THE Saxophonics launched a season of jazz at the venue, and the foursome with their selection of saxophones will be a tough act to follow.

Jazz is new to me, and I was amazed how the four players, playing a variety of saxophones, from the bass-like baritone to the tenor, could escalate and spiral away from each other while always remaining tight and in time.

Jazz is the angry zig-zag line that dances around the straight line of regular music; at points the two correspond and you hear a simple catchy tune, but it is quickly obscured by irregular beats, explosions of sound and flitting, sporadic melodies.

Or maybe it’s a train passing through thick fog, every now and then you glimpse the familiar track, but it is quickly smothered by the impenetrable cloud; or it could be any one of the dozen or so similes that skipped through my mind inspired by the flailing fingers of this fast and furious foursome.

The Saxophonics played their own work, great sweeping pieces that skitted and scintillated, soulful and sizzling, although they also did one or two more recognisable pieces, including an impressive version of Come Fly With Me.

The gig was opened by pianist Paul Edis, who wowed the 40-strong crowd with an array of tunes, some of them his own, along with hits such as Bring Me Sunshine and My Favourite Things.

Jazz is not a flavour everyone will enjoy, but for fans, St Cuthbert’s has a good line-up of acts over the next few months, while for the uninitiated like me, it is a new and rewarding experience.