Review: Charles Lloyd / Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas, Barbican

It’s not easy to write about a gig when you’re still shaking with adrenaline, still less so when that gig is the grand finale of the 2014 EFG London Jazz Festival, the climax to a giddy ten days of world-class contemporary music. But it’s a cross I’ll have to bear, because last night’s performance from legendary saxophonist Charles Lloyd and jazz giants tenorist Joe Lovano and trumpeter Dave Douglas demands it.

Appearing as part of their Sound Prints quintet, completed by young pianist Lawrence Fields, bassist Linda Oh and the ebullient Joey Baron on drums, it was Douglas and Lovano who took the stage first. Described by the trumpeter as “a chance to think about the musical legacy, the life and the spirit of Wayne Shorter”, the group have been touring intermittently for the past 3 years and are due to release their debut album early in 2015 on the Blue Note label. If this appearance was anything to go by it’ll be a formidable contender for jazz album of the year because Sound Prints are breathtaking to behold.

Eschewing conventional structures and forms, they play flighty, malleable music, a tapestry of fragmented melodies, explosive swing, groove and textural free improvisation that feels as if it can go anywhere. Displaying the sort of interactive telepathy that only comes through intimate knowledge of your collaborators and their playing, the rhythm section pushed and pulled at the time, responding to the subtlest of cues from their leaders and flitting between musical metres just when you thought you’d caught up. Solos seemed to begin and end on a whim, with the horn players in particular in the habit of sharing ideas and finishing one another’s sentences.

Opening with Lovano’s “Sound Prints”, the band segued into a wayward, exploratory composition by Douglas called “Sprints” which incorporated the sublist of references to the Wayne Shorter classic “Footprints”. (A rhythmically altered quote from the bassline and just a whisper of the melody at the very end). Then came two compositions written for the group by Shorter himself, “Destination Unknown” and “To Sail Beyond the Sunset”. The latter began with warm colours and an elegant melody that appeared in different guises throughout the piece, closing with a cadenza in which Douglas leaned over and played into Lovano’s saxophone mic, producing an airy, flute-like sound.

A scattered standing ovation prompted a rendition of Douglas’ “Ups and Downs”, a tune that spoke of wide, open spaces and provided the perfect introduction for Charles Lloyd’s etherial Wild Man Suite. A fusion of jazz with influences from Greek and Hungarian music premiered at the 2013 Jazztopad festival in Wrocław, it featured Socratis Sinopoulos on lyra (a traditional Cretan instrument played with a bow) and Miklos Lukacs on cimbalom (a set of strings housed in what looked like an antique writing desk and played with feathered brushes) along with Gerald Clayton on piano, Joe Sanders on bass and Eric Harland on drums.

Showcasing similar powers of interaction, the septet played straight through, with Lloyd contributing wispy melodies and murmuring sax lines and signalling to the soloists when their time had come. Dressed in black ankle boots and a grey fedora, he frequently wandered about the stage, as if investigating the music going on around him. He stood in front of the cimbalom as Lukacs stirred up a cloud of shimmering quarter tones and once even muscled in to play a snippet on the piano. Most engaging of all was his appreciation of the haunting melodies coming from the lyra. As Sinopoulos played, Lloyd came to sit beside him, listening in as if to an ancient tale of loneliness and loss recounted by a wilderness campfire.

There was a calming patience to the music and the dreadlocked bass and piano team waited a long time before shifting the intensity and the volume up a gear, with Harland laying into his kit and Lloyd offering imploring tenor lines that had echoes of Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme”. Culminating in a firecracker drum solo, the finale had the audience on their feet and the septet returned for an encore, with Lloyd selecting Hungarian tárogató (a wooden instrument like a soprano saxophone) and then alto flute for a nameless piece of freely improvised soundscapes, bluesy melodies and hip-hop grooves.

Towards the end as he shuffled over to the mic and delivered a passage of Hindu scripture from the Bhagavad Gita over a sparse, textural backdrop it didn’t feel at all out of place. At the risk of sounding like some crystal-worshipping rainbow child, there was undoubtedly a spiritual quality to the performance. Perhaps it’s just the adrenaline talking, but both ensembles seemed to play like musicians possessed, whether by the spirit of Wayne Shorter, of John Coltrane or of some higher musical power.

