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Dennis Rollins’ Velocity trio, Symbiosis, Dogwithabone Music

From 2015. The push and pull, sheer ease in execution, the mellifluous knitting together of trombone, Hammond organ and drums Symbiosis picks up where 2011’s The 11th Gate left off. Ex-Maceo Parker and Courtney Pine trombonist Dennis Rollins, …

Published: 2 Dec 2019. Updated: 9 months.

From 2015. The push and pull, sheer ease in execution, the mellifluous knitting together of trombone, Hammond organ and drums Symbiosis picks up where 2011’s The 11th Gate left off.

Ex-Maceo Parker and Courtney Pine trombonist Dennis Rollins, putting the instrument on the jazz map in recent decades, is here joined once more in his Velocity trio by Hammond organist Ross Stanley (who appears as the main pianist on Jamie Cullum’s latest album Interlude) and Portuguese drummer Pedro Segundo who first made his name on the London scene as a regular house drummer at Ronnie Scott’s.

A world away from Fred Wesleyian jazz-funk, an area Rollins excels at, this souped up straightahead trio belongs to another dimension, Rollins in a kind of Steve Turre space going to the heart of the classic jazz club sound unusual only that it is trombone rather than guitar or a sax fronting the trio. A Hammond trio is always a bit more than the sum of its parts, the organist’s pedal wizardry drawing on the role of bass player for added value and mobility, and Stanley here on ‘Reverence’ particularly shows just what he can do to inject a little more zip.

There is nothing showy about the trio, and even the covers, a raucously swinging highly accented treatment of Roger Waters’ ‘Money’ from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon; a respectful version of revered Portuguese anti-fascist songwriter Jose Zeca Afonso’s ‘Senhora De Almortão’; and a suitably sentimental lightly gospelised version of Amanda McBroom weepie ‘The Rose’ from the late-1970s, a big feature for the tonally magnificent Rollins, don’t flatter to deceive.

The New Orleans-flavoured Velocity-written ‘Boneyard’ provides deep jazzhead fodder the rhythm verging on a boogaloo, dancing shoes required here. The album swerves towards a party vibe by the end of ‘Bakkra’ using multi-tracked trombone against a big bass beat and crowd noise fed in, definitely something of a massive attack. SG

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Fire Room, Second Breath, Catalytic Sound

From 2016. There are surprisingly few “live at the Vortex” albums. Especially by a group featuring a famed American. And even more especially one as no-holds-barred as this one, listen above, by the fearsomely charismatic and rather brilliant …

Published: 1 Dec 2019. Updated: 9 months.

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From 2016. There are surprisingly few “live at the Vortex” albums. Especially by a group featuring a famed American. And even more especially one as no-holds-barred as this one, listen above, by the fearsomely charismatic and rather brilliant reedist Ken Vandermark of Fire Room.

Just a couple of tracks really spanning over 40 minutes’ worth of music, slabs of what you are hearing are soaked in the crackly electronics coating provided by Lasse Marhaug and powered by the multi-directional Rashied Ali-meets-Animal drumming of The Thing’s Paal Nilssen-Love.

Second Breath is not for the faint-hearted. In case you were wondering about the alleged cacophany factor lingering in the background, as some might contend, better to switch the brain on and zone right in to what is actually a more plugged-in version of late-Coltrane updated with randomly zig-zaggy bleeps and ominous splashes of opaque buzz. Net result: pure gestalt.