The audience settled in while listening to Volume 2 of the Brownswood Bubblers compilations, which includes New Sector Movement’s brilliant ‘The Hype’ — a hefty song to hear in a formal setting, one to listen out for on dancefloors. Presumably nervous, but clearly excited to play at arguably one of the finest jazz clubs in existence, Ben and the band treated the audience to songs from Welcome To The Best Years Of Your Life.
“It’s a dream to be playing at Ronnie Scotts” Ben Westbeech
Ben’s voice sounded terrific, improved from when I first saw him at last year’s Worldwide Festival and he displayed his multi-instrumental talents scratching on one track and playing guitar on another. UV Ray, on drums, provided exquisite rhythm with each hard crisp hit, combining with Benji Muscat whose fingers pummelled his electric bass and lush low frequencies rang out. They combined particularly well for ‘Taken Away From’ which builds into a drum & bass finish, though not quite as subtly as in The Roots’ epic song featuring Erykah Badu ‘You Got Me’.
The set featured a decent variety of tempos, with the higher paced numbers sounding the best despite the seated venue. Marc Rapson provided lovely chords, switching between the Grand Piano and Rhodes while Gus Pirelli played pre-recorded samples and vocal harmonies using his Edirol sampler/synth. The showcase finished (in time for Gilles Peterson to rush to the Emirates Stadium for the Arsenal Champions League game!) with a live rendition of the track co-produced by DJ Die from Bristol’s drum & bass collective, Full Cycle. ‘Get Closer’ proved to be a rousing end with UV Ray and Benji again showing their talents when working at a high tempo. I am intrigued to see more of Ben’s classically training appear in his live performances, and I expect his confidence as a ‘front man’ will continue to build as he plays to more crowds.
Catchy and diverse, Ben’s album should prove popular with many people, pleasing those whose tastes are commercially focused or others who prefer things from the leftfield. Welcome To The Best Years Of Your Life is due for release at the end of the month and there are a host of live shows across the UK and Worldwide, check Ben’s MySpace for more details.
Ben Westbeech’s myspace
UV Ray’s myspace