06 June 2009

Other side of the coin

Dave, Bill and Ed returned to ArtSound, this time with Sebastian, for an outing with their originals band, Quantum Theory. I wrote of the Dave, Bill and Ed trio broadcasting only two weeks ago. They played pure and refined sets of standards, as is their way at their Belgian Beer Café residency. They get lots of practice there, and it’s evident in their smooth, but worthy, interpretations of the standards repertoire. But the trio also reincarnates as Quantum Theory with Sebastian McIntosh on sax. They played a wonderful set at Jazz Uncovered, performing a transcription of James Muller’s album, Thrum. This night at ArtSound included a couple from that set, along with a few modern standouts, Wayne Shorter’s Fee Fi Fo Fum, Jerry Bergonzi, In a sentimental mood, and Miles’ Seven steps to Heaven. But the main features were originals, by Sebastian and Dave. I was amused by the first title, Dave’s Ambiguous stomach feeling. The tune itself was not at all upsetting, being a steady, unison melody dropping into blues solos. Sebastian’s M was a lively swing, which eminently suits Bill and Ed. Ang Street (?) was slow and thoughtful; Where is Mr Heisenberg was offered to Physics geeks (obviously University banter) and was lively and richly syncopated. Dave’s Where are we going was another modern melody-rich piece and a nice vehicle for bass. These are an easily identifiable outfit. Ed is busy and precise and committed. Bill is similarly committed, swinging with a solid groove and soloing with clear melodic intent. Dave is the distilled, clean guitarist, so unlike the many busy players on his instrument. Sebastian speaks intelligently on tenor, imploring and pleading and often falling into sprays of a-rhythmic notes and extended dissonance. Two sides of a coin: the standards trio, and the modern originals outfit. I really can’t claim to have a preference – they are both central to the styles that I love.

Quantum Theory comprises Sebastian McIntosh (sax), Dave Rodriguez (guitar), Bill Williams (bass) and Ed Rodrigues (drums). They broadcast from ArtSound’s studio for Friday Night Live.

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