Sax player Dick Hamer was not too sure about the poster for the first Tenby Jazz Lunch of the year, held at the Imperial Hotel on Sunday February 12, writes Keith Clarke. It promised that the Tommy Harris / Dick Hamer Quintet played swing ‘from relaxed up to breakneck speed’. “I’m not sure about breakneck speed,” he said. “It’s Sunday and we’re getting older, so this next one is about as breakneck as it gets, sort of medium, so you can sue us if you like.”

No one needed to phone their lawyer – the years fall off Tommy Harris and Dick Hamer the moment they reach for their saxes, playing with impressive energy and a sure sense of style, as did bassist Alan Vaughan, pianist Jim Barber and drummer Ian Poole, all of them contributing riveting solos of their own.

Alan Vaughan, playing a six-string bass, is still in his forties. ‘The trouble with booking Alan,’ said Hamer,’ is you know you’re going to get a bassist who can play faster than the sax players.’ Vaughan had got the bass bug as a child, stringing a 15-inch ruler with four elastic bands until he could get a proper bass.

Jim Barber moved to South Wales from Manchester in the nineties. His jaggily pointed playing and dazzling virtuosity took the Nord keyboard to the limit – it would be good to hear him on acoustic piano. Drummer Ian Poole has been running a private teaching practice in Cardiff for over 15 years and his experience shows, tailoring his work to the modestly sized venue and treating us to some superb solos.

The next Jazz Lunch at the Imperial is on March 12, when the Bristol-based Cool Jazz Quartet returns.