9 February 2014
Again so soon
Twice in one week ; another stunner although a very different concert. This was Steve Barry playing a trio set with Alex Boneham and Tim Firth. I heard this as contemporary original compositions and a few standards; long right hand solo lines from piano with sparse left hand chordings; richly effective syncopated feels from bass with exciting drums of flow and dynamics and gushing fills; several long and tortuous written heads played unison by piano and bass; dynamics that moved gradually to surprise with their intensity.
Steve had written one tune from two favourite standards, Conception and East of the Sun West of the Moon, and two tunes influenced by books, Plato's Republic and Kundera's Unbearable lightness of being. Joe Henderson's Inner urge was just a hard swing workout at considerable pace. More than you know was one standard more than I knew and they played it with slow, heavy, unrelenting walking eight-to-the-bar swing. The standard rewrite of Conception/East-West reimagined with a contemporary latin-ish bass. I asked the barrista how she found it. She was obviously not a jazz freak but she responded that she liked it, as she does all good music. I'm more one-eyed. This was a technical tour-de-force and I can't compare with contemporary indie or other, despite a good feel or intelligent lyrics. This was music pure and simple played with abounding skills. Twice in three nights; great! This trio is going in the studio later this month to record another album. It will clearly deserve a listen.
Steve Barry (piano) led a trio with Alex Boneham (busiest bass) and Tim Firth (drums) at Smiths.