Jeff Beck... playing Vienne this summer. Above roaring after a Mahavishnu opening into a Billy Cobham classic completely in the zone at no. 47 with the Vinman, Jason Rebello, and Aussie bass guitarist Tal Wilkenfeld.
Cooling right down as the Gavita quartet make all ready to debut
There is a certain Hovis quality to Transient. I’m not talking Dvořák. But yes it is a New World somehow for Freddie Gavita and yet beyond the box freshness of their creations an undying jazz tradition swirls all around this informal Symphony. All punning put firmly aside for a moment in this quickly strung together unofficial ad break for the trumpeter and flugel player, who, from what I have gathered in going over the tracks from this debut album, has heaped together just about the most compelling British retro straightahead trumpet-led bunch of tunes since Guy Barker’s still definitive Into the Blue back in the 1990s. Stocked with plenty of bluish moments that might appeal to the mournful among us, the true test of any jazz musician surely is how they are able to slow it all down to the footfall pace of a ballad and somehow dig deep among the shadows to enter into their own hidden emotions. Gavita well knows how to conjure interior moods quite astonishingly and can flick the gears up as high as he needs to, thrusting on from the bass lines as he is urged on and in. It is not just about the notes, they are only really pointers towards communication, like words on the printed page or paint on a wodge of canvas representing in whatever way that best works the body and inner most soul of the artist, and why all the wise old jazz masters quite rightly go on about learning on the bandstand and looking people in the eye, reading the room, working out how their bandmates are feeling and making allowances for you know human frailty around them as well as their own. All those lost for ever nights playing Ronnie Scott’s with his own combos and in the All-Stars has taught him a lot over the past decade certainly about reading atmospheres and soaking up every relevant bit of jazz history that needs to be applied and funnelling it inside his own ideas to pour out of his horn. It’s like the Cavendish laboratory there at Scott’s most nights, a new discovering of the past in the present tense of jazz as anyone knows stepping over the threshold any night of the week as the future too is only a dreaming away. What Gavita is saying through his horn is something that Miles Davis above all knew and understood in all tenderness. Just listen to Miles play Stella by Starlight for proof. Gavita’s peers on the Brit scene include Andy Davies (out of Kenny Dorham and Chet Baker) and Byron Wallen (via his tenure in Nu Troop and further back the lodestar of Woody Shaw). The quartet make their debut next month, Curios pianist Tom Cawley, Scottish National Jazz Orchestra bassist Calum Gourlay and drummer James Maddren who, like big Cal, is formerly of the Golden trio and join Gavita. Studied carelessness, temporariness, sudden shifts, and above all impossible romance and rhapsody feature in the oblique hints provided by the song titles, while the music speaks for itself in that classic acoustic Golden Age late-1950s/60s straightahead and hard bop mould. I suppose Miles Davis, and updating to Novus period Roy Hargrove, in all the future neosoul man’s 1990s angle on retroness, applies if you might be casting around for rough signposting to style location if only to whet an appetite just enough before listening to Gavita. Last heard by marlbank in the front line on very good form with Alex Garnett playing as warm up act at last year’s Parliamentaries, listen to a live quartet version of album track ‘Turnaround’ above. Kickstarter funded released via his own Froggy Records imprint and distributed by Devizes indie Discovery, Transient is to be released on 19 April, and launched that night at Ronnie Scott’s – upstairs. Many more details are to be found on the Gavita site
Rocking Ballyshannon in county Donegal, Ireland, at Roryfest over 31 May-3 June are Wilko Johnson, Walter Trout and his Band, Wishbone Ash, Seamie O'Dowd, Pat McManus and Johnny Gallagher among the seriously tasty headliners: see the full programme.