Tag Archives: Yuri Goloubev

Concert review: John Law’s New Congregation, The Forge, 15 June 2014

An afternoon of gothic horror and glockenspiels at The Forge Camden from a powerhouse trio embellished with a caramel-toned saxophonist.   That would be my Twitter review.

If John Law’s recent Boink! project felt like a work in progress, this New Congregation is fully formed and the new album These Skies In Which We Rust eagerly awaited.   For those of us who struggle with change in favourite bands, the loss of the mercurial Asaf Sirkis is more than compensated by the quietly brooding figure of Laurie Lowe on percussion.  And as always, there is the poised, focussed bass of Yuri Goloubev whose arco playing stops your heart.

We heard the trio in the first set with the bonus of Josh Arcoleo in the second (who made light work of a tricky time signature in Lucky 13), and together they introduced us to eleven compositions, many of whom will become old favourites for their catchiness (Set Theory, 789 )  or because they haul you up short – the jagged, stabbing, tumbling horror of Incarnadine Day,  the wry humour of To do Today: to Die.

In lesser hands, the electromagnetic pulses from outer space, the battery of keyboards, the fiddling with iPad, an Ibo drum,  the snatches of vocals, the bits of Brahms, the changes in mood and emotion through the concert would feel unsettling or gimmicky.  But not here, they are satisfying, fluent, glimpses of what promises to be a very good album indeed.  An extremely enjoyable afternoon.

If you would like to support this project, John Law’s New Congregation These Skies in Which We Rust, (and I recommend that you do) you can do so here.

Mary James 16 June 2014

Concert review: Maciek Pysz Trio at Pizza Express Soho London, 25 March 2014

Maciek Pysz_Pizza ExpressPerhaps as I write this I am subconsciously influenced by the proximity of the British Museum and the Elgin Marbles, but something about last night lodges in my thoughts under the heading ‘Timeless’, something about earthly nature being united with ideal heavenly beauty.   There were many moments in the opening concert at Pizza Express of guitarist Maciek Pysz’s Insight album tour that made a connection, for me anyway, between our physical presence, the transience of life and much deeper truths.

This is a trio of superstars, Yuri Goloubev on bass and Asaf Sirkis on percussion. They hadn’t played together since November but those intervening months have only served to deepen their harmony as a trio, their instinctive support of each other.  There was a darker feeling to the compositions, they took them slightly slower than the album, giving us the opportunity to relish the cool transcendency of Asaf’s drumming, the earthiness of Yuri’s mastery of his bass where the vibrations of his bowing come through the floor to connect you to the sound, and Maciek’s delight in tiny sounds like static floating in the air. His was a restrained performance, not showy, just impressive by what it omitted.

To celebrate the start of the tour, Maciek invited Tim Garland to join them for several compositions including a new piece by Maciek called Desert.  When Tim joined them for Those Days, the slightly Elizabethan dance feel of the original became a dark dense tango.  And Insights (with its many notes) was strongly syncopated.  But perhaps the zenith of this celestial evening was Ralph Towner’s Beneath an Evening Sky, which Tim has played with Ralph Towner.  The gentle serene soprano sax in conversation with the guitar was very special, with space for Yuri and Asaf to add to the quiet atmosphere, the tiny pattering steps of hands on udu drum grounding us again.

A couple of weeks ago I speculated whether this guitar/sax partnership would be Bill Frisell / Tom Rainey or Ralph Towner / Jan Garbarek.  It was neither of course,  it was subtle and mellow, and deeply satisfying.  After the final piece, the audience were silent for just a beat, we had been taken somewhere very special.

Try to see this wonderful trio somewhere on their tour. You will catch some of the magic.

Photo by Clement Regert.

Mary James 26 March 2014

 

Preview: Festival of the guitar: Stratford Jazz March-June 2014

guitaristI am calling it a Festival of the Guitar: It was a masterly stroke of scheduling – Stratford Jazz features some of the most exciting guitarists on the UK scene in the next few months so here’s my preview of six gigs worth turning out for.  What’s thrilling for me is that we get to hear very different styles of music, guitars, guitar playing and influences.

First up we host John Law’s Boink! on 12 March. The guitarist in question is Rob Palmer  who I last saw at Sherborne Jazz with Jon Lloyd and John Law. Boink!  is the latest project from John Law  which takes him away from acoustic pianos and into the world of electronica and interactive visuals. Intrigued?   In a recent interview in Jazz UK (issue 115) Rob said that the electronic backing tracks are composed leaving the musicians free to improvise 90% of the time.  It will be a combination of total freedom and totally composed music, he says.

No sign of electronics with our next guitarist, the acoustic and classical guitarist Maciek Pysz who makes his debut appearance at Stratford Jazz with his stellar trio of Yuri Goloubev on double bass and Asaf Sirkis on percussion on 26 March. Maciek is on an extensive UK tour promoting his album Insight  which received rave reviews across the globe last year. He appears at Stratford the day after an important gig at Pizza Express Jazz Club, Dean Street, London with a guest appearance by Tim Garland who recently signed to Edition Records.  Insight was my album of 2013 so I can’t really add more other than to say that the last time I saw this trio they blew the roof off Kings Place, gathering a larger crowd in the foyer than in some of the concert halls.  They filled the huge space, just as they filled the windy park at Ealing Jazz Festival last year. We can expect a more intimate, conversational evening of Maciek’s beautiful lyrical compositions, exquisite arco bowing from Yuri and sensitive percussion from Asaf.  As Maciek said in an interview in 2011,  ‘I do not want to be perceived only as a jazz guitarist, I’m an acoustic guitarist who mixes genres’ and therein lies his attraction. His influences are John McLaughlin, Ralph Towner and Al Di Meola yet he sounds like none of these, he has his own voice.

