21 July 2014

Meanwhile at Smith's

It's Thursday, so it must be concert night, and this was no different, rushing from the Drill Hall to Smith's to catch the second set of the Tim Clarkson Trio. Mozart to Led Zep? Works well for me. Tim Clarkson's trio is Tim on tenor, Alex Boneham on bass and Cameron Reid on drums. It's amazing how new names come out of the woodwork: I hadn't caught up with Tim or Cameron. Alex is a regular. I only heard one set, so just five tunes, mostly penned by Tim, but with a rendition of Led Zeppelin's Kashmir. This was sharp playing on well written contemporary jazz fare. Strange, spikey, staccato melodies that speak of post-modern irony to my ears; no chordal instruments; frequent counterpoint and unison from bass and sax; lots of odd times and open space. Tim sometimes sounded of klezmer to my ears, slightly indeterminate in pitch, toying with rhythmic divisions and sequences and delicate of tone. Alex was immensely firm in tone, rich in underlying counter melody, solid in ostinato and a force in solos. I was sitting with John Mackey and we shared amazement at the end of one particularly expansive solo in Bow wave. It was a stunner of speed, mobility and invention and not the only one. Cameron sat oddly high on his drum throne with bass and drums sharing a musical space but travelling contrasty paths. The roiling busyness underlying the sax was an exercise in this style of chordless contemporary jazz trio. That was Bow wave. Hope of the most audacious kind was an airy four with a riff melody that passed from sax to bass, and a staccato bass under sax solo. Kashmir was bass chords and rock drums and a unison riff underlying a geometric drum solo. Kinship was a flighty eight feel with bowed bass, hand drumming and sparse melody. Superpounds was the political theme for the night (an ode to lack of control over our lives), all riff-based, rock rhythms, pushy, sweaty and so right as the final number. This was interesting contemporary jazz with some great playing and a few stunner solos.

Tim Clarkson (tenor sax) led his trio with Alex Boneham (bass) and Cameron Reid (drums) at Smith's.

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