Tim Ries/Bernard Flowler. Picture: Supplied

CONCERT
Tim Ries/Bernard Fowler
3.5 stars
The Ellington Jazz Club
REVIEW STEPHEN BEVIS

Perth's premier jazz haunt was abuzz after rumours a Rolling Stone or two might make an appearance at the special late, late show on Monday night.

Stones backing musicians Tim Ries and Bernard Fowler had booked a gig at short notice with pianist Graham Wood and three other local jazzmen.

The unlikely prospect that drummer Charlie Watts (a renowned jazz exponent) or even the Glimmer Twins, Mick and Keef, might pop in was doused when Fowler said: "We normally don't do this but we are on tour with the Rolling Stones. Don't tell them."

The ensemble, with Ben Vanderwal on drums, Harry Winton on guitar and Karl Florisson on bass, opened with a slinky Honky Tonk Women.

Fowler, who has sung with the Stones for more than 25 years, has a voice that moves seamlessly from silk to sandpaper, as he showed at either end of a run of solos from Ries, Winton, Wood and Florisson.

It was a fine but cautious first-up effort by a group that met and rehearsed for just an hour before this showcase of music from The Rolling Stone Project, Ries' two albums of Stones jazz arrangements.

Ries told the audience how the international language of jazz constructs a quick familiarity between players. This was evident as they slipped into a common understanding, through structured forms and improvised runs.

Ries, a professor of jazz at the University of Toronto, showed why he is one of the world's best jazz saxophonists before switching to clarinet for Lady Jane, his fingers working in a classy pas de deux with Wood's dancing digits on the keyboard.

Fowler took the lead for the ballad Wild Horses before a clarinet-led Gimme Shelter instrumental, initially more in repose than rage, and a flamenco-tinged Miss You.

Ries' return to the sax for (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction featured a very satisfying Wood keyboard solo before the sextet performed a slow, moving encore of Ruby Tuesday.

In retrospect, it was a poignant end on a night when news broke shortly afterwards that Mick Jagger's girlfriend had died in New York.

Perhaps this show was the closest thing to a Stones show Perth was going to get.

The West Australian

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