Gareth Williams Trio, Future Inn, Bristol, Sunday 19th December

Power Trio in action
Photo by Bob Woodburn

I’ve no idea why Gareth Williams decided to call his trio the Power Trio but it’s certainly apt. They boil with energy that bursts out it  in tumultuous solos from Gareth, the sideman (Laurence Cottle on bass and Ian Thomas on drums) or simply through an infectious pulse that has everyone swaying. This wasn’t raucous music (…well maybe sometimes). The repertoire, whilst predominantly Williams originals, felt like standards albeit reworked with a gloriously rich harmonic vocabulary. The leader seems umbilically connected to the American blues and bop beginnings of the music whilst infusing it with a zany humour and quirkiness.  This band skip through complex music at blistering tempos in odd time signatures  seemingly without breaking sweat. When they did play standards (and there were a few), Williams sang. It was a delight to hear Every thing I Love, It could happen to you, love in Vain done this way. Given the uncomprisingly dense harmonic and melodic language of the band it could have been jarring but here seemed absolutely appropriate. Every now and then the little red Nord keyboard was pressed into action and we were treated to a bit of electro – funk. This also cued a couple of thunderous drum solos from Ian Thomas. Being a piano-phile I could have lived with out the Nord incursions but they did make a certain sense in the context of the leaders lateral lines of repartee and musing. By the time we left, I felt like I’d been treated to a visit to the world of Gareth Williams and its was dazzling, exciting and just a bit exhausting.  Another cracking evening at the Future Inn with some of the finest musicians in the land.



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