I made it inside the club this week and what a delight. Ever conscious that what I hear and like won’t be to everyone’s taste, nevertheless you’d have to be pretty indifferent not to marvel a bit at this band. Barry has quietly been establishing himself as a pianist of choice for a host of British stars over the last few years. Tim Giles allegedly submitted the album he recorded, aged 14, with Iain Ballamy and Steve Watts for GCSE course work – that looks like a few years ago now though.
They wear this lightly however. They’re not a afraid to strip the sound right back and have just a simple line on the from the piano, or an insistent clatter from the drums and not much else. Recalling the gig now, I want to pair lots of descriptions that don’t quite fit together: quirky/ lyrical; rythmycally off-centre/ flowing; fragementary/ melodic. All of them seemed to be true but to not quite do the music justice. Most of the themes are originals from Barry Green. Sometimes there’ll be a racing, repetitive figure which is a bit wonky, or there’s a driving pulse but a really broken up melodic line over it. Sometimes the little clusters of notes make me think of Monk, other times it Ornette Coleman with that loose limbed swing holding it all together. Then there’s glorious fluent improvising from Barry or tenor player Mark Hanslip. Occasionally the whole band drops to a whisper, perhaps just piano and drums on a ballad. This is very assured, very jazzy (and I like!), contemporary playing – top drawer stuff.