302

Acoustic Ladyland at Vortex, London

Frederick Bernas By

Sign in to view read count
Acoustic Ladyland
Vortex Jazz Club
London, England
March 28, 2008

As the act which opened the new Vortex in 2005, Acoustic Ladyland holds a special place in the hearts of many club regulars. The band returned on March 28 to a full house of over 100 people, with the usual table layout abandoned to create an entirely different atmosphere.

A standing audience pushed the quartet to perform at its highest level. Saxophonist-turned-singer Pete Wareham looked the part in a white suit jacket and black skinny tie; he has appropriated the role of enigmatic frontman with relish and zeal. Many of the songs saw him switching swiftly between instrument and voice, and he had broken sweat within ten minutes. This conception of the sax taking the lead in a frenzied, punky setting distinguishes his tone and phrasing from any of his contemporaries.

The rhythm section was exciting, often unpredictable. Tom Cawley on keys was typically percussive, at times smashing down open-handedly in a seemingly random fashion or producing twisted impressions of a demented ice cream van chime. Seb Rochford and Ruth Goller (drums, bass) were as tight as one might expect from the band's recent gigging, even if the bass sounded a little quiet out front.

Over the course of three albums, the Acoustic Ladyland sound has become increasingly hard to define. Is it punk jazz? Is it progressive rock (albeit with no guitar in sight)? Is it pure avant-garde experimentalism? Wareham is reluctant to bracket the music into any genre, and it is easy to see why. The result is a group that can surprise and enlighten in equal measure and that will surely continue its rapid rise, most likely reaching cult status over the coming years.


Shop

More Articles

Read Panama Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Panama Jazz Festival 2017
by Mark Holston
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Foundation of Funk at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom Live Reviews Foundation of Funk at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
by Geoff Anderson
Published: February 20, 2017
Read The Cookers at Nighttown Live Reviews The Cookers at Nighttown
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: February 16, 2017
Read Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens Live Reviews Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Flow Tribe at the Gramercy Theatre" Live Reviews Flow Tribe at the Gramercy Theatre
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: June 4, 2016
Read "WOMAD 2016" Live Reviews WOMAD 2016
by Martin Longley
Published: August 15, 2016
Read "Hyde Park Jazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews Hyde Park Jazz Festival 2016
by Mark Corroto
Published: October 4, 2016
Read "Jazztopad 2016, Part 1" Live Reviews Jazztopad 2016, Part 1
by Henning Bolte
Published: December 24, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!