9

GoGo Penguin: Fanfares

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
GoGo Penguin: Fanfares Jazz musicians are some of the most musically imaginative souls on the planet, but their imaginations often desert them when it's time to choose a band name. So thanks must go to whoever decided to name this group GoGo Penguin: it's a suitably imaginative name for a trio full of imaginative music. Three young men who met at the Royal Northern College Of Music in Manchester, with a sound that combines jazz, dance music, electronica and rock: that's Gogo Penguin. Fanfares, on Manchester-based trumpeter Matthew Halsall's Gondwana Records, is an emphatic opening statement for the trio's career.

GoGo Penguin may be a piano trio, but it's by no means a piano-led trio. Grant Russell takes on more than the usual bassist's share of the melodies. Drummer Rob Turner's constantly inventive percussion reveals new joys on repeated listening. The tunes are all originals—the rather minimalist sleeve notes don't give credits for individual tunes, suggesting that they may all be group compositions in some shape or form, and the equally minimalist band website isn't giving much away either.

There are attention-grabbing tunes and performances throughout Fanfares. "Seven Sons Of Björn" wears its influence on its sleeve: the title giving a strong hint, the music—driving, energetic, full of movement—making it clear. This is GoGo Penguin's tribute to the Esbjorn Svensson Trio (e.s.t.). Elsewhere, there are resemblances to pianist Neil Cowley's Trio ("Fanfares") and to Phronesis ("I Am That"), two bands that also share GoGo Penguin's openness, drive and passion.

The hypnotic "Last Words" is underpinned by pianist Chris Illingworth's repetitive three-note bass line, the melody shared between Illingworth's right hand and Russell's bounding bass while Turner's busy, skittering, drumming displays a resemblance to the style of e.s.t.'s Magnus Ostrom. "Unconditional" is another tune built around a hypnotic groove but it's a gentler affair altogether; Russell and Turner keep things cool while Illingworth takes the lead role on this beautiful and melancholy piece. "Akasthesia" begins with Russell's confident and soulful bass solo, becoming a brief drum and bass duet and, with Illingworth's entrance, opening up into a graceful, expansive melody. The punchy, assertive "HF" demonstrates GoGo Penguin's more muscular side, yet Turner's arco playing on the tune has a spectral beauty.

So, GoGo Penguin gets the award for Band Name Of The Year: an impressive accolade in itself, but of little consequence if the band were to fail on a musical level. But Fanfares doesn't fail; this would be an impressive fourth or fifth album, let alone a debut release. 2012 year end Best Of lists await.

Track Listing: Seven Sons Of Björn; Last Words; Unconditional; Fanfares; I Am That; Akasthesia; HF.

Personnel: Chris Illingworth: piano; Grant Russell: bass; Rob Turner: drums.

Title: Fanfares | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Gondwana Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ask Seek Knock CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Air and Light and Time and Space CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Trail Magic" CD/LP/Track Review Trail Magic
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 19, 2017
Read "The Catfish" CD/LP/Track Review The Catfish
by Chris Mosey
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Light Shines In" CD/LP/Track Review Light Shines In
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "Verde" CD/LP/Track Review Verde
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 12, 2016
Read "Better Left Unsung" CD/LP/Track Review Better Left Unsung
by Doug Collette
Published: December 10, 2016
Read "Live at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival / Matt Savage: Piano Voyages" CD/LP/Track Review Live at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival /...
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 29, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.