12 October 2019
There was just a time when Antipodes were playing away, clear and sharp and purposeful, that the word distillate came to me. The band has been together for some time, but I doubt they play together all the time. Nonetheless, this was beautifully correct while also being quick and complex at times and neat in passing of solos and the like. Restrained, inventive, sharp, intense. These are all words that fitted. To me, that means a nice band with artistic cred. I loved all the solos: frequently from altoist Jake, fairly commonly from pianist Luke and guitarist Callum and surprisingly frequently from bassist Max. And I really liked Max's playing. Not overtly showy but interestingly intervallic and wonderfully complex rhythmically. Smiths' budget doesn't quite come to a Steinway, but Luke's presence and solos were exploratory and always apt none-the-less. Callum's guitar was quite subdued, but could soar with speedy crisp lines or impart lovely modernist colour with various pedals. Not sure I remember a solo from drummer Tim, but his sharpness with gentility was inspirational. They could lift in volume, but they could also sit with the quietest of presence. The music was all original, interestingly from around the band and funnily enough the basis of some effective stage patter from Jake. A few songs for relatives (Tim's grandmother Joyce) or personal discoveries or cosmic themes (Phobos AND Deimos), but Sleep was the funniest. Ask Jake about that one. For a few later songs, trumpeter Alex Raupach sat in and the presence remained with neat sight-read harmonies that added nicely to the understated sophistication. Great night listening to some seriously impressive contemporary jazz. A huge pleasure.
Antipodes played at Smiths. Antipodes comprises Jake Baxendale (alto), Luke Sweeting (piano), Callum Allardice (guitar), Max Alduca (bass) and Tim Geldens (drums). Alex Raupach (trumpet) sat in for a few tunes.