Jim Mullen

Messrs Clapton & Co routinely name this veteran guitar hero as one of their major influences and he showed why at Oliver’s during Trinity Laban’s Inside Out jazz festival last week. Picking the strings using only his right thumb – the rest of that hand barely moves – his left hand was often a blur as he explored the fretboard in a series of great tunes, including the Freddie Hubbard classic Birdlike. Brilliantly backed by Martin Speake on alto, Andrea Vicari on piano, Tom Williams on bass and Tom Wright on drums, Mullen was even more dazzling when in ballad mode, ending his set with a heart-achingly gorgeous rendition of My One And Only Love. I first saw him play more than four decades ago when he was part of a prog outfit. My teenage self thought he was brilliant – my aged self thinks he’s even better now.

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