Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

The Necks, Three

Confession time I've just heard The Necks once. It was in the Union Chapel, Islington, north London about a decade ago. Don't know about you but sometimes when I hear enough I just want to savour that moment and not chance ruining it. I want to be …

Published: 7 Apr 2020. Updated: 3 years.

Confession time I've just heard The Necks once. It was in the Union Chapel, Islington, north London about a decade ago. Don't know about you but sometimes when I hear enough I just want to savour that moment and not chance ruining it. I want to be on my own.

So that time I left after the break. It just seemed right. I did not want to talk about what I'd just heard. I did not want to even think about it. I did not know whether I liked it. I definitely did not hate it. Australian band The Necks were a rush and probably nothing like I'd heard before or since. In other words it was an experience and one not easy to quantify or rush to some sort of conclusion or ''caption''. Art is supposed to challenge you, isn't it?

Their records always reinforce that first impression. A piano trio, they conform to no genre but certainly appeal to fans of contemporary classical music, jazz, avant rock, and the non-aligned. Actually that non-attachment, solipsism even, is perhaps the best way of looking at what the trio (Chris Abrahams on piano, Lloyd Swanton playing bass, Tony Buck on drums and percussion) do, they create in their own world and you have to enter it but don't bring your fixed notions of how they should sound with you even if you think they belong to this or that tradition. They have brought their own house of sound with them dismantling what they do not need and starting from a blank page each time they come together.

Three is, according to the blurb on Bandcamp their 21st album. Nothing has really changed since that distant night in Islington listening to this although it's louder than I remember and perhaps more primitive and visceral. The key thing is that this is improvisation and about gathering up through a cultivated aesthetic a capturing of the moment using a small number of ingredients. You could see it as a massive, glacial, modal vamp throughout and on one level it is. Chris Abrahams seems still the main instigator although of course he isn't but you get an almost simultaneous impact from all three veterans as if they are independent of each other and to some extent they are, participants in an endless stream where there is microscopic movement under the surface. I still wouldn't say I am a fan, maybe I will be some day but I definitely admire what they do and Three increases that feeling a good deal more. Now I'm off to listen to Terry Riley. Yes they send me there because they've lived their own life of Riley rewriting their own sort of raga along the way and taken Riley's innovations to the next genre-smashing and still highly mysterious level only to throw all that out the window too. SG

Out now on Northern Spy. Four stars. Photo of The Necks, top, via Bandcamp.

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Title track of Another Kind of Soul streams

As reported back in February Tony Kofi's Cannonball Adderley-themed live album Another Kind of Soul is to be released on vinyl in late-April. Here's the furiously driving title track and album personnel. What a retro sound it is. With Tony are Andy …

Published: 7 Apr 2020. Updated: 3 years.

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As reported back in February Tony Kofi's Cannonball Adderley-themed live album Another Kind of Soul is to be released on vinyl in late-April.

Here's the furiously driving title track and album personnel. What a retro sound it is. With Tony are Andy Davies on trumpet, pianist Alex Webb, Andrew Cleyndert on bass and drummer Alfonso Vitale.

Tracks are: A Portrait Of Cannonball, Operation Breadbasket, Another Kind Of Soul, Stars Fell On Alabama, Things Are Getting Better, Sack O' Woe, Work Song. In the front rank of UK saxophonists best known internationally for his work in Ekaya with the master Abdullah Ibrahim, Tony first emerged in Gary Crosby's Nu Troop in the 1990s. His main instruments within the saxophone family are alto and baritone saxes although he plays across the range and also flute.

Tony is extremely popular on the jazz club circuit. The Last Music Company who released Tony's Point Black two years ago are putting the record out. Tony Kofi, top, press shot.

Related, also new: Threebop reference Cannonball Adderley and Nancy Wilson on A Sleepin' Bee.