Reuben Derrick, who plays both saxophone and clarinet, came to Wellington from Christchurch on a drizzly and cold Thursday night to warm things up with his alternative jazz creations, joined by locals Isaac J. Smith on double bass, synth, and clarinet, Bridget Anne Kelly on saxophones and clarinet, and Andy Wright on drums.

Six tales, both original and cover tunes, unfolded over the course of the evening, each of them a long tapestry of memories, feelings, and emotions of all kinds.

Reuben set the mood with a deep saxophone solo. If you closed your eyes, you could almost feel the intricate fabric slipping between your fingers: gilded thread patterns on a black velvet background.

Free-wheeling harmonics and experimental jazz sounds swirled around. Each melody a thread which, when followed, led to colourful patterns of improvisation by one of the players. So well did these threads weave themselves into finished pieces, that few would guess that this was the first time this particular group had played together.

Isaac set the mood for the second set evoking alien radio waves from his synthesizer. Who knew that reed instruments could sound this spectral? The music seemed to be born out of empty air. Or perhaps
beings in another dimension finally broke through and sent messages to us in musical form.

The final chapter was writ by a clarinet trio and hand-played drums. The joy of the performers fanned out, touching everyone in earshot. Few could listen without smiling.

Reuben! Do come visit again soon! While we wait, let’s hope to hear more from Isaac, Bridget, and Andy.