Bowie’s Berlin swings to Dylan Howe's Subterranean beat

After the months of work that went into arranging charts, assembling musicians and arduously sourcing outmoded sounds to recapture the cold, ambient textures that underpinned David Bowie's Low and 'Heroes' LPs of '77, Dylan Howe's resulting, swing-licked Subterranean - New Designs On Bowie's Berlin album was a five-star success. Even Bowie himself went as far as to crawl out of hibernation to commend the drummer's efforts, deeming the record “top notch”. Then Howe pushed the panic button by booking a tour to road-test his raw, yet meticulously multi-layered record live, and the punishing work schedule resumed.

But here, all those rehearsals later, in an appropriately-arty venue, on a dim-lit stage, against a huge screen showing scratched-up visuals of '70s Berlin, tonight's band rolled out the record with ease. From the opening bars of the album's ghostly title track, Howe's faint, but fidgety swing feel appeared almost wired to a restless hook from double bassist Dave Whitford, leaving pianist Ross Stanley to plant gentle chords in the spaces unoccupied by Steve Lodder's sci-fi-style synth work.

Completing this A-list line-up for this Kings Place appearance, saxophonist Andy Sheppard played magnificently, slouched back into the dense, dry ambience on stage, concocting soft, scribbley lines away from the mic, or leaning in to max out melody lines with Stanley. A drum break-built ‘Weeping Wall’ (which was dramatically complimented with old, bleached clips of the Berlin wall behind the band), was trailed by a ruthless arrangement of Bowie rarity ‘All Saints’, throwing the band into a full-pelt swing out. With Stanley, Sheppard and Howe now firing on all cylinders, the piece could have passed for a passage from Coltrane's ‘Resolution’, had it not been for the some electrifying, laser-guided synth gymnastics from Lodder that prog-star Rick Wakeman would have approved of.

As the screen flickered and flipped to fuzzy films of German military camps, checkpoints and car factories, another frantic ride cymbal pattern sprung ‘Neukoln (Night)’ to life. Soon growling with low, strummed bass, the tune's dark, descending theme - a mess of soprano sax, strident piano and a ghostly, sustained celeste-style synth sound - swirled around the room.

Later, the familiar strains of ‘Art Decade’ and ‘Warsawa’ stirred real excitement amongst the Bowie nuts, the latter launched by Howe executing strong timpani-style tom rolls with mallets and Whitford clung to a single-note drone. Sheppard approached the bleak, repetitive melody here with long breathy lines against the flutter of brushes, presenting Stanley with a runway in which to slowly build what could have been the solo of the night.

By the time Lodder ushered in ‘Moss Garden’ mimicking the original with samples of running water and koto, the whole hall was hypnotised. This trance-like state from the off could account for some great solos tonight drifting by without applause, which for a typical jazz gig would appear atypical. But this was no standard jazz show. This was Howe's live eulogy to Bowie, his moment of glory, a great reading of a real rock standard, rolled out with such ease and conviction it should be seen to be believed. By both jazz heads and Bowie buffs alike.

– Mark Youll (review and photo)

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Breaking News

Grooving in Glynde – Ciro Romano talks about five years of Love Supreme Jazz Festival

Grooving in Glynde – Ciro Romano talks a…

The Love Supreme jazz festival enters its fifth year as...

Read More.....
Oli Rockberger video exclusive ahead of album and live dates

Oli Rockberger video exclusive ahead of …

British soul-jazz singer/pianist Oli Rockberger is set to release his...

Read More.....
Brigitte Beraha and John Turville create live jazz score for The Umbrellas of Cherbourg screening

Brigitte Beraha and John Turville create…

An unmissable special screening of the 1964 French New Wave...

Read More.....
Campaign builds to rename Williamsburg Bridge in Sonny Rollins’ honour

Campaign builds to rename Williamsburg B…

It's been four years since Sonny Rollins, 86, last took...

Read More.....
Boogie at the Bandstand – the Love Supreme low-down

Boogie at the Bandstand – the Love Supre…

Ahead of the start next week of the fifth edition...

Read More.....
Tin Men and the Telephone and Tord Gustavsen for Ronnie’s Piano Trio Fest

Tin Men and the Telephone and Tord Gusta…

The fourth edition of the Ronnie Scott's International Piano Trio...

Read More.....
Marcus Miller, Chick Corea and Charles Lloyd top Blue Note at Sea cruise 2018

Marcus Miller, Chick Corea and Charles L…

Following the success of the inaugural Blue Note at Sea...

Read More.....
Alice and John Coltrane Celebration, Nik Bärtsch and Eliane Elias added to EFG London Jazz Festival

Alice and John Coltrane Celebration, Nik…

A raft of new concert hall additions have been announced...

Read More.....
Laila Biali and Idang Rasjidi Syndicate shine at Borneo Jazz Festival

Laila Biali and Idang Rasjidi Syndicate …

Set against the lush tropical gardens that stretch down from...

Read More.....
Doom Crooners Dale Cooper Quartet & The Dictaphones: Torch Song Cult

Doom Crooners Dale Cooper Quartet & …

Britanny-based brigands Dale Cooper Quartet & The Dictaphones have forged...

Read More.....
Ollie Howell ‘Knew’ video exclusive ahead of UK tour dates

Ollie Howell ‘Knew’ video exclusive ahea…

Fast rising drummer Ollie Howell recently released his second album...

Read More.....
Theo Crocker, Neil Cowley Trio and Martin Taylor step up for Glasgow

Theo Crocker, Neil Cowley Trio and Marti…

The 31st edition of the Glasgow Jazz Festival, running from...

