Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

4

David Lyttle & Andreas Varady at Bennigans Jazz Club

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
David Lyttle & Andreas Varady
Bennigans Jazz Bar
Derry, N. Ireland
January 14, 2018

There was an air of expectation around the duo gig of David Lyttle and Andreas Varady -two of the finest exponents of their respective instruments in contemporary jazz. Not surprisingly, Bennigans Jazz Club—a wonderfully intimate setting—was packed to capacity. This is a new project from Irish drummer Lyttle and Slovakian guitarist Varady, having first collaborated together on Questions (Lyte Records, 2010), when Varady was still only thirteen. Inevitably, the child-prodigy tag followed Varady as he gigged—and held his own---with the likes of Martin Taylor, George Benson and in Quincy Jones' Global Gumbo, as well as making his major label debut, the EP Come Together (Verve, 2014). But time marches on.

Now twenty years of age and sporting a beard, the wunderkind label that always preceded Varady's name like a title of sorts is outdated, for the Slovakian is simply another young man attempting to make his way as a professional musician—albeit one of remarkable talent. On Lyttle's self-penned ballad "After The Flood" Varady served early notice that there's a lot more to his bag, however, than high speed virtuosity—his delicate arpeggios, graceful harmonic voicings and gently tumbling runs played against Lyttle's deft, though animated brush and stick work -the Waringstown drummer drawing melody from the drum skins. Varady's dazzling technique was to the fore on Miles Davis' "All Blues," his bluesy improvisation riding the waves of Lyttle's African-inspired rhythms—on hands and sticks—with impressively controlled fluidity. Yet even at his most fleet, Varady exuded an air of calm control, and more importantly, an innate sense of musicality where every note counts.

Varady's mid-tempo straight-ahead number "Opportunity" and Lyttle's breezy "Happy Easter" featured extended solos -both musicians making their technically advanced improvisations seem as easy as peeling spuds. The first set closed with a brilliant reading of John Klenner/Sam M. Lewis' oft-covered "Just Friends" from 1931—with the eyes drawn as much to Lyttle's dancing brushwork as the ears were to Varady's melodic invention.

The second set began with a new Varady composition, "Best Friends," the guitarist juggling rhythmic chords and flashing runs with uncommon dexterity as Lyttle stoked the duo's rhythmic fires. Thereafter standards paved the trail; John Coltrane's "Moment's Notice," Ray Noble's "Cherokee" and a fired-up version of Victor Young's "Stella by Starlight" providing the grist to the duo's improvisational mill. The standout interpretation, arguably, was "Cherokee," shorn of the original's swing and the song's latter bebop bustle, and instead invested with the aching lyricism of a most tender ballad. Lyttle is a consummate balladeer—as witnessed on his collaboration with Joe Lovano on "Lullaby of the Lost," from the drummer's MOBO-nominated Faces (Lyte Records, 2015)—and his nuanced working of the kit on this perennial favorite was every bit as compelling as his more animated drumming throughout the evening.

The duo drew a line under a splendid set with an improvised blues that blossomed from ruminative stirrings to gutsy cut and thrust, with guitarist and drummer alternating between lead and comping roles. The crowd, which had listened attentively throughout, rewarded the duo with a standing ovation. Earlier, addressing the crowd, Lyttle had described jazz as a process of constant learning, mentorship and service to the music -"a lifelong journey," as he put it. Hopefully the journey of David Lyttle and Andreas Varady, a formidable duo, will be just that.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop

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

Related Articles

Live Reviews
The 2019 Tibet House U.S. Benefit Concert
By Mike Perciaccante
February 17, 2019
Live Reviews
JAZZTOPAD 2018
By Henning Bolte
February 16, 2019
Live Reviews
America At The Paramount
By Mike Perciaccante
February 16, 2019
Live Reviews
Brussels Jazz Festival 2019
By Martin Longley
February 15, 2019
Live Reviews
Gourmet At April Jazz Club
By Anthony Shaw
February 13, 2019
Live Reviews
Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science at Cologne Philharmonic
By Phillip Woolever
February 12, 2019
Live Reviews
Quentin Baxter Quintet At The Jazz Corner
By Martin McFie
February 12, 2019