‘Configuration’ – John Law’s Congregation

IT’S A PRIVILEGE to track the evolution of a musician’s career over many years, especially when, like pianist John Law’s, it simply goes from strength to strength. I first saw him perform at Brecon Jazz Festival in 2007 (the Art of Sound Trio with Yuri Goloubev and Asaf Sirkis); and, since then, through his solo and various Congregation ensemble albums, there’s been a clear sense of continual experimentation.

Read my full review at LondonJazzNews…

Released on 1 May 2020 on the Ubuntu Music label, Configuration is available directly from John Law’s website, Amazon and Apple Music.

 

John Law piano, keyboards, samples
James Mainwaring saxophones, guitar, electronics
Ashley John Long double bass
Billy Weir drums
with
Jasper Law electronics

johnlaw.org.uk

Ubuntu Music – UBU0036 (2020)

#recentlistening – April 2020 (3)

Tony Kofi – Another Kind of Soul
Tony Kofi, Andy Davies, Alex Webb, Andrew Cleyndert, Alfonso Vitale
Release date: 24 April 2020 (The Last Music Company)
lastmusic.co.uk / propermusic.com / amazon.co.uk

John Law’s Congregation – Configuration
John Law, James Mainwaring, Ashley John Long, Billy Weir, Jasper Law
Release date: 1 May 2020 (Ubuntu Music)
www.amazon.co.uk / music.apple.com

Ferdinando Romano – Totem
Ralph Alessi, Tommaso Iacoviello, Simone Alessandrini, Nazareno Caputo, Manuel Magrini, Ferdinando Romano, Giovanni Paolo Liguori
Release date: 24 April 2020 (Losen Records)
ferdinandoromano.bandcamp.com

Rachel Sutton – A Million Conversations
Rachel Sutton, Roland Perrin, Michael Curtis Ruiz, Paul Robinson, Stuart Brooks
Release date: 13 January 2020 (33Jazz Records)
rachelsuttonmusic.com / 33jazz.com / music.apple.com

Gary Husband & Markus Reuter – Music of our Times
Gary Husband, Markus Reuter
Release date: 26 March 2020 (MoonJune Records)
markus-reuter-moonjune.bandcamp.com

Huw Warren – Live at Ucheldre
Huw Warren – solo piano
Release date: 10 April 2020
huwwarren.bandcamp.com

#recentlistening – September 2019 (3)

Fat-Suit – Waifs & Strays
Mark Scobbie, Stephen Henderson, Grant Cassidy, Martyn Hodge, Gus Stirrat, Dorian Cloudsley, Fraser Jackson, Craig McMahon, Alan Benzie, Moss Taylor, Ciaran McEneny, Murray McFarlane, Alex Sharples, Mateusz Sobieski, Liam Shortall, Mhairi Marwick, Laura Wilkie, Katie Rush, Rhona Macfarlane, Lissa Robertson, Colin McKee, Sarah Leonard, Nicola Boag, Rachel Wilson, David Munn, Johnny Woodham, Corinna Hewat, David Dunsmuir
Release date: 4 October 2019 (Equinox Records / Birnam CD)
fatsuit.bigcartel.com/product/fat-suit-waifsandstrayspreorder

Anthropology Band – Anthropology Band
Martin Archer, Charlotte Keeffe, Chris Sharkey, Pat Thomas, Corey Mwamba, Dave Sturt, Peter Fairclough, Kim Macari, George Murray, Ben Higham, Mick Somerset, Nathan Bettany, James Mainwaring, Hannah Brady, Riley Stone-Lonergan, Alicia Gardener-Trejo
Release date: 27 September 2019 (Discus Music)
discusmusic.bandcamp.com/album/anthropology-band-90cd

MPH – Taxonomies
Alex Maguire, Martin Pyne, Mark Hewins
Release date: 27 September 2019 (Discus Music)
discusmusic.bandcamp.com/album/taxonomies-87cd

ISQ – Requiem for the Faithful
Irene Serra, Richard Sadler, Chris Nickolls, Naadia Sheriff
Release date: 27 September 2019
isqmusic.bandcamp.com/album/requiem-for-the-faithful-2

