One of the bands featured at this year’s Brilliant Corners festival in Belfast will be a quartet from leading Irish bass guitarist and educator Ronan Guilfoyle featuring his son Chris on guitar, a player who made his recording debut on their album Hands and who takes a scalding run on ‘Nod’; drummer Tom Rainey, reviewed in Marlbank on Ingrid Laubrock’s album Roulette of the Cradle; and saxophonist Dave Binney, sinuously virtuosic as he navigates choppy M-BASE and bebop waters on the pulsating opener ‘In Fairness.’
Very cleanly recorded in New York’s Systems Two studio three years ago, the title track of Hands derives from the first movement of a Guilfoyle concerto for electric guitar and orchestra newly transcribed for quartet. Guilfoyle describes ‘Sneaky’ as a groove piece, one of two, the crisscrossing lines increasingly cerebral in character as the piece develops. Modernistic but not really avant garde yet displaying an expert grasp of metre and flow, the constantly shifting points of entry keep you as a listener guessing, the tunes attractive and the band interplay not unlike the group effect achieved on a small group acoustic Dave Holland record. Above all the four players seem to have a collective understanding and get to grips with the consummately tricksy lines in no-nonsense fashion. Worth spending some quality time with live.
Brilliant Corners runs from 7-11 March. Website
All Hands on deck at Brilliant Corners