Read More.....
Geoff Simkins, Nikki Iles and Dave Green out to lunch at Cadogan Hall

Geoff Simkins, Nikki Iles and Dave Green…

Although billed as individuals, this effectively was the Geoff Simkins...

Read More.....
Marco Colonna and Filippo Vignato Among Homegrown Heroes At Novara Jazz, Italy

Marco Colonna and Filippo Vignato Among …

  A ritual accompanies the end of every concert at this...

Read More.....
Jazz In The Round, Arena and Bandstand names complete Love Supreme Line-Up

Jazz In The Round, Arena and Bandstand n…

A final flurry of additional performances have been confirmed for...

Read More.....
Folk-Jazz on the Fjords and Elephant9 get gnarly at Nutshell Jazz

Folk-Jazz on the Fjords and Elephant9 ge…

Suddenly, a burly Viking saxophonist is softly blowing a ballad...

Read More.....
Loueke and LRK light up Brussels Jazz Weekend

Loueke and LRK light up Brussels Jazz We…

Real Brussels is nothing like the Brussels of politicised fiction...

Read More.....
Maisha celebrate the Alice Coltrane Songbook at Church Of Sound

Maisha celebrate the Alice Coltrane Song…

The spiritual jazz legacy of Alice Coltrane is set for...

Read More.....
Soft Machine fire-up Elgar Room

Soft Machine fire-up Elgar Room

British jazz-rock legends Soft Machine will be firing up the...

Read More.....
Brad Mehldau Trio, Georgie Fame and Camilla Beeput shine at Bath Festival

Brad Mehldau Trio, Georgie Fame and Cami…

Brad Mehldau, Georgie Fame with Guy Barker's Big Band and...

Read More.....
Tenth edition of Made in the UK rolls up to Rochester

Tenth edition of Made in the UK rolls up…

This year's 10th edition of the Made in the UK...

Read More.....
Django Bates Salutes Sgt. Pepper’s 50th anniversary with album and six nights at Ronnie Scott’s

Django Bates Salutes Sgt. Pepper’s 50th …

Jazzwise can exclusively announce that Django Bates, cover star of...

Read More.....
John Surman scoops Ivor Novello Jazz Award

John Surman scoops Ivor Novello Jazz Awa…

Brit-jazz sax great John Surman has won the Ivors Jazz...

Read More.....
Polly Gibbons gets passionate at Pizza Express Jazz Club

Polly Gibbons gets passionate at Pizza E…

Having been a fan of Polly Gibbons' vocal and songwriting...

Read More.....
Sax Star Stetson Plays Historic Brighton Picture House

Sax Star Stetson Plays Historic Brighton…

  Sax powerhouse Colin Stetson plays a one-off solo show in...

Read More.....
LUME Launch Follow-Up London Fest

LUME Launch Follow-Up London Fest

  Those genre-bending bastions of the UK's new jazz wave LUME...

Read More.....
Global Fusions and 25 for 25 Commissions Fire-Up EFG London Jazz Festival

Global Fusions and 25 for 25 Commissions…

Some exciting international jazz names are among the latest additions...

Read More.....
Joshua Redman, Phronesis/Engines Orchestra and Cottonopolis for Manchester Jazz Festival line-up

Joshua Redman, Phronesis/Engines Orchest…

The line-up has been announced for this year's Manchester Jazz...

Read More.....
Harpist Bzhezhinska strums up whole-hearted homage to the Coltrane legacy

Harpist Bzhezhinska strums up whole-hear…

  One of the capital's lesser known jazz venues, Toulouse Lautrec...

Read More.....
Norma Winstone and Interplay show how it’s done

Norma Winstone and Interplay show how it…

When a top vocalist is in such high demand and...

Read More.....
Andrew McCormack accelerates with Graviton album launch

Andrew McCormack accelerates with Gravit…

Award-winning pianist Andrew McCormack is set to make a dramatic...

Read More.....
Corea Crowns Host Of Cheltenham Charms

Corea Crowns Host Of Cheltenham Charms

A successful jazz festival is made in the mix: the...

Read More.....
The Rolling Stones give Jazz FM Awards the blues

The Rolling Stones give Jazz FM Awards t…

Rock'n'roll icons The Rolling Stones walked away from last week's...

Read More.....
Penguins Flip Filmic Treat At Bristol's Colston Hall

Penguins Flip Filmic Treat At Bristol's …

GoGo Penguin have always had one eye on the dancefloor...

Read More.....
Intakt Fest Goes International At The Vortex

Intakt Fest Goes International At The Vo…

  Given the fact that Swiss record company Intakt has been...

Read More.....
Shabaka Hutchings, Donny McCaslin and The Rolling Stones among Jazz FM Awards winners

Shabaka Hutchings, Donny McCaslin and Th…

The fourth edition of the Jazz FM Awards, presented by...

Read More.....


Qobuz-ad

 

Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

@rrpgeditor Great!
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
RT @RollinsBridge: @Jazzwise @jazzfm @WmsbgNews @chrisphilips @sonnyrollins Thanks for the piece! Please follow our efforts at @RollinsBrid…
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
Grooving in Glynde – Ciro Romano talks about five years of Love Supreme Jazz Festival https://t.co/lEm2cwKO7K https://t.co/JYM4f4GHQ6
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
Not many better than Cheer-Accident https://t.co/LsQZtD9m7N @cuneiformrecord @cheeraccident @RecCollMag @ProgMagazineUK @mysterylesson
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@deebyrnesax @SouthgateGina great lampshade helmet - like a Laura Ashley Lord Vader @lumemusiclondon
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

Sign up to the Jazzwise monthly E-Newsletter