– Thomas Rees

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Review: Kenny Barron and Dave Holland, Queen Elizabeth Hall

Though pianist Kenny Barron and bassist Dave Holland have worked with pretty much everyone else over the course of their distinguished careers, it’s only in the last few years that they’ve begun performing together regularly as a duo. Their debut album, The Art Of Conversation, was released in September and it was musical conversation that provided the theme for their pre-concert talk on the intimacy of duo playing.

After an accomplished opening set from Jeremy Monteiro, “Singapore’s King of Swing”, and his trio, which managed two EFG London Jazz Festival firsts – the premiere of “Lion City”, Monteiro’s chirpy contribution to the festival’s 21 Commissions Programme and the first ever performance of a Christmas song, a sugary little number called called “Christmas in Our Hearts” – it was time for the duo to put their words into action.

Before the off, both players stressed the importance of keeping time without overcompensating for the absence of a drummer, with Holland praising his partner’s ability to imply a pulse without stating it explicitly. But in the opener, an introspective composition by Barron called “Spiral”, the time felt a little too abstract for comfort. Fortunately, as the pair slipped into a rendition of Charlie Parker’s “Segment”, playing the slinky bebop head in unison, everything seemed to settle down and from there they never looked back.

“Waltz For Wheeler”, Holland’s tender tribute to the great trumpeter and composer who sadly passed away this year, had an air of beautiful strangeness, an enigmatic quality that suited its subject to a tee. Barron’s “Calypso” was the antithesis, a sauntering, sunshiny romp that provoked a melodic, but technically astonishing, solo from Holland and a laugh from the audience when he looped nonchalantly back into the groove, belying the virtuosity of what he had just played.

“Pass It On”, a Holland composition with a swampy blues-rock feel, saw the duo at their interactive best. The bassist smiled and offered whoops of encouragement as Barron chimed in with carefully chosen chords and understated countermelodies. From there, they traded grooves and ideas before drawing things to a close. With the crowd on their feet, the swaggering melody of Monk’s “In Walked Bud” made for the perfect encore, but the highlight of the evening was Barron’s “Rain”, a ballad that shimmered with crystalline harmony and made the most of the lyrical warmth of Holland’s bass.

It brought the best out of the pianist too who revealed new layers to his playing as the set progressed, from gossamer melodies, to bluesy bends and even a few glimpses of Cuban Montuno. Unlike the garrulous Holland, Barron leaves acres of space and as the duo left the stage it felt as if there was so much more that he could say. But then good conversation is as much about holding back as it is letting fly and this was the very best of conversations.

– Thomas Rees

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Review: Black Top With Jamaaladeen Tacuma At EFG London Jazz Festival

I would have been lying if I’d said I was in the mood for this. It had been a long day of coffee-fuelled laptop drudgery and, as much as I love free jazz, the last thing I wanted was to sit through a night of challenging improvised music in deepest darkest Dalston. But, come 11 o’clock I was willing it not to end.

An opening set from tenor saxophonist Seymour Wright and drummer Paul Abbott, collectively known as Xomaltesc Tbobhni, made for a mesmerising start. Facing one another across a darkened stage, they unleashed a relentless barrage of sound. A subtly-shifting acoustic loop of saxophone honks, screeches and whirring, machine-like noises that meshed with thrashing cymbal work and loose tom-tom rolls, it could have been a sonic sketch of some harrowing, mechanised dystopia.

Black Top, appearing with special guests Philip Achille on harmonica and Jamaaladeen Tacuma (a former member of Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time) on bass guitar, took a little longer to find their stride. Five minutes in and I could feel my scepticism beginning to return, but their improvisation quickly gathered pace. Switching between iPad, synthesizer and piano, Pat Thomas stirred up a bubbling broth of electronic noise, adding scampering lines and subversive, hamfisted cluster chords. Orphy Robinson responded with chirpy laptop beats, distorted vocal samples and furious bursts of Xylosynth, while Achille offered wistful melodies, impassioned wails and snaking, chromatic lines.

Dressed in a patterned silk jacket and an orange scarf, Tacuma was at the heart of it all, busting out Jaco-esque bass licks and linking up with Achille on improvised melodies and broken funk grooves. He was instrumental in the sweeping builds and sudden drops in intensity that provided many of the highlights of the set and it was he who led the adrenaline-fuelled handshakes after a final Xylosynth flurry from Robinson brought things to a close.

