1

Live From Old York: Taupe, Dr. K. Sextet, Leveret, 3*3, Kris Drever & Joan As Police Woman

Live From Old York: Taupe, Dr. K. Sextet, Leveret, 3*3, Kris Drever & Joan As Police Woman
Martin Longley By

Sign in to view read count
Taupe
The Basement
March 3, 2017

Taupe is a colour that's ostensibly beige, but in reality seems to frequently inhabit a close-to-grey zone. Taupe is also the chosen name of this stripling prog-jazz trio from Newcastle-upon-Tyne in northern England. Puzzlingly so, as their compacted, nervous, twitching compositions suggest something brighter, sizzling arc lights or short-circuited flashing. Irony in jazz remains alive. Or is the Taupe output almost as much rock'n'roll in its nature? Despite sharing common concerns with the likes of Roller Trio or Led Bib, these three enjoy well-developed stylistic personalities, particularly as they all look around seventeen years young. Unlike most newcomers, Taupe are already born with confidence and the means to attack, rocketing through a sequence of hard, twisting, jagged, jump-cutting pieces, their set refined in the midst of a substantial tour itinerary.

Alto saxophonist Jamie Stockbridge and guitarist Mike Parr Burman have to tread carefully around their ample spread of footpedal electronics, as they heavily contort the expected sounds of their instruments. Drummer Adam Stapleford keeps it straight, although his kit is like unto that of a rock sticksman rather than a jazzer, augmented with extra cymbals and side-snare. Most of the numbers are throttlers, but there are a few shifty shifts down into an ambient abyss, painting impressionistic washes around the cave-walls. During the opening tune, Burman breaks a string in his enthusiasm, so Stockbridge indulges in some amusing banter, and then he and Stapleford improvise an introduction to the second piece. Another example of Taupe's bold approach. Fresh string tautened, Burman eases into the intended follow-up, and the rest of the set is free of any snags, unless these are perversely introduced by the band.

There are prog, post or math rock influences at play (whichever of these categories is triggered), but the end-sound remains determinedly jazzed, loaded with rhythmic trickery and flying fingertips. Stapleford is particularly speedy and sensitive when rattling around his traps, perhaps the most rock-indebted of the threesome. Burman's guitar more regularly suggests a diet of jazz mavericks as hero-mentors. The ultimate root of the Stockbridge stance is probably John Zorn. Although Taupe don't leave much space for abstract 'soloing,' they've become so immersed in the material, via obvious on-the-road proficiency, that the violent freedom lies in the soaring assurance of their manic riff-delivery.

Dr. K. Sextet
Saint Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel
March 4, 2017

The 2017 Late Music Concert Series opened with a themed performance by the Dr. K. Sextet, from London. This annual season is devoted to new music composition, and is open to elements from the spheres of jazz, rock, folk and electronica. The binding factor for this programme was ostensibly compositions with a narrative thrust, but strangely enough, this frequently meant that a traditional music nature lurked somewhere at the root, an area where storytelling is often central. Many of the programmed pieces were folk songs, elaborated upon by modern composers.

Dr. K. spent most of the evening breaking up into smaller permutations, in order to feed the needs of individual pieces. Their spread includes flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion. The group has been together for eight years now. All six members joined in for a Peter Maxwell Davies arrangement of dances from "The Two Fiddlers," an opera by Storm Kolson. Davies prompted a comedic jape, with sharp switches in pace and structure, heavy with rattled snare drum and slurred violin, playfully humorous in the new music way (i.e. slightly stiff light-heartedness). Sadie Harrison's "Bell Music For Saint Casimir" only required clarinet and piano, with some spacious key-delay on the latter, a miniature with a Lithuanian folk root. The piano was joined by flute for Thomas Simaku's embellishment of an old Albanian-Italian traditional tune, "My Beautiful Morea," billowing lyricism as romantic foreplay. The best work of the evening was Kaija Saariaho's 1990 "Oi Kuu," as Alice Murray's faint cello groans combined with George Sleightholme's bubbling-pot bass clarinet, emitting a low layering of frosty drones and resonant sustains. "The Durham Strike" (Howard Skempton) had solo piano making delicate progressions, considered pauses, emerging with a graceful antelope prance, suddenly curtailed.

Shop

More Articles

Read The Tom & Jamie Show at the College Street Congregational Church Live Reviews The Tom & Jamie Show at the College Street...
by Doug Collette
Published: March 29, 2017
Read Steve Reich @ 80: Music for 18 Musicians Live Reviews Steve Reich @ 80: Music for 18 Musicians
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: March 29, 2017
Read Ted Ludwig Trio at Little Rock's South on Main Live Reviews Ted Ludwig Trio at Little Rock's South on Main
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Brilliant Corners 2017 Live Reviews Brilliant Corners 2017
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Dwiki Dharmawan's Pasar Klewer Plays Indonesia Live Reviews Dwiki Dharmawan's Pasar Klewer Plays Indonesia
by John Ephland
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "The Tom & Jamie Show at the College Street Congregational Church" Live Reviews The Tom & Jamie Show at the College Street...
by Doug Collette
Published: March 29, 2017
Read "Peacemaker Music & Arts Fest 2016" Live Reviews Peacemaker Music & Arts Fest 2016
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 17, 2016
Read "Keith Oxman Quartet at Nocturne" Live Reviews Keith Oxman Quartet at Nocturne
by Douglas Groothuis
Published: March 19, 2017
Read "Sarajevo Jazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews Sarajevo Jazz Festival 2016
by Francesco Martinelli
Published: November 18, 2016
Read "Erik Friedlander At National Concert Hall, Dublin" Live Reviews Erik Friedlander At National Concert Hall, Dublin
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 8, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!