Gig round-up

I have been clocking-up quite a few gigs in the past weeks. One I blogged about a few days ago. There were also three other gigs, all involving jazz in one way or another. Here’s a round-up of my jazz-filled fortnight.

First gig was Tom Cawley’s trio Curios at The Crypt in Camberwell. Now, Tom Cawley is God.Of.Keys. One of the best pianists around at the moment. I saw him play for Gwyneth Herbert many many years ago and have seen him as part of her band many times. I have seen him playing piano for Geoff Gascoyne‘s quartet a couple of times as well. I had, however, never seen him leading his own trio. And boy, was it good. Tom and I share a love for Rufus Wainwright, which can only be a good thing. The pieces performed at this gig varied from still to abundant, which is the way I like my jazz. Geoff Gascoyne filled in for regular double bass-player Sam Burgess and Curios has an amazing drummer in Josh Blackmore! Great gig, in a nice venue, although people should learn to shut up.

Second gig was Fringe Magnetic at The Vortex. Fringe Magnetic is led by trumpeter Rory Simmons and is an unlikely collection of musicians, but all of great quality. The Vortex is a lovely venue, but very modern, lacking in atmosphere and all the way up in Dalston, but it’s all about the music. I’ve seen some great gigs there in the past. This gig was good. At times the material was a bit too ‘all over the place’ for me, but I could see where they were coming from. If you like far-out-ish jazz, you’ll like this.

Third and last gig was earlier tonight: Basquiat Strings at the National Portrait Gallery. Apparently, the NPG has free concerts on every Friday. I did not know this. This is until I was on Basquiat Strings’ MySpace and saw that they did this post-work gig and the decision to go was one of the best decisions of the past few weeks. I am not quite sure how I came across this amazing jazz string quintet. It was a recommendation on iTunes, although to what I was listening at the time, beats me. It popped up in my mini-store (this is of course the source of all evil and is designed for music-junkies like me to spend all their money on crack new music) and I saw it featured Seb Rochford on percussion, so I knew it must be good. It was one of those impulse-buys when stumped for new music when work’s a bit dull. I instantly loved it. As a violinist (well, former violinist, due to an injury) I do appreciate string music, especially of high quality, I love Beethoven’s and Dvorak’s string quartets for example. But this was very different. Very much rooted in the string quartet tradition, the added jazz flavour makes this album stand out from the rest. The jazz influence is very present and mellow and simply mind-blowing. And this is just the album. To hear this wonderful group of extremely talented musicians in the beautiful surroundings of the NPG admissions hall was fantastic. Although Seb Rochford was double-booked, his substitute was great. Led by cellist Ben Davis, the quintet plus percussion played a nice selection of Ben’s own compositions and some arrangements of jazz classics. It was a wonderful way to end the week, and I cannot recommend you all enough to go and see them. They truly deserved their Mercury Prize nomination this year. I think they will soon be a group of importance on the UK jazz scene and who knows, maybe even beyond the UK borders.


September 14, 2007. gigs, reviews.

One Comment

  1. flechesbleues replied:

    It’s at times like these when living in London sounds rather appealing… those sound great. Particularly the Curios and Basquiet Strings ones. I’ve been listening to snippets of them lately too, I bet they’re amazing live. *sigh*

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback URI

%d bloggers like this: