Blue Flamingo Entertainments

Browsing category: BFRecommends, The Vortex, Vula Viel
0 comments

#BFRecommends Jazz Picks in London this March

Thursday 3rd March 2016 – Vula Viel @ Vortex 8pm £10
‘Vula Viel returns to the Vortex to complete their Spring tour. A band which the Vortex holds close, as it did some of its first gigs here. And great to hear how it’s developing’ more info here

0 comments

Review: Let Spin Album Launch @ Vortex

let spin vortex let go album launch ruth golfer moss free finally panted christ williams blue flamingo wedding party

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.

Check out their rest of their tour dates here.
Buy the albums here .

Let Spin Album Launch @ Vortex, Saturday 24th October 2015
Set 1
1. I like to Sound Like a Rainforest
2. Disa
3. All Animals Are Beautiful
4. E.V.A.
5. Walt’s Waltz

Set 2
6. 102 Hill Street
7. Rotation
8. Killing Our Dreams
9. Rothko’s Field
10. Up and At them
Encore: A Change is Coming

-BF

0 comments

London Jazz Festival: Top Picks

Blue Flamingo London jazz Festival 2014 Freddie Gavita, London City Big Band Sam Leak George Crowley Trisch Clowes Stoop Quintet Zoe Rahman Alice Zawadzki Soweto Kinch The Dixie Ticklers Ezra Collective Led Bib

We can’t get to them all – but here are our picks, based on those we know/have seen live.  There’s going to be so much greatness going on!

Sat 15th Nov, FREDDIE GAVITA, St John’s Downshire Hill, 19:30. Read our review here.  MORE

Sun 16th Nov, LONDON CITY BIG BAND, Spice of Life, 13:30. MORE

Sun 16th Nov, SAM LEAK BIG BAND, Spice of Life, 20:00. MORE

Mon 17th Nov, GEORGE CROWLEY‘S CAN OF WORMS,  The Oxford, 21:00. MORE

Tues 18th Nov, TRISH CLOWES & GUY BARKER w/ BBC CO, Southbank Centre/QE Hall, 19:30. MORE

Weds 19th Nov, STOOP QUINTET, Southbank Centre/Front Room, 18:00. Read our feature here. MORE

Weds 19th Nov, JESSIE BANNISTER & ZOE RAHMAN, PizzaExpress Jazz Club, 20:30. MORE

Weds 19th Nov, ALICE ZAWADZKI, Royal Albert Hall/Elgar Room, 21:45. Read our review hereMORE

Thurs 20th Nov, SOWETO KINCH, 606 Club, 20:30. MORE

Thurs 20th Nov, THE DIXIE TICKLERS, The Golden Hinde, 20:30. MORE

Fri 21st Nov, EZRA COLLECTIVE, Southbank Centre/Front Room, 17:30. MORE

Sat 22nd Nov, LED BIB, Vortex, 20:30. MORE

~BF

 

1 comments

Review: Pete Lee’s Narcissus at the Vortex

 

Pete Lee’s Narcissus opened to a rammed house on this cold January evening at The Vortex, bringing fire and frenzy to East London.

Opening with a recent composition which was still ‘unnamedPete Lee (piano) started the tune with solo piano.  A structurally complex work which integrated solo, heavy groove and ballad vibes, it really showed how many influences this ensemble has.  Next up was Mirror Stage which brought tenor player Nadim Teimoori to the stage (we have previously heard Narcissus with Josh Arcoleo).  Mirror Stage was a frenzy of sound with beautiful unison lines between Teimoori and Huw Foster (bass) moving on to what can only be described as a meditation of groove.   (Pairing of unison lines across different instrument combinations is a delicious Narcissus hallmark).   Lee’s solo here was a history of music for the piano, Brahmsian flourishes juxtaposed with contemporary ‘jazz’ harmony, alongside ‘piano basics’ of octaves and fourths.  You never knew what was coming next.  Tom Varrall on guitar demanded attention with a frenetic solo which inspired energy from the rest of the band.  With sax returning with the head, guitar continuing soloing and the rest of the band playing a rhythmically displaced groove it was insane controlled mayhem.   The colour of the guitar and sax voices blended so well that sounds were interlaced, lost and beautifully fused.

Third tune of the night, Criss Cross, moved sound worlds effortlessly, starting with solo bass which we mistook for guitar soloing, such was the lyricism.  North African sounding filmic modes then segued into Sci-fi Blake’s 7-esque sounds from synth (a Dave Smith Prophet 12)  with further sounds reminiscent of something you’d hear from the early days of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.   Ali Thynne, ever the master at the drums, changed the vibe completely, playing with hands on snare and toms. The tune went everywhere, a tango, sci-fi,  romantic piano and then a phenomenal blow by Teimoori which brought the first full audience applause mid-tune.  It was fantastic to see how much the band were loving Teimoori’s playing – Varrall especially.  We wish we’d taken a photo of his face.  Last tune of the night was the familiar Writer’s Block (vimeo below), a great tune which is forceful, angry, melodic with in your face groove.  It’s our favourite actually.

Lee has a great band:  five strong musical characters, each vibrant and individualistic, which he has nurtured to create a phenomenal sound.  It’s chaotic, energetic, wild, they’re influenced by jazz, pop, disco, Rachmaninov and Debussy, modes, tangos, electronica – and remarkably it has a beautiful cohesion.  Narcissus is sublime chaos, a great schizophrenic identity crisis of genre which against all odds makes sense.

Can’t wait to hear them again – (though we want more of the Dave Smith synth)! ~BF

Pete Lee: Piano, Synths, Compositions
Nadim Teimoori: Tenor Sax
Tom Varrall: Guitar
Huw Foster: Electric Bass
Ali Thynne:  Drums

Set on 27th January 2014 at the Vortex

1. ‘Unnamed’
2. Mirror Stage
3. Criss Cross
4. Writer’s Block

Check out the Narcissus website and watch ‘Writer’s Block’ below.  To read our interview with Pete, click here.

0 comments

REVIEW: Metamorphic & Røyst Trio at The Vortex

vortex royst trio metamorphic

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.

Two bands.  Metamorphic and Røyst Trio.  Three sets.

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,

-BF

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)

Røyst Trio

Kari BleivikCecilie GiskemoMaria Jardardottir