Shanti Paul Jayasinha
Candid Jazz Festival
PizzaExpress Jazz Club, Soho
November 1, 2007
Now celebrating its tenth anniversary, the Candid Jazz Festival has always showcased fine new talents from the label's roster, and this year saw trumpeter Shanti Paul Jayasinha on the list of recording artists under the Candid record label performing at Soho's PizzaExpress Jazz Club in a week of concerts from singers Mishka Adams and Cormac Kenevey, Canadian singer and saxophonist Sheila Cooper and The Blessing, and a new band formed by Portishead's Clive Deamer and Jim Barr.
Jayasinha has been making waves on the London scene for a while now, popping up here and there alongside the likes of Alex Wilson, Tim Garland, and John Etheridge's Zappatistas. His debut album, Round Trip, is aptly titled, since Jayasinha displays a great wealth and breadth of influences in his playing.
Sri-Lankan born and London raised, Jayasinha's brand of world-influenced Latin jazz was warmly greeted by the crowd. Opening with a lilting Cuban number that featured a strong solo from saxophonist Patrick Clahar, the trumpeter's band revealed an engaging mix of rhythmic ideas from within the Latin jazz idiom. Tunes such as "Sufi" and "Jamuba" displayed the group's versatility and gave the soloists chances to shine. Pianist John Crawford had several impressive spots with his light-fingered runs, occasionally straying from the overall tone, though not excessively so, then subtly blending samba with reggae in a striking combination of creative timing and diverse rhythms.
Jayasinha has a full, yet distinctively personal tone on both trumpet and flugelhorn, and his solos are measured and thoughtful. He showed admirable restraint in his playing by letting the notes speak for themselves rather than relying on their frequency or speed. The leader's economic statements acted as a nice counterpart to the sometimes over-reaching playing of the sax and piano, accomplished though they were. Some of the tunes lacked a certain cohesiveness and flow, with The Hidden One's use of changing time signatures feeling too deliberate for comfort. The carnival samba of the closer, "Round Trip," strayed dangerously close to novelty territory, but generally Jayasinha wore his party hat wellas did a couple of enthusiastic audience members (and the odd waiter who got roped in for a dance).
It was evident that in addition to being an impressive horn man, Jayasinha is an effective leader, anchoring his supporting cast while playing confidently and masterfully during the whole set. Some of his musical compositions might not have quite caught up to his stellar playing yet, but he nonetheless makes a very welcome addition to the Candid stable of artists.