 On 9 April we host Phil Robson with his new organ trio featuring Gene Calderazzo on drums and Ross Stanley on Hammond organ.  Phil Robson’s discography contains a jazz who’s who of musicians from both sides of the Atlantic – Mark Turner, Michael Janisch, Christine Tobin (the celebrated Sailing to Byzantium), John Taylor, Liam Noble – and he brings a breath of New York to Stratford with his drummer, whose drumming John Fordham described as scalding!  Listening to their demo clip on Soundcloud I was minded of Steely Dan  – that was just the organ I imagine, but we can expect what Roy Stevens is already predicting will be the gig of the year at Stratford!

On 14 May we are joined by a newly formed band called The Orient Quartet. This features Dan Messore on guitar. Dan’s own quartet called Indigo Kid features none other than Iain Ballamy. Kevin le Gendre said of Dan ‘It’s fair to quote names like Pat Metheny and Frissell as references but the seam of jazz Messore is mining goes back further to such as Charlie Byrd and Jim Hall’.  Combine this with Steve Waterman‘s trumpet (as heard on Carla Bley’s albums on ECM) and you can see we have a very heavyweight new band.

On 11 June we feature Nic Meier who brings his glissentar with its eleven fretless strings which provides more than a touch of the orient to the sound, a heady mix of Turkey, central Europe, Iberia and the Americas.  His quartet features the artists who appear on his recent album Kismet. Look out for his flamenco treatment of Coltrane’s Giant Steps!

Our final guitarist is Jon Dalton on 25 June. Jon has been playing guitar since he was seven and cites Wes Montgomery as an influence. He brings a trio with a Hammond organ virtuoso so we can expect a vibrant set. If you like Gibson guitars then come along!

So join us for these wonderful gigs, and keep jazz alive outside London.

All gigs start at 8pm and tickets on the door are £10/£12 for Phil Robson, half price for students. We look forward to welcoming you to our jazz club and our Festival of the Guitar.

https://www.facebook.com/stratfordjazz.org.uk  

http://www.stratfordjazz.org.uk/ and https://twitter.com/StratfordJazz

Image by Joep Olthuis
Mary James 22 February 2014

Brief thoughts – Roberto Olzer Trio: Steppin’ Out

I first heard the Roberto Olzer Trio play the Sting cover Every Little Thing She Does is Magic and bought the album on the whim that any trio containing bass player Yuri Goloubev was worth listening to. My hunch was justified. This is a lovely album of jewelled lyricism by Italian pianist Roberto Olzer. The jaunty Sting cover is not typical of the album, it is memorable but then so are the other nine tracks. Roberto studied the organ and I think this shows in the delicate layers of sound that hang around like the echo of an organ in the fan vaulting of a cathedral, you look up and feel wonder. The album is very visual, each track seems to tell a story, from the unsteady Madman of the opening, to FF (Fast Forward) which seems to want to trip up each musician. Especially beautiful is tragic Gloomy Sunday where the bass is intent on wallowing in misery. The sound swells and falls, like good ideas dismissed out of pessimism. You almost need to listen to each track on its own, they are exquisite short stories you want to savour.

It was recorded and mixed by Stefano Armerio in June 2012 (he also recorded Maciek Pysz’s Insight). Deserves a wider audience, especially in the UK.

RobertoOlzer

Roberto Olzer, piano
Yuri Goloubev, double bass
Mauro Beggio, drums

http://www.robertoolzer.com/

Some thoughts on Rothko, megalithic architecture and jazz…

I felt at home in the 6000 year old Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, Paola, Malta. The shapes were familiar, I had seen them in Rothko. These mysterious underground chambers, majestic burial places, were excavated by hand using tools of antler and flint, the limestone smooth as silk. Their perfect proportions of aperture and lintel thickness struck me as timeless. These softly lit caverns awed us to silence. In our mind’s eyes, we heard the scrape of flint on stone, the drip of rainwater in winter, the quiet conversation of the workmen eons ago. In a museum in Valletta we saw some offerings to the dead taken from these chambers. A tiny sleeping woman, fashioned from stone, her winter skirt of sheepskin-like stone gently crinkled at its hem, her best skirt. Such humanity touches us across the millennia. Move forward to the 20th century, and Rothko. His Red on Maroon could overwhelm you. Those huge vertical columns and apertures look like windows or doors, the sombre tones shift as you gaze at them, making you feel uneasy. But there is nothing there.

Maroon by Maciek Pysz on his album Insight was inspired by this same Rothko. It’s contemplative, and unlike the other compositions on this album, this one is not sunlit, it is permeated by loss and reflective sadness. As I stood in one of the chambers of the Hypogeum I heard Asaf Sirkis’s gentle udu drum, it could have been the patter of rainwater, or a drum from 6000 years ago. Yuri Goloubev’s delicate bass playing could just as easily have been inspired by the painting or the need to ease our passage from life to the afterlife as I experienced in those cool chambers.

All too soon, we were in a sunlit street, wondering if we had imagined all that was beneath our feet, marvelling that such beauty could have been visualised by our ancestors and then made to happen.

the-hal-salfieni-hypogeum