Saxophonist Tim Armacost triumphant at The Verdict

 

Tim Armacost is here tonight on one of only three UK dates as part of a Europe-wide tour promoting his new record, Time Being. His last visit to London was as part of the New Standards Quartet, the ideal showcase for his awesome technique and deep familiarity with the classic language of the Great American Music. His latest project is an exploration of the wider-ranging freedoms possible within the sax-plus-rhythm format pioneered by Rollins in the 1950s – a real test of stamina and imagination for the frontman.

After a typically effusive welcome from host Andy Lavender, the trio stampede into 'Alawain' – Austrian drummer Klemens Marktl sets up the kind of loping waltz groove that Elvin Jones deployed so effectively with Coltrane, and Armacost takes flight over the top. His tone light and clear, his articulation amazingly clean and precise, he rides Marktl's boiling polyrhythms, circling round a single repeated note like a predator stalking its prey, suddenly swooping and diving into peals of rippling phrases. Michael Janisch's accompaniment on bass has the solemn, drone-like quality of Jimmy Garrison's work, and there's even a 'Love Supreme' quote from the leader, but where Coltrane's music had the urgent, yearning quality of the unresolved seeker, Armacost offers a contrasting display of almost academic poise and restraint in his controlled tone, clean articulation and the precise confidence of his ideas. It's a bravura start – "Marktl doesn't mess around" says Armacost – and there's no mistaking the powerful musical intelligence on display from the whole trio.

'Time Being' introduces a sombre theme played in unison with the bass – Marktl colours on the kit whilst simultaneously fixing an errant cymbal stand. The tune features Armacost's experiments with multiple tempos, and though the device is used as a brief bridging device rather than the main component it's still an impressive feat to pull off as naturally as the trio make it sound. '1 And 4' has an extended solo intro from Janisch, demonstrating the breadth of his musical imagination with all kinds of extended techniques, slides and whistling harmonics – Armacost switches to soprano, his tone still rounded and mellilfluous and Marktl's brushes solo descends imperceptibly into silence, so that for a split moment he's playing the air. "We love the real acoustic atmosphere", Armacost says appreciatively.

Armacost

'Darn That Dream' receives a stately treatment benefitting from another typically adventurous statement from Janisch, and the full glory of Armacost's burnished tone. '53rd Street Theme' simply flies, Armacost delivering a Joycean stream-of-consciousness of bop language, never descending into cliché, while the rhythm team perform time-stretching miracles behind him. They end with a display of protracted musical high-jinks that shows that you can take the music as seriously as your life but still retain a sense of humour. 'Teo' is a bop swaggerer, with Marktl on coruscating form and Janisch delivering a tremendous performance, worrying at a phrase and picking it apart, always in flawless time. Kenny Wheeler's 'Mark Time' is played on soprano and with reverence, with Marktl demonstrating an effortless four-way independence on drums.

This is muscular, impressive, impassioned and intense music, hard swinging and fiercely intelligent, but the good-humoured interplay between the three participants in the conversation, and the leader's relaxed confidence, make this a warm affair. They even return to encore a gut-bucket blues, though it's hard to imagine such a clean-cut, urbane trio playing anywhere remotely insalubrious.

– Eddie Myer
– Photos by Rachel Zhang

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

Obituary: Sue Steward

Obituary: Sue Steward

One of Songlines' founding contributing editors, and Jazzwise writer, Sue...

Read More.....
John Abercrombie 1944 – 2017

John Abercrombie 1944 – 2017

The final two recordings by guitarist John Abercrombie for the...

Read More.....
Mansur Brown and Yussef Dayes go supernova with the Jimi Hendrix Songbook

Mansur Brown and Yussef Dayes go superno…

Rising star guitarist Mansur Brown and exciting drummer Yusef Dayes...

Read More.....
Omar Puente and Melt Yourself Down get Canary Wharf Jazz Fest moving

Omar Puente and Melt Yourself Down get C…

The Canary Wharf Jazz Festival has been successfully putting on...

Read More.....
Video Exclusive for Sam Braysher’s ‘Dancing In The Dark’

Video Exclusive for Sam Braysher’s ‘Danc…

Emerging UK sax talent Sam Braysher releases his intimate new...

Read More.....
Dhafer Youssef and Get the Blessing get Gaume grooving

Dhafer Youssef and Get the Blessing get …

  When Get the Blessing call for audience participation, they're startled...

