We asked mid-tour Dave Smyth for an update….
“We’re now halfway through our first UK tour with this band. Despite some of the pre-tour set backs with venues pulling out, it’s safe to say that the tour is going well and we’ve been having a great time! We’ve been absolutely knocked out by the amount of people who’ve come out to the gigs, bought CDs and the support that the promoters and venues have given us along the way – so thanks everyone!
We’ve got three more dates left for the diaries. The first is tonight (25/6/13) at Charlie Wright’s in London and then we hit the road again playing at Dempsey’s in Cardiff on Wednesday 26th before finishing up at Soundcellar on Thursday 27th. If you’re local to London tonight will be only date on the tour with the whole octet, featuring the last minute addition of mega-dep guitarist Alex Munk. For those who cannot make tonight, we have another London gig next month appearing at the 606 Club on Tuesday 23rd July. Thanks again to everyone who has come out and supported the gigs and we’ll hopefully see more people over the next couple of days!”
You can read all about the tour here.
This review is short and sweet – simply because we weren’t planning on putting pen to paper (or rather, fingers to blog…). However our ears were so stimulated, we just had to share.
First up: Metamorphic, launching their new album ‘Coalescence’. Headed up by pianist Laura Cole, they place themselves on the ‘folk-jazz’ side of the music scene. It was great to hear groove based lines juxtaposed with wild improvised sections. The writing is great, and they were tight. There were beautiful moments with horn stabs and stops suddenly let the pure vocal line of Kerry Andrew shine through. Alto Sax player Chris Williams stood out: he clearly loves playing with the group and fed off the rest of the band to create some beautiful virtuosic solo lines.
Then we were silenced by Royst, a trio of voices creating harmonies we didn’t even know existed. What makes them quite so wonderful, is that each of their voices really is VERY different , and yet they can still blend beautifully. Interlacing complex rhythmic loops (acoustically) with melody and panache, it’s impossible to take your eyes and ears away from these three. ‘This Is Sound’ by Kari Bleivik stood out for it melodic flavours, exploring scales and modes alongside rhythmic switches.
The final set brought these two groups together. Reeds are as lyrical as voices – and the mix was just sublime. There were moments of serenity when each member of both groups sang, chaos when the horns were let free over the voices.
You must grab a chance to see this collaboration. It’s a breath of fresh air to hear ‘jazz’ with such original variety and freedom.
See it: June 27th 2013, Lost Voices, Liverpool.
Buy it: ‘Coalescence’ by Metamorphic,
Laura Cole (bandleader, piano/composer/arranger ), Chris Williams (alto sax (Led Bib)), John Martin (tenor/soprano sax), Kerry Andrew (vocals/loops), Tom Greenhalgh (drums), Paul Sandy – (bass (The Rude Mechanicals)) + Seth Bennet (bass)
We had the great privilege of supporting the Railway Children charity in their “Three Peaks by Rail”. You can read a little more of what that’s all about here. Keep in touch with their exploits on their Facebook page.
Here’s a small video of what we did:
A Blue Flamingo highlight was playing “Take the A-Train” to a train, at a train station…
And there were some splendid speeches, including one by Norman Baker MP…
Venue: Hornsey Vale Community Centre, Crouch End
More Info/Contact: NLondonMusic@gmail.com (ref: Blue Flamingo)
We’ve heard much about contemporary music performers The Riot Ensemble, and this evening we finally got a chance to hear what all the noise was about. And splendid noise it was!
Favourite of the night was Lutoslawski’s ‘Five Songs’, each telling blustery tales of ‘The Sea’ ‘The Wind’ ‘Winter’ ‘Knights’ and ‘Church Bells’. Despite this being very much a 20th Century piece – there is something very traditional in the Renaissance inspired word painting. You can literally feel the movement of the sea in the piano lines, shiver at the gales destroying a city and be soothed by the bells voiced so beautifully on the piano.
The success of all these ‘difficult’ pieces is in no small part due to the fantastic work of Soprano Celeste Cronje and pianist Claudia Maria Racovicean. The two work well: it is a great privilege to see great friends perform together. Cronje’s rich, warm and expressive voice suited the repertoire of these international composers well. Racovicean’s absolute precision and innate musicality provided coherence and beauty in what could have been very muddy waters.
Key to The Riot Ensemble’s ethos is bringing this repertoire to new audiences and to make it, to use a buzzword forever battled with and argued over, ‘Accessible’. But there was no dumbing down in repertoire choice (see below), or patronising the audience with detailed explanations of why the tonality in a certain bar represented the inner repressed psyche. Instead – Cronje delightfully paralleled the ‘menu’ of music on the billing as fine food, carefully and thoughtfully prepared for you to consume, each different, each individual. If you didn’t like it – fine – just taste!
Alongside this, translations were projected onto a screen with a background of artist Mark Rothko’s paintings changing colours. This was almost sensory overload for the aesthetically driven among us. However – a wise insertion of the Cage Haiku again after the Lutoslawski acted as Cronje put it, as a ‘palette clenser’ – time for us to re-set.
Flautist Kate Walter brought energy to the Suckling Haikus, the comically short Jonathan Harvey ‘Haiku’ (literally an arpeggiaic flourish) was emphasised by the beautiful cheeky smile Racovicien had on her face after she played it. This was followed by Huw Watkins‘ ‘Three Auden Songs’: three very different songs rich in variety and range, three small scenes into the perception of the human mind. We had the honour of having the composer in the house.
We can’t quite figure out how – but we know it was all masterfully brought together by Aaron Holloway-Nahum – and thus he deserves a well-earned mention.
There’s so much more we could say. In just an hour long concert we were given so much to ‘eat’ that we were full to bursting – but still wondering at the beauty of all consumed.
Looking forward to the next one!
John Cage: Haiku
Witold Lutoslawski: Five Songs – The Sea, The Wind, Winter, Knights, Church Bells
György Ligeti: Három Weöres-dal – The Moon is dancing in a white robe, A cluster of fruit, A merchant has come with giant birds
Martin Suckling: Three Venus Haiku
Marc Hyland: In Thy Beauty
György Ligeti: Der Sommer
Jonathan Harvey: Haiku
Huw Watkins: Three Auden Songs – Brussels in Winter, Eyes look into the well, At last the secret is out
There are so many of these bouncing around twitter and facebook, we decided to compile our favourites…
1. “Share it Maybe” by Cookie Monster. ‘You got COOKIE, so share it maybe…’ (twitter: SesameStreet)
2. “Farm it Maybe” by Lil’ Fred. A Brit’s guide to the midwest… (twitter: LittleFred2008)
3. Miami Dolphins vs. US Marines. Cheerleaders and Soldiers. Quite. (twitter: MiamiDolphins)
5. Abercrombie & Fitch. Ahem. (twitter: Abercrombie)
And just for reference, here’s Carly Rae’s original (twitter: CarlyRaeJepson)
One of our clients had a great idea. It wasn’t the hiring of the musicians that was great (though, it is fabulous)…but the informality. He wanted them to blend right into the party! See if you can spot them below:
Let us know if you’d like some flamingos in your living room!