The Royal None Such Jazz Ensemble at Home Grown Cafe
Edited By: Bryan Pentoney
The Royal Nonesuch Jazz Ensemble, a three-piece group from the Wilmington area, closed the month of March with an almost impeccable degree of elegance and erudition this past Sunday at Home Grown Cafe in Newark, DE. Made up of father and son Allan Fullerton Sr., Chris Fullerton on the stand- up bass and percussion respectively, along with Paul Boris Jr. on the keyboard, the ensemble paid a very lofty tribute to some of the genre’s most innovative and iconic figures, while unleashing some very groovy and poppy originals.
In a set characterized by a very laid back and amiable demeanor, the trio controlled their dynamics with an insidious and savantly air, allowing for their interpretations of classic standards and pleasing originals to fill the room without suffocating the lively group of patrons in attendance. Coalescing a sound that can be legitimately regarded as “cool”, the ensemble moved fluidly and comfortably through compositions heavily oriented towards a more melodic interpretation-albeit within the framework of jazz- that allowed for keyboardist Boris Jr. to expound on his very studious and collected take on modal patterns. Blending a genuine smile of contentment (always a plus during a live performance) with a cerebral and shifting choice of aleatory washing sounds, Boris Jr. managed to intellectually ensnare the audience as he charmed them with an honest and overwhelming degree of intimacy and friendliness. This, in turn, fueled the performance of the trio, encouraging it to take admirable liberties in the way of extended solos as well as through spot-on renditions of power house classics such as Miles Davis’ “All Blues”.
Both supporting and accompanying the human layer of sounds that was Boris Jr. were father and son Allan and Chris Fullerton. Lending credibility to the old adage “like father, like son”, the Fullertons performed each piece of their set with a kind of rhythmic and acoustic compactness that could only come from a lifelong dedication on both parts to the various sounds of music. Rolling and swaying; pushing while simultaneously containing the temporal boundaries of each composition, the Fullertons created the appropriate setting in both space and volume for the instrumental escapades of Boris Jr. Perhaps not as dazzling when it came time to express himself through drum solos (mostly due to a personal style lacking in some very elemental rudiments essential for a solo performance), Chris Fullerton’s constant and yet flexible approach to swing served as a good reminder of the most essential task for a percussionist, any difference in genres notwithstanding..
In the end, the combination of a very gracious and studied approach to a style of jazz equally as demanding as bop or any other, coupled with a remarkable use of acoustic dynamics, lent the Royal Nonesuch Jazz Ensemble’s performance an air of utmost respectability. With a chemistry as tight as family bonds should be, the trio calmly perused through a set as entertaining as it was fluent, creating a positive and lasting impression on an audience both hooked and pleased by the shower of sounds whose depth spoke for itself, as well as for the band.