As he did so, the house erupted into whistles and cheers and I was cheering along with them. This is the sort of improvised music that sucks you in and disarms your scepticism. Go in the foulest of moods and at your most difficult to impress and you’ll come out a delirious evangelist.

– Thomas Rees

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Review: EFG London Jazz Festival: Jan Garbarek And The Hilliard Ensemble Bid Farewell To London In Style

Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek and vocalists the Hilliard Ensemble first performed together in the remote, alpine monastery of St Gerold in 1993. Just over 20 years and three albums later, their partnership is coming to an end as the Hillards go into retirement. Their farewell tour as a quintet has them zigzagging across much of continental Europe but there was something very English about this, their final appearance in London and its air of low-key spectacle.

As we took our seats in the creaking pews of Temple Church, Garbarek appeared on stage. Turning his back to the audience and using the round nave as a vast stone amplifier, he began to play and, from the corners of the chancel, the Hilliards answered, singing fragile multiphonic drones and plodding solemnly towards him.

Much of their set, which ranged from works of plainchant to the hauntingly beautiful ‘Most Holy Mother of God’, written for the group by Arvo Pärt, was solemn too, but there was no shortage of glorious, ethereal moments. Members of the audience closed their eyes in contentment as Garbarek’s soprano soared above the gently unfurling vocal lines and hypnotic, unison sibilants. Glistening like sunlight through stained glass and ringing with an icy fury, it was an angelic fifth voice that lifted the performance and varied the harmonic palette.

On a spritely medieval number with a gentle pulse, the saxophonist stamped his feet and played a string of folk melodies before weaving in a bluesy cadenza. At times his improvised responses whispered of eastern mysticism and there were even hints of bebop chord changes – unmistakable but, somehow, not at all out of place.

As the concert drew to a close, the four singers strayed from their music stands once again, walking through the audience in the penultimate number and leaving through a side door at the very end, with Garbarek in tow. Throughout, no one said a word. Whether out of English reticence or simple good taste, there were no thank yous or goodbyes and, despite multiple standing ovations, just a single monastic hymn by way of an encore. But then there was no need to over do it. Better to go out in style and let a 20-year legacy and an uplifting final programme do the talking.

– Thomas Rees

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Review: Lauren Kinsella And The Gorodi/Ingamells Duo Explore Far Away Lands Aboard The Good Ship Jazz Nursery

You’d be hard pushed to find a more eccentric or imaginative live music event than the Jazz Nursery, a monthly platform for young talent once held under a draughty Southwark railway arch but now stowed away on the lower deck of the Golden Hinde II, a replica of the vessel in which Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the world in the late 16th century, moored on London’s Southbank.

As if in homage to the pioneering spirit of the galleon, this month’s Nursery event featured sets from two groups of sonic adventurers. Trumpeter Miguel Gorodi and drummer David Ingamells got things underway with an engrossing and unpredictable account of Dave Holland’s ‘Four Winds’, blurred by freewheeling lines and textural drum work, following it up with tunes by Thelonious Monk and trad jazz great Kid Ory. Most arresting of all was their treatment of the Hoagy Carmichael classic ‘Stardust’. After the rawness and strut of Ornette Coleman’s ‘When Will the Blues Leave?’, its lonesome melody was shocking in its tenderness and simplicity.

Amongst the varnished woodwork, the lanterns and the slumbering black cannons, rising star vocalist Lauren Kinsella and her trio, comprising former Loose Tubes trumpeter Chris Batchelor and keys player Liam Noble, pushed the boundaries still further. Their wholly improvised second half was one of shifting textures and bold new colours. Kinsella juxtaposed giggles and trills with tongue clicks and nonsensical strings of syllables that blurred and overlapped with the bullfrog croaks and trippy electronics at Noble’s fingertips. Switching between trumpet and cornet and experimenting with a range of different mutes, Batchelor offered rasps, squeals and moments of serene lyricism, once dropping out and rejoining the action in unison with a rising vocal line which he seemed to pick up out of nowhere.

