Rogers, Parker, Sanders & Yeoh, Vortex Jazz Membership — distinctive improvising

The very best through-improvised performances conjure kind on the fly. And like one of the best, this pulsating gig from a first-time quartet advanced virtually as a plan. The interior core was a headlong collective rush that the band sustained to most impact. However it periodically modified temper or paused to showcase particular person virtuosity, earlier than as soon as once more coalescing and continuing at tempo.

A low hiss of mallets signalled the night’s begin, a spaced ping of cymbals set the heartbeat and an ominous surge of double bass implied risk. Pianist Nikki Yeoh added a scattering of notes, Evan Parker flurries of high-range tenor sax, and brittle-beat drums and helter-skelter bass intertwined. The band’s aesthetic coronary heart was in place.

Because the night progressed, snippets of melody handed via sax, piano and bass, an instrumentalist momentarily took the lead and rhythmic motifs echoed via the band earlier than fading away. The collective will was compelling, although the primary time this specific line-up had performed collectively was a short run-through to stability the sound.

That stated, the free-jazz credentials of three of the band are lengthy established and their taking part in all the time grips. Parker helped discovered the shape within the mid-Sixties, double bassist Paul Rogers moved to the capital a decade on and Mark Sanders is presently the saxophonist’s drummer of selection. Rogers is predicated in France, making his look one thing of a draw. However pianist Yeoh, although no stranger to improv, is greatest recognized for her grasp of the harmonically rooted mainstream, and it was she who promised the aspect of shock.

Right here, she crammed within the cracks with delicate, targeted and emotionally on-point musicianship and confidently took the lead. A sustained full-pedal rumble seething within the piano’s decrease register stood out, however so too did her summary balladry and rumbustious thumps that magnified the collective prepare of thought.

Elsewhere, Parker’s microtonal melodies and round respiration impressed, whereas bassist Rogers’ astonishing command of his seven-string bass continuously thrilled; the custom-built AAL has a cello vary, an additional bass string and 14 rear-mounted “sympathetic strings” that present a delicate undertow of shimmering sound. From low notes to excessive, he controls all of them and adroitly plucks whereas taking part in his bow.

However it was the quartet’s group power that carried the day and the bond between bass and drums that underpinned the band’s pressing pulse. The band had been in full swing when Yeoh’s discordant nursery-rhyme quote cued the eventful set to fade progressively away. No time for an encore — a second full home was ready on the steps.


This text has been up to date to right the spelling of Nikki Yeoh’s surname


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