Jacqui McShee

At the Little Theatre

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It's not your father's Pentangle anymore. Indeed, it hasn't been for some time, with Bert Jansch having flitted the picture some years ago. Only McShee remains from the old guard, surrounded by veterans (mostly from John Martyn's band, it appears). Inevitably, some songs associated with the old Pentangle are covered, like "I've Got a Feeling," "Once I Had a Sweetheart," and a couple of others, but the emphasis these days isn't on guitar, but more of a group dynamic. A fair bit of the material was developed from the group's Passe Avant studio set, using a lot of the jazz sensibility that was part of the ideal. It's a reinvention of the Pentangle esthetic, if you will. And while it's pleasant -- McShee can still sing wonderfully and the guys are all very capable musicians -- there never seems to be much of an edge to it; it certainly lacks the feel of barrier-breaking that the band's first incarnation had. Maybe that's natural; after all, what else is there for McShee and company to do? The best thing to do with this is put aside all thoughts of the Pentangle name and its associations and take it on its own terms. Do that, and while you might not be staggered, you'll still be pleased.

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