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...

6

Sligo Jazz Project 2013: Days 1-3

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
On Wednesday evening, the Hawk's Well Theatre served up an intriguing double bill; first up, was the Janek Gwizdala trio, featuring two of Ireland's greatest jazz musicians, drummer Steve Davis and guitarist Mike Nielsen. Of all the evening concerts that made up the festival side of SJP the Gwizdala/Davis/Nielsen concert was, in some ways, the most appropriate in the context of the summer school. Like most of the students, the three musicians had only met up the day before, and had to perform having had next to no time to rehearse.

The set was largely drawn from Gwizdala's recording Theater by the Sea (Self Produced, 2013) and opened with Gwizdala on bass and bluesy wordless vocal on the intro to the ballad, "Once I Knew." Davis and Nielsen joined in shortly, with the guitarist demonstrating on acoustic all the fire and none of the excesses of an electric guitar. Gwizdala is a highly melodic bassist/composer and even in the trio heat of "Chicago Opener," with Nielsen and Davis soloing, a melodic grove underpinned everything. Though technically something of a bass monster to rival Wooten, a greater simplicity colored Gwizalda's music; his tunes were accessible, memorable and dynamically interesting.

"Bethany" was framed around a simple melodic head before veering towards a rocking mid-section, where Nielsen switched to electric mode. Mediterranean lyricism colored the gently breezy "España," with Gwizdala steering the trio to the head and then bridge in what was surely a lesson in ensemble communication for the students sitting in the front rows of the Hawk's Well Theatre.



For the last two numbers Gwizdala had the stage to himself. "Eronase" developed from a simple, repeated motif, with Gwizdala singing his solo; voice and bass, even during his improvisation, were one and the same. "The Goshman" was an absorbing exercise in loop technology; Gwizdala layered multiple bass tracks over a gently funky groove with his voice, as always, a constant presence.

The concert was not error free and there was an understandable hesitancy on occasion given the thrown-together nature of the trio. Nevertheless, Gwizdala, Davis and Nielsen together epitomized the risk-taking spirit of jazz, and underlined at the same time the necessity for visual cues and attuned ears—as in any meaningful conversation.

In total contrast, the second concert of the evening by Irish/American sextet The Olllam blended Irish folk melodies with an art-rock aesthetic. John McSherry's swirling low whistle intro to "The Belll" over Sean O'Mara's delightful acoustic guitar motif and drummer Michael Shimmin's simple backbeat suggested legendary band Moving Hearts as a reference, particularly when McSherry and Tyler Duncan's uilleann pipes arrived in unison. However, whilst the spirit of Irish folk inhabited The Olllam's all-original tunes, the avoidance of jigs, reels and laments in itself lent a contemporary air to the performance.

The Olllam is very much the sum of its parts, with keyboardist Martin Atkinson's subtle touches at times steering the music towards the realm of pop. Bassist Joe Dart's electric bass brought a deep funk groove to "Three signs of a Bad Man" and he was an infectious presence throughout. Duncan and McSherry for the most part played water- tight unison lines, alternating between whistles and pipes on the exhilarating "The Devil for my Hurt." The acoustic guitar and brushes-driven "The Folly of Wisdom," with its happy groove and pretty melodies could be the perfect summer soundtrack.

A hypnotic bass drum pulse and keyboard riff announced "The Tryst after Death," which despite the title was another upbeat, infectious affair that sailed close to the shores of Radiohead-inspired prog rock. A cheery pop air also colored the rhythmically strong "Bridge of Glllass." The balladic "Prayer for Tears" slowed things down with a largely unadorned whistle melody carrying the tune. The entry of pipes and a heavier drum beat lifted the piece briefly into heady sonic territory before subsiding in a peaceful coda.

A huge ovation greeted the end of the main set, ushering in a well deserved encore— another pleasingly melodic whistle tune with a bit of dancing pipe sting in the tail. Though the Olllam released its eponymously title debut in 2012, winning the Indie Acoustic Music Project Award for Best Instrumental Album, this was the band's first ever performance together. Watch out for the Olllam—it may yet take the world by storm.

The late night jam session in The Harp Tavern saw students, tutors and musicians gather for a rowdy old evening's entertainment. The proceedings were watched by local Roddy Gillen of the Jazz Ladds, probably Ireland's oldest jazz band, still playing regular Sunday gigs 47 years on, though some locals say they've been going more than fifty years.

Day 3: John Riley Workshop: The Evolution of a Groove

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

The God of Time

The God of Time

Kenny Werner
No Beginning No End

Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
DVD/Film Reviews
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
New York Beat
Read more articles
Poesia

Poesia

Pirouet Records
2015

buy
The Melody

The Melody

Pirouet Records
2015

buy
Me, Myself and I

Me, Myself and I

Justin Time Records
2012

buy
Institute Of Higher Learning

Institute Of Higher...

Half Note Records
2011

buy
Balloons

Balloons

Half Note Records
2011

buy

Related Articles

Read Tallinn Music Week 2018 Live Reviews
Tallinn Music Week 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: April 19, 2018
Read James Blood Ulmer and the Thing at Bochum Art Museum Live Reviews
James Blood Ulmer and the Thing at Bochum Art Museum
by Phillip Woolever
Published: April 17, 2018
Read Jocelyn Medina at Jazz at Kitano Live Reviews
Jocelyn Medina at Jazz at Kitano
by Tyran Grillo
Published: April 16, 2018
Read Marbin at The Firmament Live Reviews
Marbin at The Firmament
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 15, 2018
Read Big Ears Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Big Ears Festival 2018
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 13, 2018
Read Meg Morley Trio at 606 Club Live Reviews
Meg Morley Trio at 606 Club
by Gareth Thomas
Published: April 13, 2018
Read "Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2017" Live Reviews Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2017
by Nick Davies
Published: May 13, 2017
Read "Bryan Ferry at the Paramount Theater" Live Reviews Bryan Ferry at the Paramount Theater
by Geoff Anderson
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "Herbie Hancock at the Gaillard Center Music Hall" Live Reviews Herbie Hancock at the Gaillard Center Music Hall
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: October 23, 2017
Read "38th International Jazzfestival Saalfelden" Live Reviews 38th International Jazzfestival Saalfelden
by Enrico Bettinello
Published: September 15, 2017
Read "Lionel Loueke Trio at A-Trane" Live Reviews Lionel Loueke Trio at A-Trane
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: February 26, 2018