12

Bray Jazz Festival 2017

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
Bassist Stewart Wilson's fast-walking rhythm guided "Jazzwalk," a number of Ellingtonian ambition featuring biting solos from saxophonist Ollie Dover and guitarist Anton Hunter, the latter who brought a rock-inspired edge to the mix. One of the strengths of BAPBB's sound lay in the individual voices that Cottrell's writing capitalized upon. Pianist Richard Jones delivered an achingly lyrical unaccompanied solo that segued into "Tone"—a roaring ensemble number that embraced traditions both old-school and modern.

Hunter's metal bow on strings fashioned the ethereal opening to "Havmann," an epic number that grew and receded in a collective show of tension and release. In the quietest passage, of jazz quartet intimacy, trumpeter Graham South carved out a measured, compelling solo, the ensemble voice gradually rising around and engulfing his solo in a powerful show of force. Another highlight came with a delightfully slow-grooving version of the late David Bowie's "Let's Dance," which initially couldn't but help sounding like a lament, even though it was recorded the year before Bowie's passing. Once the drums kicked in, however, it soon became a rousing celebration, finishing with the iconic motif sounded by the trumpets.

A dose of jazz-funk culminating in a riotous drum solo from Panter and more contemporary arrangements, equal parts rollicking collective voice and individual virtuosity, rounded out the set. For the encore, Cottrell's beautiful arrangements for brass on the poignant ballad "Fairytale" conjured the majesty of England's colliery brass bands. The concert finished on a more visceral note, Hunter's Jimi Hendrix-esque riff and subsequent blues-rock solo igniting the collective fuse one more time.

If BAPBB's stonking, full-blooded performance at BJF 2017 performance was anything to go by, then the new album and accompanying tour will be something to look forward to. Modern big band music has rarely sounded this vital.

Pilgrim

It was a quick dash down Bray's high street to The Well to catch Swiss band Pilgrim. If the ethereal chamber jazz of the opening track "Falling" suggested a sedate, cerebral concert was in store then this notion was gradually dispelled as saxophonist Christopher Irniger, pianist Stefan Aeby, guitarist Dave Gisler bassist Raffaele Bossard and drummer Michi Stulz mounted an animated attack—with a telling solo from Gisler—which, whilst feeling tightly orchestrated, gave the impression that it could go anywhere.

Aeby's plucked piano strings and Gisler's deft pedal board manipulation created a spacey atmosphere on the epic "Big Wheel." Bass and percussive rustling underpinned Irniger's softly lilting melody, the contrasts between edgy and soothing growing as bass and drums gathered momentum. The dynamic shifts crept up almost surreptitiously, but the unfolding contrasts between collective charge, intimate piano trio segment, searching saxophone and guitar improvisations, and rhythmic and melodic mantra, were as compelling as they were unpredictable.

The concert concluded with two tracks from Italian Circus; ruminative piano, rumbling mallets and bass, melodious saxophone and shimmering guitar colored the first half of "Back in The Game," a slow groove developing in the second half dominated by Aeby's delicately forged solo. "Entering The Concert Hall," by way of contrast, was founded on more robust rhythms, with Stulz and Bossard integral to the elastic sense of time. There were free-spirited solos from Aabey and Irniger before the quintet united on the final stretch, finishing, appropriately, as one voice.

Pilgrim's fine performance worked a balance between artful construction and looser freedoms that clearly struck a chord with the audience. One of the highlights of Bray Jazz 2017.

Day Three

CEO Experiment

Day three of BJF 2017 coincided with International Jazz Day, so it was fitting that the day's program should begin with the pan-national, Dublin-based quartet CEO Experiment. What began three years ago as a trio comprised of Peruvian drummer Cote Calmet, Venezuelan pianist/keyboardist Leopoldo Osio and Hungarian electric bassist Peter Erdei, has become a quartet with the addition of Dublin saxophonist Michael Buckley.

Tags

Listen

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Radio
Album Reviews
  • Body by Luca Canini
Radio
Album Reviews
  • Body by Mark Sullivan
  • Body by Mike Jurkovic
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Catching Up With
Live Reviews
Extended Analysis
Album Reviews
  • Open by Mark Corroto
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Body

Body

Northern Spy Records
2018

buy
Unfold

Unfold

Ideologic Organ
2017

buy
Vertigo

Vertigo

Northern Spy Records
2016

buy
Vertigo

Vertigo

Northern Spy Records
2015

buy
The Necks: Open

The Necks: Open

ReR Megacorp
2014

buy
Open

Open

Northern Spy Records
2013

buy

Related Articles

Read Ojai Music Festival 2019 Live Reviews
Ojai Music Festival 2019
By Josef Woodard
June 19, 2019
Read John Richmond at The Turning Point Cafe Live Reviews
John Richmond at The Turning Point Cafe
By David A. Orthmann
June 19, 2019
Read Frédéric Gomes at les Deux Moulins Live Reviews
Frédéric Gomes at les Deux Moulins
By Martin McFie
June 17, 2019
Read Jazzdor Berlin 2019 Live Reviews
Jazzdor Berlin 2019
By Henning Bolte
June 15, 2019
Read Eric Clapton at Wiener Stadthalle Live Reviews
Eric Clapton at Wiener Stadthalle
By Nenad Georgievski
June 15, 2019
Read Philip Glass & Philip Glass Ensemble at Malmo Live Konserthus,  Sweden Live Reviews
Philip Glass & Philip Glass Ensemble at Malmo Live Konserthus, Sweden
By Nenad Georgievski
June 15, 2019
Read Burlington Discover Jazz Festival 2019 Live Reviews
Burlington Discover Jazz Festival 2019
By Doug Collette
June 14, 2019