21 January 2017

Images and formulas

Hannah James's back in town - it's been a while. There was a last minute hitch and a change of band, but nothing lost (the original band, Energetic Zen Quartet, will be at Smiths in Feb). This was still Hannah with Casey Golden, but in a drummerless trio with Eamon Dilworth. They've all played together in various incarnations over the years and here they've coalesced into this unusual format. They are all such impressive players, all competent, all setting and holding rhythms independently, so drums are a luxury but not necessary. The tunes were written by Hannah, with just two from Eamon, and they were substantial pieces: lengthy, intricate with varied parts, telling stories that were sometimes very obviously closely felt and listened. Slip, Number one, Last letter and Portrait; Snowfall, Three different kinds of light. These were all from Hannah, pensive, careful tunes, sometimes obviously deeply felt, observant. Three different kinds described the thoughts of a poet, and clearly spelt out, as music can spell out light. They were all deliciously developed by Eamon on trumpet or flugelhorn or Hannah herself with a few solos or very inventively by Casey on a real upright piano, even if the tuning was problematic. And Eamon's two tunes. Hannah invited Eamon to introduce them and we got a decent intro to Havelock Gardens (modelled after the Fibonacci sequence and music theorist Greg Sheehan who he'd spoken with in Singapore, presumably the location of the gardens). We didn't get an answer on his other tune (what did The hiding signify? Hiding as in hide and seek, or, hiding as in spanking) so Hannah had to play that tune uninformed. These tunes were a little more driven, especially Havelock Gardens with an odd melody, I think spelling 1,1,2,3,5,8. At least the solos were in a more usual time (in 6/8 if I remember correctly). The concert was all open and clear and nicely spelt out with deliciously capable playing. A lesson in jazz richness for some musos arriving for the next set. Wonderful. And we have another opportunity with Hannah and Casey back in late Feb with their Energetic Zen band, this time with drums.

James Golden Dilworth was Hannah James (bass), Casey Golden (piano) and Eamon Dilworth (trumpet, flugelhorn) and they played at Smiths.

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