Eric Vloeimans Fugimundi Trio, Bath Festival, Pavilion, Sunday 30th May

This first set of another festival double bill had a definite twinkle in its eye. Trumpeter Vloeimans set the tone by drawing our attention to his silver shoes (as opposed to clogs) and asserting that in Holland, heterosexual men wear pink trousers, all before an exquisite, pure toned note had issued from his trumpet. The first sounds were scuffles on the guitar and wiffles from the trumpet with a few abstract chords from the piano thrown in. I had no idea what to expect from this trio so was wondering if we were in for an hour of spontaneous abstraction but no, a beautiful melody appeared through the mist with the trumpet sounding like a flute and a gentle rocking pulse developed. This band were having such fun together and listening intently. It was like watching three mates jam together chasing ideas almost before they’d appeared from one or other partner, but make no mistake: the level of musicianship was supreme and the genres sampled varied. So after the floaty, lightly anthemic opener, we had a tango like workout, followed by a sort of jazz soul groove tune. Guitarist Anton Goudsmit sounding by turns like a stripped down country – esque player (pace Bill Frisell) and then a muted rock ‘axe hero’ in between hip, contemporary jazz solos.  There was a fair bit of capering from Vloeimans, jokily inviting us to think about the boundaries between pop and jazz before stepping back playing a heart stopping hymn like lament. This tune, Joel, seemed to have everyone on their edge of their seats. They left the stage to thunderous applause. We were hugely entertained, there were times when, substituting pianist Harmen Fraanje for an accordion, I could imaging them in a town square somewhere in Europe and others where the stage of jazz festival was the only place they could be, such was the interplay and imagination on display. What a great gig, the sort you leave feeling just a bit more alive.

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