Logan Richardson’s Shift, Pizza Express Jazz Club, London

From 2016. On the alto saxophonist’s Blue Note debut he keeps A-list company with Pat Metheny and Jason Moran both on the record. And here, live on tour, the Next Collective Missourian, who started out as a leader with Cerebral Flow on the …

Published: 14 Nov 2019. Updated: 3 years.

From 2016. On the alto saxophonist’s Blue Note debut he keeps A-list company with Pat Metheny and Jason Moran both on the record.

And here, live on tour, the Next Collective Missourian, who started out as a leader with Cerebral Flow on the Catalonian label Fresh Sound New Talent released nine years ago, and whose sideman work includes a spread of album appearances with Mwandishi great Billy Hart, has a band containing two hot young New York scene leaders: the first Nir Felder (you may remember the excellent OKeh outing Golden Age) playing a Strat electric guitar using OP-1 effects via pedalboard and keyboard (the latter coming into its theremin-like own in the second set) for a cloudy cinematic calm; the second the English pianist long since resident in New York, John Escreet.

Lesser known is the lively long haired Late Bloomer drummer Tommy Crane and the hard grooving double bassist Max Mucha from Poland. The quintet played two sets, the tunes unannounced, but the first, the drummer told me during the break, comprised of several tunes run together: that’s ‘Mind Free,’ ‘Creeper,’ ‘Time,’ and ‘In Your Next Life’ all from Shift. The goateed fairly short-haired intellectual-looking Richardson’s writing has plenty of sophistication, is metrically advanced, and is energetic and full of a freebop visceral abandon.

The first set was better than the second even though the second was freer and more open, but more like a lab experiment. The club sound was really good, engineer and announcer Luc Saint-Martin also dimming the lights for purply hues to take the harshness out of the early evening gloom before the band went on.

Felder and Escreet were a formidable harmonic double act: Escreet able to scrunch huge many fingered augmented chords out of the triggered dots and up-tempo sprints that the Richardson charts often demanded, modulating like it’s child’s play. Drummer Crane read the piano lines on a music stand and was a tenacious terrier-like presence in the second set varying texture with good use made especially of a range of different mallets, the tough smaller type detonating ripples of reaction across the band. Richardson can leap piercingly beyond the highest register of his range for more emotion and the tunes have an anthemic melodicism that journey from a Jackie McLean-like swagger to a highly contemporary non-retro sound, Felder’s magisterial command of texture an American Eivind Aarset if you like. Stimulating music. SG

Tags:

Michelson Morley + Dmitrij Golovanov, Vortex, London

From 2016. Gravitational waves greet Michelson Morley playing live as they return two years on from Aether Drift, Dan Messore now fully in the band, the Indigo Kid guitarist who in a way performs a Christian Fennesz-like role in a quartet that …

Published: 14 Nov 2019. Updated: 2 years.

Next post

From 2016. Gravitational waves greet Michelson Morley playing live as they return two years on from Aether Drift, Dan Messore now fully in the band, the Indigo Kid guitarist who in a way performs a Christian Fennesz-like role in a quartet that thrives on open improvisation contoured by effects triggered by leader/composer Jake McMurchie and Andy Sheppard Hotel Bristol drummer Mark Whitlam.

McMurchie, on tenor and later soprano saxophone, is best known for his successful and ongoing tenure in Get the Blessing. Michelson (pronounced “Michael-son”) Morley sound very different, Whitlam, an exciting source of rhythmic invention, playing a bit like recent Robert Plant/Strobes drummer Dave Smith although the context here is a quieter less thunderous sound, the volume ramped up towards the latter part of the set. It could have got much louder to even better effect, Whitlam’s playing enhanced by unobtrusive use of a Kaoss Pad.

With tastefully bleached out moving image graphics, a visual melancholia occasionally drawing on starkly mono industrial iconography projected on a screen behind the band live mixed by Cinestar’s Jo Mayes, the best part of the set was the avant riff-led section initiated by double bassist Will Harris who like Whitlam plays in the excellent Moonlight Saving Time. When Messore took a drum stick to his strings, scraping new slithers of resonance to slide and smear over the ensemble sound, we were entering a parallel dimension.

Playing music from the yet to be released Strange Courage – expect it on Babel around May – here too there were songs “of death,” as McMurchie glossed resolutely cheerfully. ‘Tamer as Prey,’ early on like a lot of the wide screen band vision delved beneath the sonic legato patina to excavate meticulously a treasure trove of hidden detail, Messore and Whitlam somehow during the Vortex performance entering a Food-like space and then much later in the set emptying the larder to make way for some chilled minimalist Terry Riley-like fashioning.

Opening for the Michelsons Lithuanian pianist Dmitrij Golovanov during a slightly over-long solo set played music from his 2014 album Me, his technically accomplished style navigating a journey that had as its starting point after an initial improv a Schumann-esque flavour and later divertingly Satie-like repose to reach its final destination in the head tiltingly crouched-over abandon of Belonging Band-period Keith Jarrett, great unadorned flecks of acoustic sound cascading around the room only briefly disturbed by the barking of a dog outside among the skateboarders in the square that Golovanov somehow responded to, concentrating hard and conjuring a musical response befitting of the very fine instrumentalist that he showed himself to be.