A gale force blast of sax and trumpet pinned my ears back as I poked my head round the door of the BeBop club last night. I don’t think it was a comment on my late arrival; the band where in the middle of an unstructured collective workout. My tardiness aside, venturing out on an inhospitable Friday was richly rewarded. Entropi, led by alto player Dee Byrne have just released their second album, Moment Frozen and had touched down at the BeBop in the middle of a tour. They sounded like a band who’ve played together a lot and Dee Byrne’s writing like it’s been refined, the gold dust extracted and then refined again. There was variety, with pieces as likely to take off into one of those free excursions as groove over a jagged riff.
Entropi’s is a formidable line-up with most of the band leading projects of their own. Andre Canniere on trumpet was at the club earlier in the year. Rebecca Nash on keys, a Bristol native is well know here but well established on the national scene. Regular bass player Ollie Brice, a former Bath resident, was unavailable but it was hard to imagine a better dep than Will Harris. Matt Fisher on drums was dazzling with the flow of ideas and articulation of grooves.
The hubbub that had greeted me soon subsided and they were on to the next piece Cold Light of Day. It was cued in by an Will Harris’ expansive bass solo that condensed to a cycling tone poem, creating palpable tension and anticipation in the room. The band took up the rolling pulse and Canniere built an intense solo, shading between dark flurries and long arcing, austerely lyrical lines before passing the baton to Byrne. The band goaded her on with snappy riffs. The collective imaginations unpacked a lot of ideas from the deceptively simple source material. It was the pattern for the evening. Stelliferous Era got an evocative and thoughtful intro from Rebecca Nash, making the most of the sparkling Fender sounds from the Nord before Fisher lit fires and stoked the energy from behind the kit under a series of fine solos. It’s Time bustled along and Leap of Faith’s stabbing riffs grabbed the attention. There was a slightly dark, angular turn to much of the music.
It was all delivered with confidence, commitment and authority. There’s something special about this band. Well worth the trip down to Bristol’s longest running club, now well into its third decade.