Matthew Halsall – Oneness
Matthew Halsall, Nat Birchall, Stan Ambrose, Adam Fairhall, Gavin Barras, Gaz Hughes, Rachel Gladwin, Mohamed Assani, Chris Davies
Release date: 27 September 2019 (Gondwana Records)
matthewhalsall.bandcamp.com/album/oneness

Overground Collective – Super Mario
Chris Williams, Julie Kjær, Rachel Musson, Mike Lesirge, Tom Ward, Cath Roberts, Paul Taylor, Raph Clarkson, Olivir Haylett, Ben Kelly, Noel Langley, Yazmeen Ahmed, Andre Canniere, Chris Batchelor, Paulo Dias Duarte, Jason Simpson, Dave O’Brien, Jon Scott
Release date: 27 September 2019 (Babel Label)
babellabel.co.uk

‘Fracture’ – Roller Trio

RollerTrio

SHATTERING any preconceptions of ‘jazz’, Fracture presents the breakaway sound of an impressively dynamic trio who know where they want to be heading with their musical creativity. Already with a much-lauded BBC Introducing performance to their name, as well as the kudos of Mobo and Mercury Prize nominations, Roller Trio’s second album consolidates their identity with a bold, exhilarating programme acuminated from their time on the road.

Hailing from Leeds, UK, the line-up of James Mainwaring (saxophone and electronics), Luke Wynter (guitar) and Luke Reddin-Williams (drums) radiates a confident, piquant spirit throughout ten instrumental numbers, indicating an unerring ability to absorb multifarious influences and regenerate them into powerful, unpredictable environments. Variously echoing the raw guitar energy of Troyka, the electro-ambiences of Brian Eno and perhaps even a trace of the Kaiser Chiefs’ driving rock, their satisfyingly complex grooves, electronics and improvisations are intertwined with accessible (memorable, even) hooks and melodies which hold the key to its overall appeal.

Engaging from the outset, Reef Knot spins to Luke Reddin-Williams’ quite impossibly beat-skipping pulse, yet the trio hold the whole concept incredibly tight – and James Mainwaring displays the most furiously fluid tenor capabilities, often in tandem with the similarly agile fret-work of Luke Wynter. Doris continues to push and pull rhythms at will with almost ska-tinged audacity, and the gear changes and slip-timings keep it well above interesting. The brief echoic guitar mystery of Low Tide introduces an early album highlight… High Tea, buzzing with hypnotic, electronic Eastern inflections. Tenor sax and guitar share its mystical mantra, whilst Mainwaring utters beautifully pop-phrased melodies; and, again, Reddin-Williams’ high energy at the kit is extraordinary.

Blistering 2 Minutes to 12 exudes TV thriller urgency with fabulously precise stop/start phrases; and Tracer floats across a smoothly-electronic soul soundscape reminiscent of Sade/Matthewman, its gently ticking beat providing the platform for luxurious tenor improvisations. The enquiring hook of guitar-led Splinter paves the way for lyrical-then-flamboyant soprano sax (shades of Portico), the importance of melody ever-present; and the apparent post-bop jazz amiability of Mango conceals a darker central section, revealing a band who are adept at ‘turning on a sixpence’ to create that element of surprise.

Three Pea Soup summons the guitar rhythmicity of Average White Band, albeit with an edge – and, sure enough, the trio take it off into spectacularly saturated, time-sig-challenging new levels (‘hard, at times, to believe this is a trio); and finally, the improvised, slow-burning, levitational guitar/electronics atmospheres of Tightrope suggest uncertainty, with Mainwaring’s crying, falling soprano adding to the intensity.

Released on 8 December, as a debut on the band’s own Lamplight Social Records label (which, they explain, provides them with total control of their output as well as making provision for future projects), Fracture is one of 2014’s most vibrantly original trio offerings, and it’s no surprise that Roller Trio are gaining a reputation as one of Europe’s most exciting new jazz talents – take a listen.

 

James Mainwaring saxophone, electronics
Luke Wynter guitar
Luke Reddin-Williams drums

rollertrio.com

Lamplight Social Records – LSRCD001 (2014)