The trio’s approach proved too much for some and there were audible snorts of laughter from a particularly mutinous group on the gun deck. But, they didn’t last long. By the end all but a handful were swept along by the creative intensity of the music, willing participants in a voyage of discovery that carried them into uncharted waters.

– Thomas Rees

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Review: Lauren Bush Quartet Bring Sunshine, Charm And Frim Fram Sauce To The Elgar Room


Perhaps it was the singer’s setlist, which ranged from ‘O Pato’, a light-footed samba about a dancing duck, to Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Smile’, or her left-field introductions to tunes like ‘Love for Sale’ and ‘I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter’, but there was something charmingly quirky about this late night appearance from Lauren Bush and her quartet. A young Canadian vocalist now resident in London, Bush’s claim to fame is a performance of ‘Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise’ which has racked up over 100,000 views on YouTube, enough to land her a gig at the Royal Albert Hall’s Elgar Room and a supremely talented new band comprising pianist Liam Dunachie, double bassist Misha Mullov-Abbado (winner of the 2014 Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize from the Royal Academy of Music) and drummer David Ingamells (a 2013 Yamaha Jazz Scholar).

Opening with a straightforward rendition of ‘The Song is You’, Bush sounded less assured that she does on her YouTube hit, but she found her stride on ‘The Frim-Fram Sauce’, a raunchy blues through which she scatted and growled to the delight of the audience. ‘I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter’ and ‘O Pato’ were further highlights and it was clear from the confidence of her delivery and the neatly resolving lines in her improvisations, that Bush knew the changes inside out.

More confident still were the rhythm section, who played with sensitivity and skill throughout, each player offering something different when it came to the solos. Ingamells kept things short and sweet, trading fours with the singer and livening up a rendition of ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ with drum breaks and a New Orleans-style street beat. Dunachie contributed twisting lines and Simcock-like harmonic exploration, while Mullov-Abbado took inspiration from the tunes themselves, referencing and reworking their familiar melodies on the worn fingerboard of his bass.

It was when the group tried to experiment that they came a little unstuck. A version of ‘My Romance’ re-imagined as a waltz took a while to settle down while a ‘funk’ rendition of ‘Love for Sale’ was something of a stylistic no man’s land until the head out. But, with ‘You’re Nearer’, a wistful ballad on which Bush’s voice was at its fullest, they recovered admirably, before closing with a cheery rendition of ‘On the Sunny Side of the Street’. Described by Bush in another of her musings as being an antidote to British weather, it was a strong finish and a welcome one on a cold, drizzly night in west London.

– Thomas Rees


Review: Verneri Pohjola Matches Beauty With Bullishness At The Forge

Were it not for a smattering of concert-goers on the front row and a handful more who slunk in midway through the first number, ducking their heads beneath the bank of high-spec video cameras at the back of the room, the Forge in Camden would have felt like the meeting place of an exclusive club. Label executives, artists and jazz industry insiders were out in force and if it sounds like we were all privy to a secret that’s because we were. It’s a secret called Bullhorn, a new album by Finnish trumpeter Verneri Pohjola and, on the evidence of last night, it’s a secret you’ll want to be in on.

Pohjola’s first release on the Edition Records label, Bullhorn isn’t out until February, but that didn’t stop the trumpeter and his quartet, completed by pianist Aki Rissanen, bassist Antti Lötjönen and drummer Teppo Mäkynen, from playing it back to back as part of a preview and live recording that made it clear just what all the fuss was about. In part it’s the strength of Pohjola’s melodies; the tropical lilt of ‘Girls from Costa Rica’; ‘Another Day’, a gently swinging waltz with a soaring refrain; ‘Bullhorn’ and ‘The End is Nigh’ with their soulful, folkloric leanings; and the gleeful chaos of ‘Nano Machines’, a schizophrenic burner that was among the highlights of the second set. But there was more to it than that. Interspersed between numbers were poignant improvisations, the first – and strongest – of which saw the trumpeter playing softly into the piano, stirring up a celestial chorus of overtones, to a backdrop of rattles and textural kit playing.


