WITH his smile alone, jazz trombonist Dennis Rollins lights up a stage.
His unassuming introduction and obvious enjoyment of playing live makes for a delightfully warm stage presence.
He was performing back on his home turf - he grew up in Doncaster - with his latest project, Velocity Trio, who were recently named Band of the year at the Jazz Yorkshire Awards.
The threesome performed their blend of sophisticated funk and jazz last night to the delight of several hundred audience members at the Doncaster Civic Theatre.
Accompanied by the hugely talented - and absolutely gorgeous - drummer Pedro Segundo, from Portugal, and superb organist Ross Stanley.
Dennis looked at ease as they played an impressively varied set list. For me, the interplay between Pedro and Dennis was the highlight - there was a real sense of fun between them.
It was great to spend an evening watching jazz on a stage. Many non-aficionados - such as myself - are under the rather condescending impression that jazz is something to have on in the background. But it was a real learning - and hugely enjoyable experience - to watch all that creativity at work.
I admired the efforts in getting the audience to clap along. Certainly what they lacked in timing (and maybe I speak only for rows I and H) they made up in enthusiasm.
Dennis is a phenomenally successful product of the Doncaster Youth Jazz Association - and he’s a man Doncaster should be proud to call their own. And in Pedro and Ross, he’s found a great ensemble to showcase the trio’s exceptional talents.
The Velocity Trio’s debut album, The 11th Gate, is now out on label Motema.