Much has been spun about ‘Prog-Post Jazz’ group Let Spin. On a customary wet and miserable Dalston evening the Vortex audience were, wine glasses in hand, ready to hear their second album launch: Let Go.
Ruth Goller (bass) started the set with her tune I like to Sound Like a Rainforest. With its lyrically lamenting bass line it drew the audience’s attention with simple effectiveness. Sax and guitar entered with the melody and it quickly settled into a strong 6/8 groove. The improv section was much freer and angrier, giving us the first taste of the inner mind of Let Go. Ending with a ‘bell’ toll, Rainforest was a great emotional journey of sounds.
Rainforest set the structural precedent for the next two tunes (Disa & All Animals are Beautiful): strong groove based head in irregular time, heavily free middle section, with a return to the groove at the end.
Disa by drummer Finlay Panter was rhythmically driven (9/4, 4/4, 5/4 time) and it was immediately clear that each member of Let Spin has a clearly distinctive compositional voice. Whilst the improv sections in the first three tunes went in similar directions, the tunes were clearly characterised by their writers.
Fourth in the set was the guitar led E.V.A., a tune by Guitarist Moss Freed. The sax danced on top of the guitar line like the crest on a wave: sax sat perfectly with the guitar and was yet comfortably independent. E.V.A. was the first tune that ‘kept time’ throughout, refreshingly departing from the signature sound of the set thus far. It was well placed in the set and by the applause level afterwards, it was an audience favourite.
The final tune of the first set was saxophonist Chris Williams’ ‘Walt’s Waltz’, a great tune in which the raucous Led Bib influences are clear. (We initially understood the title to be ‘Waltz Waltz’ and with the 6/4 riff this made sense. Nice to have an extra layer of meaning). The massive sound was ice water to the face (we like ice water) and the epic chaos in the middle was fun and a great way to end the first set.
Let Spin resists many of the traditional quartet idioms, for example each member taking a ‘token solo’. Sax acts as a voice, taking the tune and often giving us the most explosive solos. There are clear sections ‘without sax’ in which the various band members let loose, each musician dripping with virtuosity and creating varied and complex sound worlds.
The second set opened with 102 Hill Street, a tune from their first album Let Spin.The band came alive in this tune – a triumphal announcement letting us know that they were ready to play and show us what they’ve got.
Let Go contains two tunes from each band member. Their website describes them as ‘a band that is not afraid to make the most of their individual voices’. This is actually true (hurray for accurate band descriptions). The variety of the timbres in which they inhabit makes it much more interesting and accessible.
They play on this and the audience were asked to guess who wrote the next tune: Rotation. (we got it right! Panter. Stickers for us). His naturally rhythmically driven writing identifies strongly with him.
Next up was Killing our Dreams (Williams), a beautiful tune, as near to a ballad as we would ever hear with Let Spin. The writing for sax is highly lyrical, with repetition within a small range with Freed playing beautifully underneath. The band built behind the simple sax line in an utterly symphonic way in its colour and texture. The sound was huge, and the symphonic effect was completed by the three tonic major chords upon which it finished. True Beethoven.
Rothko’s Field had a latin flavour with Goller, Panter and Freed filling the space perfectly with their signature taste. Up and At Them (Williams) finished the set. The strong bass line played as ever energetically and powerfully by Goller, led to a great solo from Freed and top playing from Panter. The massive timbres were a great way to finish.
To such applause they gave us an encore lullaby with which to send us home, the final tune from their first album, A Change Is Coming.
Let Spin certainly gave us a show. We cannot undervalue the great and distinctive voices brought by each member of the band. The variety is great, keeps us listening and exploring. Williams, Freed, Goller and Panter each write so powerfully and differently it is a wonderful thing when it all comes together.
Popular Blue Flamingo Band Down Street had the privilege of playing at a beautiful wedding just over a month ago. The gorgeous venue was the Great Hall at Royal Holloway.
Here are some beautiful photos from Kit Myers Photography.
Last night we had the pleasure of hearing the culmination of the two day ‘International Rameau Summer School’ 2015 at No.6 Fitzroy Square.
Artistic Director Lawrence Olsworth-Peter welcomed us, explaining that one of the goals of the International Rameau Ensemble (IRE) is to make the 18th Century music of Rameau more widely available to greater audiences through a number of projects and concerts.
Renowned conductor and harpsichordist Christophe Rousset, who coached the students, told the eager audience ‘Rameau is as important as Bach, with rich harmonies and incredible woodwind writing’.
That is indeed what we were treated to, with semi-staged opera scenes and instrumental pieces. It was an enjoyable evening and it was great to see a range of Rameau’s works within one chamber concert.
We’ve heard on the grapevine that the IRE have big plans in the works, we’re going to stay tuned…
If you’re a student guitarist in North London and free July 27th-29th, GET INVOLVED! Great chance to work with great musicians including our very own Down Street Band! 07715 272 878 / firstname.lastname@example.org (More Info below)
Press Release from Foresound Music:
“We are very excited to announce the launch of the very first Annual GIG LAB, launching this JULY 2015 in the heart of Winchmore Hill. I have attached a flyer to this email and would appreciate it if you could circulate it to your network.
Gig Lab is an Annual Workshop for Guitarists of Intermediate level.
Running for the first time in 2015, this 3 day intensive course gives local aspiring Guitarists the chance to learn from an industry professional in a creative atmosphere of the Winchmore Hill Friends Meeting House. Participants will learn how to improvise and carry themselves in a live performance, will get the chance to workshop a well known piece of their choice whilst working on improving their playing skills, and finally, will be given the chance to audition for a LIVE guest spot in Winchmore Hill’s best loved gastro-pub, The Kings Head.
The course will be taught by Phil Short, Professional Guitarist and Teacher, and is hosted by ForeSound School of Music. Phil is well known in the industry, having played on Radio 1 Live Lounge and numerous national tours with artists like Tyler James and ChipMunk. Down Street, a well loved central London function band will join us this year as our guest band; their members acting as audition panel.