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...

5

Sligo Jazz Project 2018: Days 1-2

James Fleming By

Sign in to view read count
Until Saturday's final concert the Hawk's Well Theatre homed the jazz music once thought sinful by the powers-that-be. But as the musicians proved night after night, jazz is a profoundly spiritual music. Capable of exposing even the deepest-buried soul through the mere delivery of a musical phrase. And the five women who took the centre stage for the theatre's first SJP show of the week proved that fact beyond the scepticism of any doubting Thomas.

Liane Carroll & Friends -namely Meilana Gillard on sax, Shannon Barnett on trombone, and Carroll herself, Emilia Martensson and Sara Colman on vocals -lifted spirits out of their chair-bound vessels and up to the skies. On their rendition of "Bye Bye Blackbird" the three vocalists blended their voices together with all the skill of Arachne—she who dared challenge the goddess of crafts Athena to a weaving contest -threading her God-shaming tapestry. And when any one of them took a scat solo smiles cracked open like eggshells underfoot. Exposing the crowd's inner joy to the stage lights.

It is the mark of a true artist -not a mere theorist or player -when a whole theatre of people are unafraid to release themselves. With no hint of self-consciousness, Liane Carroll brought out all the glee lying beneath the crowd's veneers of day-jobs and duties. Her strong, without being domineering, stage presence could probably have done it with her smile alone. But by singing through that smile from deep within herself, she made it impossible for even the meanest cur to remain unmoved.

Carlos Santana famously said that five things must go into every note: "soul, heart, mind, body, and cojones." And over the course of Liane Carroll & Friends's show, no note lacked in any of those qualities. Even Dr. David Lyttle's expertly played drums mirrored the humanity of the vocalists' performances.

With a Tom Waits stoop in his shoulders, Lyttle made expansive use of his kit. No tone left unheard. No seam un-mined. And as many different sounds were pulled out of his small jazz drum-set as any composer could get out of an orchestra's entire percussion section. When he raked the butt of his drumstick across his cymbal the resulting screech sent chills down the spine. Lending an undercurrent of menace to the atmosphere of the show. Keeping the captive crowd on the balls of their feet.

Emilia Mårtensson's singing bobbed and weaved like a great boxer. She lured the crowd close with a whisper, then sent them flying with a note strong as Ali's right hook. With her mass of kinky blonde curls flying about her, she stretched and cast the notes and phrases into her desired shapes. The airwaves were her clay, her sculptures instant and fleeting. No one the same as another. And every tune she took would have filled a gallery with marvels.

Each musician up there could have held the audience hostage on their own. Meilana Gillard's attack in her saxophone playing would have fought off wolves. While Shannon Barnett's trombone-intro on Duke Ellington's "Heaven" brought people to the edges of their seats. As if they thought that by closing the distance between themselves and her they would suddenly understand how someone could play with such discipline, but so freely at the same time.

However it was when all the musicians came together onstage that the cauldron truly started to bubble. Spitting magic into the stalls. John Goldsby and Malcolm Edmonstone underpinned the five leaders -on double bass and piano respectively. While Carroll, Mårtensson, and Colman shot for the stratosphere Goldsby hoisted them just that extra inch higher with the harmonics he slipped into his basslines. And while the voices were far from snow-pure, the sax and trombone gave the sound an extra bite. A crunch that sank its teeth into the listener.

The interplay between every musician onstage -from Colman's exquisite scatting down to Lyttle's syncopations -held the house in its jaws. And as the musicians moved offstage one-by-one until only the three vocalists remained, the hush was broken only by their harmonies. Reverent silence juxtaposed against transcendent music.

Then they too disappeared backstage. And for a split hair-raising second there was silence. Then the applause and cheers rushed in to fill the space with the crowd's wonder. No encore. No curtain call. Just the echoes of Liane Carroll & Friends's performance reverberating in the minds of 340 very lucky folk.

In the bar all of the eight musicians mingled with the audience. Demolishing any barrier that threatened to sneak its way in between the fans and the performers. And emphasising the shared humanity between the admirers, the musicians, and the music that belongs to them all.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Ballads

Ballads

Quietmoney Recordings
2013

buy
 

Ballads

Quiet Money Records
2012

buy
Up And Down

Up And Down

Quietmoney Recordings
2011

buy
 

Slow Down

Quiet Money Records
2007

buy

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 "Molde International Jazz Festival 2018" Live Reviews Molde International Jazz Festival 2018
by Luca Vitali
Published: August 31, 2018
Read "Henry Threadgill at Tilton Gallery" Live Reviews Henry Threadgill at Tilton Gallery
by Kurt Gottschalk
Published: December 10, 2017
Read "GoGo Penguin at Out To Lunch" Live Reviews GoGo Penguin at Out To Lunch
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 25, 2018
Read "Mary Ellen Desmond: Comfort and Joy 2017" Live Reviews Mary Ellen Desmond: Comfort and Joy 2017
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: December 15, 2017
Read "Danny Green Trio at the Lily Pad" Live Reviews Danny Green Trio at the Lily Pad
by Doug Hall
Published: June 23, 2018
Read "David Byrne at Red Rocks" Live Reviews David Byrne at Red Rocks
by Geoff Anderson
Published: September 8, 2018