movements over the pond and here at home in the UK have made a vital contribution to the sensible progress of musical composition at a time when it could have been the case that discernible melody and harmony were in for the chop. So, I for one take my hat off to Tim and his fellow musicians for remaining true to the proper development of music as an inclusive and life-enhancing art which all can appreciate and enjoy without having to apologise for it.

The Rochdale Music Society’s Concert series continues at St. Michael’s, Bamford, at 7.30pm on Saturday 20 April, when French pianist, Patrick Hemmerlé, will play original keyboard music by J.S.Bach, Maurice Emmanuel, Kapustin and virtuoso arrangements of music from operas by Mozart, Bizet, Wagner and Richard Strauss.

Full details can found on the society’s web site:

Graham Marshall

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