There were snatches of clever orchestration too, from stops and catches to precipitous drops in dynamic and riffs that emerged seamlessly from soloistic flights. And then, of course, there was Pohjola’s captivating, kaleidoscopic sound. A sandpaper rasp at one extreme, airy and flute-like at the other, it allowed his solos to be both vulnerable and bullish, adding new colours to the set. If anything was lacking, it was interplay with the rhythm section. At times it felt as if they were playing for, rather than with, Pohjola, leading to the odd one-sided exchange and a few wandering moments during passages of collective improvisation. But I’m splitting hairs. The secret’s out and if Bullhorn sounds this good on record, come February, it’ll be a worse kept secret still.

– Thomas Rees

– Photos by Aga Tomaszek


Review: Match&fuse Fest Gets Physical At Vortex And Café Oto

A globe-trotting celebration of all things improvised and alternative dreamt up by members of funky experimental jazz-prog band WorldService Project, Match&Fuse Festival ended its three-night run in suitably explosive style on Saturday night, with a total of nine bands playing alternating sets at east London venues Café OTO and the Vortex. After appearances from the likes of Shabaka Hutchings and James Allsopp on Thursday and Friday, it was down to young Norwegian improvisors Wolfram Trio to kick-start the finale. Alto player Halvor Meling hurled himself straight into the action, letting fly with scrambling lines and altissimo wails, as drummer Jan Martin Gismervik carved into his high-hat, leaving Fredrik Luhr Dietrichson’s bass to provide some warmth amidst the frostbitten sonic tundra.

From there, shifts in colour and intensity, twisted bass harmonics, broken swing and passages of nordic melancholy held the audience transfixed. There were new sounds too. Over the patter of Gismervik’s fingertips on the snare, Dietrichson used the heel of his bow to create trembling harmonics, before grabbing a cloth from behind the fingerboard and sliding it down the strings to make them shiver and scream. He broke his bridge in the process, to wild applause, and left Gismervik and an exhausted looking Meling to wrap things up.

Over at Café OTO the dream start continued with a performance from the Lana Trio and special guest John Butcher. Sparser and more brooding, their improvised set featured rasping drones from trombonist Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø and some superb contributions from Butcher that sounded uncannily like birdsong. But then the quality took a dip. Prog-outfit Twinscapes and Edinburgh-based trio Free Nelson Mandoom Jazz (no joke) favoured volume over interest and variety, an approach that wore thin pretty quickly. Jazz troupe Lunch Money were better, splashing dancey beats through puddles of electronics, and an improvised set from Monkey Plot and reeds-player Frode Gjerstad brought some nice moments, though the development felt a little forced rather than spontaneous and organic.

But when The Physics House Band (pictured top), an experimental trio featuring Adam Hutchison on bass, Sam Organ on guitar and an ear-defender clad Dave Morgan on drums, took the stage we were back in business. A series of thunderous hooks and apocalyptic drum fills left a room full of headbangers battered, bruised and elated. Ears ringing, I made it back to Café OTO for The Eirik Tofte Match&Fuse Orchestra, an improvising ensemble featuring performers from across the festival.

Their midnight march between venues was a highlight, largely because of the look of bewilderment and abject horror on the faces of passersby and the hilarity that ensued when the band – plus audience, plus enterprising Gillett Square alcoholics, some of whom had been swept up in the proceedings – had to force their way back into the Vortex despite the best efforts of the bouncer. It was an act that the last group of the night, the double trombone-wielding quintet Snorkel, couldn’t quite follow. A chaotic centre piece in a brilliant finale, it put a smile on my face that even a 3am night bus and the drunken antics of a man in immodestly low-slung sweatpants failed to extinguish, and it’s hard to think of a bigger compliment than that.

– Thomas Rees

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Review: Gregory Porter Raises Spirits At iTunes Festival


For all the hype surrounding Gregory Porter, there’s a lot that’s concerning about his band. Don’t get me wrong, the man in the hat is flawless, as good as all the Grammy plaudits make him out to be, and if you haven’t seen him live you really ought to. On stage, he’s every bit as charming and charismatic as his lyrics suggest and his voice is like nothing else. It’s a voice of warmth and mellow fruitfulness that crackles like a log fire and sounds even better up close than it does on record.

Appearing as part of the month-long iTunes Festival at the Roundhouse in Camden, the singer was on typically magisterial form, launching straight into a rendition of Donny Hathaway classic ‘Someday We’ll All Be Free’ with the crowd already in the palm of his hand. From there, he strolled through ‘On My Way To Harlem’, exploring gentle dissonances and freeing up the melody, and followed it with the heartache of ‘No Love Dying’. One of the highlights of the set, it finished with a bittersweet cadenza on which Porter’s vocal was as dark and rich as mahogany.


