Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

207

Elvers: Elvers

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
Formed in 2008, before becoming known as Elvers, this improv trio gigged for awhile as Watson, Marsh and May. Maybe because that sounded too much like a '70s prog-rock group, they searched for another name, rejecting entries such as Between Gnomes, Corpse Embers or Yobs Set Fire to Sheep, and deciding upon Elvers.

All three players have long experience on the London improvising scene. Trumpeter Ian R. Watson and bassist Peter Marshall played together in the sextet Lob, and regularly at Back in Your Town, curated by Ashley Wales. Watson moved onto the duo Treecreepers and Marsh to Moist. Drummer Paul May accompanied pianist Carolyn Hume and has been a member of the quartet Barkingside. Marsh and May also play together in Neptune is Mars.

Elvers is the first time all three have collaborated but, listening to the music they produce, that is never apparent. They sound as if they are on the same wavelength and in touch with each others' instincts and reactions—remarkable, as this debut album was recorded at only the trio's sixth meeting. The members say they came together out of a wish "to explore a shared interest in improvised music-making without making rules, particularly improv rules." The music reflects that wish: improvised with no trace of prearranged structures and with no one obviously leading the way.

Each of the three has his own distinctive style, but readily adapts to the playing of the other two—true to that desire not to make rules. So, when Marsh's bass gets into a groove and lays down a repeated bass line well into the lengthy "Sawtooth" (each track is titled after a type of eel, in keeping with the group's name), May and then Watson fall in with it as naturally as breathing. And when Marsh ceases to play the line, they revert to equal three-way playing as before. Simple: no rules, no dogma.

Crucially, that freedom extends to the absence of distinctions between soloist and rhythm section. Marsh and May occasionally act in tandem, but more frequently move along parallel tracks, not getting in each other's way, acting as much as soloists as rhythm players. Watson is a self-confessed searcher after melody, and his intermittent interjections—not solos, as such—reflect that search, always having a clear structure and melodic line.

Overall, the album reveals Elvers to have its own well-defined identity and sound, a happy amalgam of its three component parts, making it a group to watch.

Track Listing: Wolf; Sawtooth; Cutthroat; Conger.

Personnel: Ian R. Watson: trumpet; Peter Marsh: bass; Paul May: percussion.

Title: Elvers | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Forwind

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Warning: include(/data/websites/jazznearyou.com/www/html/templates/calendar/cal_related_cached.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/websites/allaboutjazz.com/www/html/content/article.php on line 68

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/data/websites/jazznearyou.com/www/html/templates/calendar/cal_related_cached.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/lib/php5:/data/websites/allaboutjazz.com/www/html:/usr/share/php') in /home/websites/allaboutjazz.com/www/html/content/article.php on line 68

More Articles

Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read Vertical CD/LP/Track Review Vertical
by Don Phipps
Published: January 16, 2018
Read In Stride CD/LP/Track Review In Stride
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 16, 2018
Read Solid Gold CD/LP/Track Review Solid Gold
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 15, 2018
Read Ts'iibil Chaaltun CD/LP/Track Review Ts'iibil Chaaltun
by Don Phipps
Published: January 15, 2018
Read "In Times Like These" CD/LP/Track Review In Times Like These
by James Nadal
Published: May 13, 2017
Read "g a b b r o" CD/LP/Track Review g a b b r o
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 5, 2017
Read "The Behemoth" CD/LP/Track Review The Behemoth
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 11, 2017
Read "Heaven" CD/LP/Track Review Heaven
by Fiona Ord-Shrimpton
Published: July 3, 2017
Read "Rabble Rouser" CD/LP/Track Review Rabble Rouser
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: October 1, 2017
Read "Dream a Little Dream" CD/LP/Track Review Dream a Little Dream
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: November 16, 2017