All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

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...

255

Equal Interest at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

By

Sign in to view read count
EQUAL INTEREST AT Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, 18 November 1999
The anticipatory hush in the QE Hall was broken by the peeping of a mobile phone. Myra Melford turned from the piano and peered into the darkness. ‘If it’s for me, tell them I’m busy’. She wasn’t kidding. The trio launched into a Melford composition which moved forward through a series of solos, duos and group interplay. Melford's solo was a rolling, rhythmic, propulsive vision of stride for the next millennium. Leroy Jenkins and Joseph Jarman, veterans from Chicago’s AACM, were equal to the challenge, sublimating technique to ideas: Jarman extracting multiphonics from his alto and conjuring the illusion of playing two separate but simultaneous lines; while Jenkins allied his romanticism with sawing, scraping and bluesy cries, to take the piece out.
And so the set progressed with compositions from each player touching on the whole spectrum of 20th century musics. Jarman’s ‘Rondo for Ginny’, with Melford at the harmonium and the composer on flute, started with a pretty theme with oriental overtones before showcasing Jarman on the strident Vietnamese oboe contrasting with the folkish background laid down by the harmonium. Jenkins provided compositions which were by turns cerebral, with complex themes and lines in loose counterpoint, and jazzy with strong rhythmic motifs.
The first set concluded with an Armenian folksong: Jarman belting out time on tambourine, Melford laying down the dancing theme on harmonium, while Jenkins cavorted and embellished on violin. A crescendo of shaking on the tambourine signalled an increase in tempo for a rousing and joyful finale.

For the second set the trio was joined by a band of UK musicians for three pieces written specially for this tour. The playing of the larger group was very much an extension of the trio approach. Melford conducted the long multi-faceted opener, at first from the piano and then while shuffling across the stage cueing in different groupings, beating out the rhythm and bringing in the solos. Jenkins piece was more abstract with loosely phrased sections for the group, eventually winding down, with the violin scratching, plucking and bowing ,to silence. The final composition of the evening was a passage song by Jarman for his lifelong friend Lester Bowie. Chris Batchelor rose to the challenge of opening on solo trumpet for what was a flowing, elegiac, but ultimately life-affirming, celebration. Jarman and Jenkins played a melodic motif behind the solos from alto, trombone and ultimately cello. This last was one of the knockout moments with Nick Cooper’s bluesy cello sensitively accompanied by Chris Laurence’s bass, carefully choosing notes for maximum effect, while Melford strummed inside the body of the piano. A wonderful end to a fascinating evening packed with musical ideas.

The concert was recorded by BBC Radio 3 for broadcast early next year.

Musicians:

Myra Melford - piano, harmonium Leroy Jenkins - violin, viola Joseph Jarman - alto sax, flute, bass flute, vietnamese oboe, tambourine Chris Batchelor - trumpet Steve Buckley - alto sax, bass clarinet Roland Bates - trombone Paul Clarvis - drums Chris Laurence - bass Nick Cooper - cello

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Detroit Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Detroit Jazz Festival 2018
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews
Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia 2018 Live Reviews
Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia...
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood Vampires, Black Asteroids & Paul Lamb Live Reviews
Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood...
by Martin Longley
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe Live Reviews
Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe
by Chris May
Published: September 15, 2018
Read 12 Points 2018 Live Reviews
12 Points 2018
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 14, 2018
Read "Mark Hagan's Jazz Salon At The Old 76 House" Live Reviews Mark Hagan's Jazz Salon At The Old 76 House
by David A. Orthmann
Published: January 31, 2018
Read "David Virelles & Nosotros at Jazz Standard" Live Reviews David Virelles & Nosotros at Jazz Standard
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 4, 2018
Read "Instant Composers Pool at The MAC" Live Reviews Instant Composers Pool at The MAC
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 8, 2017
Read "Michelle Lordi at Philadelphia Museum of Art" Live Reviews Michelle Lordi at Philadelphia Museum of Art
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: June 10, 2018
Read "Sur Ecoute at The Bronx Bar & 'Cue" Live Reviews Sur Ecoute at The Bronx Bar & 'Cue
by Barry Witherden
Published: March 1, 2018