Tracks from all three of his albums showcased the full extent of his musical and emotional range. A duet with Laura Mvula on ‘Water Under Bridges’ was a nice touch and ended with both singers riffing on the words “London Bridge is falling down”. A fiery rendition of ‘Musical Genocide’, the smouldering ‘1960 What?’, prefaced by falsetto improv, and the dirty blues of ‘Work Song’ whipped up the crowd, with the sonorous bass-notes and wistful melody of ‘Wolfcry’ and the melancholy charm of ‘Be Good’ rounding out the set. But, while Porter could do no wrong, when he stepped back from the mic it was sometimes, depressingly average.

The singer has been with his group since the beginning. They met during jam sessions at St Nick’s Pub in Harlem, they’re his musical comfort blanket and his loyalty to them is commendable. But at times it feels like he’s outgrown them, with the mismatch in quality plainly apparent in a live setting. Though alto sax player Yosuke Sato, pianist Chip Crawford, bassist Aaron James and drummer Emanuel Harroldnever quite ruined things, they came dangerously close. Outside of the groove, all four men have shaky time and seemed intent on playing showboaty lines that weren’t fully under their fingers. The result was a gratuitous blur of haphazard noodling, a splurge of high-energy licks and tasteless patterns.

Though it’s encouraging to see improvisation being brought to a mainstream audience, it could be so much better. As it is, the group are at risk of alienating their more discerning listeners and, for the sake of the music, it may be time for Porter to move on. Just imagine how good he could sound if he did.

– Thomas Rees

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Review: Joshua Redman, Gwilym Simcock And Wolfgang Muthspiel: Three Giants Of Contemporary Jazz Join Forces At Wigmore Hall

When American saxophonist Joshua Redman, British pianist Gwilym Simcock and Austrian guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel took the stage in front of a packed Wigmore Hall on Thursday night, they had never played together as a trio, save at a rehearsal the day before the concert. According to an excitable Redman, even that was brief. “I knew it was going to be cool,” he said, describing his delight at being able to work with two musicians he had long admired, “but, after about 10 minutes we didn’t need to rehearse any more. It was more than cool!” As was their set, the final part in the saxophonist’s three concert jazz series at the hall, which had all the freshness and excitement you’d hope for from a first encounter.

Simcock’s ‘Shanty’ provided a gentle start to the proceedings, opening with an icey wash of piano and guitar that made way for Redman’s soprano. The tune’s simple melody launched solos of increasing intensity, with Redman scanning the changes and nodding approvingly, his bottom lip thrust out, as Simcock moved things up a gear. ‘Double Blues’, a Muthspiel composition with a cat-and-mouse unison head, came next, featuring a blistering solo from the guitarist that juxtaposed choppy chordal work with fluid bop lines and thrillingly long holds that floated above Simcock’s walking bass notes, resolving in the nick of time.

A smoky tenor sax introduction became Redman’s ‘High Court Jig’, its reel-like groove drifting towards dissonance before shying away, as Simcock turned the time signature inside out and Muthspiel contributed percussive backings on the muted strings of his guitar. Two standards followed: ‘’Round Midnight’ was brought to life by electronic swells from the guitarist and Redman’s reworking of the melody, which curled upwards towards pitch-perfect altissimo before finishing in the mud of his lower register; while Brubeck’s ‘In Your Own Sweet Way’ was prefaced by a piano segue of exquisite beauty – a filigree of intricate lines and glistening harmonies.

The remainder of the set brought further displays of frightening virtuosity, spontaneous risk-taking and masterful control, as the musicians continued to sound one another out, with Redman unleashing funk-tinged riffs and treacherous screes of notes. And in the end it took two encores, a break neck rendition of ‘The Eternal Triangle’, which pushed all three men to the edge, and the tenderness of ‘I Hear a Rhapsody’, to silence the crowd. Were this one-off collaboration to lead to something more regular (it should), it would be fascinating to watch it develop. But if it does, let’s hope it can retain some of the thrilling uncertainty and sense of adventure that made this first outing such a pleasure to watch.

– Thomas Rees

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