A healthy sized crowd greeted the visit of the Arabella Sprot Group at the Wine Vaults last thursday; a happy contrast to my down in the mouth musings in the last post, and a notable diversion from the regular Wine Vaults pattern of house rythmn section plus guests. Regular bass man Wade Edwards was on the door and cheering on this young band. Arabella, leader and contributor of most of the compositions, has met the rest of the band in the last year whilst studying in Austria for part of her languages degree. And what a fine band they are. The finnish pianist Tumo Uusitala and the rhythm section of the Austrian pair Florian Muralter and Peter Lenz have really blended and locked beautifully on the snappy rhythmic underpinning of many of Sprot’s compositions, with floating, intropsective phrases providing the themes. I arrived to the clattery 12/ 8 groove of The Inkling that had an almost Coltran-esque sound to it as the band dug in. The leader’s tenor playing had a lovely warm, slightly plaintive tone and worked up a furious head of steam on the busier numbers. On the odd time piece ‘No Such Luck’ Uuusitala built a beautiful, lyrical solo from singing simple phrases to furious rippling arpeggios. This was a band clearly enjoying working out on these lyrical, grooving contemporary pieces, with a few nods at inspirations – a couple of Kenny wheeler classics made it into the set . There’s much more to come from these players.Check them out if you get the chance. A cracking end to the club’s season with a great programme to come in the Autumn by all accounts.
Arabella Sprot Group, St. James Wine Vaults, Thursday 21st July