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Vein + Dave Liebman, Vortex, London

From May 2015. Piano trios sometimes arrive on a wave of curiosity and acclaim, a word of mouth created somewhere else first. This was definitely the case with Swiss trio Vein, the piano player and drummer Arbenz brothers Michael and Florian joined …

Published: 19 Dec 2019. Updated: 19 months.

From May 2015. Piano trios sometimes arrive on a wave of curiosity and acclaim, a word of mouth created somewhere else first. This was definitely the case with Swiss trio Vein, the piano player and drummer Arbenz brothers Michael and Florian joined by bassist Thomas Lähns still very much unknown in the UK when they released Vote for Vein last year.

Following quick fire touring with former MBASE saxophonist Greg Osby and then Jazz Talks their lively highly virtuosic most recent album featuring their guest here at the Vortex former Miles Davis saxophonist Dave Liebman they’re now becoming very big cheeses indeed among the new wave of piano trios striking out internationally.

What’s their secret? Well that’s hard to say on a first listen live. But above all they gel as a unit driven by the amazing pianism of the baseball cap-wearing Michael Arbenz. Liebman was on superb form and highlights for me included ‘Negative Space’ and when the NEA Jazz Master switched at one point from wooden recorder deliberately overblowing and squalling at the top of its register to step down to mould to the key of the soprano saxophone it was one of those moments that lifted the music into new areas folding an ancient Eastern mysticism into a modern jazz setting. Tonally magnificent particularly on tenor saxophone there was plenty of energy in the two sets emanating both from Liebman and the trio.

Of the original new album material ‘Black Tortoise’ an easy highlight was definitely the pick here too and towards the end of the evening the flat cap-wearing Florian Arbenz came out of his shell a little more and this was good to witness as more space was clawed back by him at the kit. An abiding overall impression was the sheer athleticism and joy in Michael Arbenz’s vaulting sense of abandonand his punchy left hand vamps did much to hold the big turn-out at the Vortex rapt for long spells. SG

Dalston at dusk, above, photo: marlbank

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Arty McGlynn has died

Irish state broadcaster RTÉ has reported the death of the guitarist Arty McGlynn at the age of 75. McGlynn was a giant of Irish music and played with Liam O'Flynn, Christy Moore and Dónal Lunny. He will be remembered above all for McGlynn's …

Published: 18 Dec 2019. Updated: 19 months.

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Irish state broadcaster RTÉ has reported the death of the guitarist Arty McGlynn at the age of 75. McGlynn was a giant of Irish music and played with Liam O'Flynn, Christy Moore and Dónal Lunny.

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He will be remembered above all for McGlynn's Fancy released at the end of the 1970s and as an icon of the Omagh traditional Irish music scene. Marlbank was fortunate to have heard Arty play back in January not long after the release of Botera playing in duo with his wife fiddle player/singer Nollaig Casey. McGlynn, whose career stretched back to the showband era, to high profile work with Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy, and which has also included several years as musical director with Van Morrison appearing on such beloved albums as Inarticulate Speech of the Heart and Avalon Sunset, was playing that winter 2019 night in the gallery bar of the Ardhowen theatre. The beautiful ‘Moran’s Return’ and ‘E Minor Reel/Lads of Laois’ medley were the pick of the first set, McGlynn’s sense of time and rock solid rhythmic discipline a marvel. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Arty McGlynn, top, photo marlbank.