7 November 2015
Eric's fingers all over it
What got me about Eric Ajaye's trio called Phingerprintz was just how big and full was the sound. After all, it was just a trio, and I had just come from a set by a jazz orchestra just down the road. It's a piano trio (loosely described) with Eric leading on electric upright bass and electric bass for the funkier tunes, with Damien Slingsby on a Nord with a range of keyboard sounds and Steve Richards on drums. Steve held it with steady and unflinching correctness and occasional fills. The busy-ness was from Eric and Damien, both busy and full-toned. Eric's slides and embellishments are a dream to hear, low strung and slithery and deft as they are. Damien was busy with comping or active soloing with organ or e-piano or whatever tone, subtly manipulating the Nord for edge and depth. Just three players, but lots to listen to and an implausibly big sound. Eric was a pleasure, too, as the genial host, starting with a "welcome to the living room" and continuing with genial and sincere anecdotes, for the room and also for listeners on the live ArtSound radiothon broadcast. I just caught the second set. I'm presuming the tunes are originals, given Eric's introductions. A '70s sounding Realisations, a swinger called Upside to the downside with a theme of optimism, a ballad called Nowhere. Then a change to electric bass for a slow groove called It's done as you believe, Cannonball Adderley's Mercy mercy mercy with a slap-bass twist, and another slap number dedicated to Bill Withers, Lean. Such a good little trio; I just hope they appear some more around town. Funky and big and with plenty of chops but also with a purpose and the most affable presence.
Phingerprintz was led by Eric Ajaye (bass) with Damien Slingsby (keyboard) and Steve Richards (drums).