Jake McMurchie -Two Trios, Be-Bop Club, Friday 24th February

When life takes over blogging takes a back a seat I find. So busyness, and a fair of bit of fun, mean my recent outing to the Be Bop club remains unblogged. Usually that means it would stay that way, but this particular gig has stayed with me and I’ve found myself enthusing about it more than once to any willing (or merely trappped) listener. So I’ll try and log why here. Jake stands out as a distinctive voice on any stage, and Bristol folk are treated fairly regularly in a variety of different settings when he’s not on Get the Blessing duties (a quick rifle through this blog throws up at least half a dozen different bands over the last three years of so).

So what was special about this particular evening? The first trio teamed Jake up with bass player Will Harris and singer Emily Wright. They were captivating. The Oliver Nelson classic Stolen Moments epitomised the thrill of this line-up. Somehow between the funky, swinging rythmic figure on bass with artful use of singing intervals and chords from Will, and the beautifully chosen and blended harmonies between tenor and voice, this drumless trio evoked the sound of that Blue Note era band (with up to seven members) that recorded the original. Gorgeous. The varied repertoire from Joe Henderson compositions, through uber-contemporoary Dave Douglas to modern master Kenny Wheeler tunes with a seasoning of off the beaten track standards, were all given an intriguing twist by spooky riffs from the tenor and more grooves from the bass with bursts of impeccable swing. Emily Wright’s clear toned delivery, using wordless vocals as much as lyrics at times gave the sound an almost folk like qulaity  to blend with the jazzy harmony. La Vie en Rose became a very hip, dark sounding contemporary piece with this treatment. That the individuals are all supreme musicians goes with out saying here, the ensemble they’ve created in this trio is what created a bit of magic. The whole was most definitely more than the sum of the parts.

Writing less about the second trio (Will and Jake again, with mark Whiltlam on drums) doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this set, a nice contrast to the first with a set of Jake’s own compositions, his instinct for a great tune and ‘just so’ shift of harmony to embellish repeated figures made it thoroughly engaging. Its the first set I’ve kept returning to though. More please!


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