Read More.....
Kinch and Carroll cap Sligo capers

Kinch and Carroll cap Sligo capers

The combined festival and summer school in Sligo have had...

Read More.....
Southampton Gets Ahead As New Jazz Venue Prospers

Southampton Gets Ahead As New Jazz Venue…

  (Pianist Jason Rebello guests on the Talking Heads stage with...

Read More.....
Edwards and Castle pursue chaotic pulse at The Verdict

Edwards and Castle pursue chaotic pulse …

  'Crossover' is a word much employed by critics when talking...

Read More.....
Mark Guiliana makes mark as Jazz Middelheim's artist-in-residence

Mark Guiliana makes mark as Jazz Middelh…

Jazz Middelheim is a great jazz fest situated in front...

Read More.....
Marius Neset, Nils Landgren and Tonbruket light up Ystad Jazz Fest

Marius Neset, Nils Landgren and Tonbruke…

Now in its eighth year the Ystad Jazz Festival (not...

Read More.....
Hyelim Kim and Alice Zawadzki get K-Music kicking

Hyelim Kim and Alice Zawadzki get K-Musi…

This year's edition of the London Festival of Korean Music...

Read More.....
Binker & Moses 'Fete By The River' – Video Exclusive

Binker & Moses 'Fete By The River' –…

  Clap your pies on this vid exclusive from award-winning London...

Read More.....
Steve Lehman and Pat Metheny Lead The Moldejazz Pack

Steve Lehman and Pat Metheny Lead The Mo…

Flying north-west from Oslo on a propeller aeroplane, the first...

Read More.....
Redman's Rhythmic Reveries Live The Dream At Manchester Jazz Fest

Redman's Rhythmic Reveries Live The Drea…

Joshua Redman (top), looking super svelte in suit and dicky...

Read More.....
Anoushka Shankar, Hiromi and Shabaka and the Ancestors get Jazz à Juan jumping

Anoushka Shankar, Hiromi and Shabaka and…

After the terrible events on the Promenade des Anglais on...

Read More.....
Vote Now for 2017 Parliamentary Jazz Awards

Vote Now for 2017 Parliamentary Jazz Awa…

This year's Parliamentary Jazz Awards will take place on 10...

Read More.....
Wayne Shorter Goes Large At Gent Jazz Jamboree

Wayne Shorter Goes Large At Gent Jazz Ja…

As expected, the Gent Jazz Festival performs its characteristic trick...

Read More.....
Buck Clayton Legacy Band bounce with Billie at Pizza

Buck Clayton Legacy Band bounce with Bil…

There's said to be a minor resurgence in swing in...

Read More.....
Denys Baptiste ascends with The Late Trane at Jazz Cafe

Denys Baptiste ascends with The Late Tra…

While the venue's refit, which considerably extends the standing area...

Read More.....
#Jazz100: Manchester Jazz Festival weighs in with a ton of hope

#Jazz100: Manchester Jazz Festival weigh…

This year's Manchester Jazz Festival marks jazz's centenary with a...

Read More.....
Impressions of Montreux Jazz Festival 2017 Photo Diary

Impressions of Montreux Jazz Festival 20…

Montreux Jazz Festival has a special place among all jazz...

Read More.....
Donny McCaslin and Miles Mosley make for memorable Istanbul Jazz Festival

Donny McCaslin and Miles Mosley make for…

Tuesday night in Istanbul, and Korhan Futaci's lyrics are being...

Read More.....
Piano stars, Shorter, Cullum, Collier and more light up Umbria Jazz 2017

Piano stars, Shorter, Cullum, Collier an…

Umbria Jazz is one of the largest festivals in Italy...

Read More.....
Ollie Howell, Yazz Ahmed and Daniel Casimir for late nights at Elgar Room

Ollie Howell, Yazz Ahmed and Daniel Casi…

The autumn line-up of the Royal Albert Hall's Elgar Room...

Read More.....
Heavenly Dave Gold BBC session set for vinyl delight

Heavenly Dave Gold BBC session set for v…

A prime slice of 1970s jazz funk from the Dave...

Read More.....
Restored Vinyl Relations For Prime Parker Nugget

Restored Vinyl Relations For Prime Parke…

Those still savouring the sounds of Jeff Parker's The New...

Read More.....
Dave O’Higgins Zips to Zog – Video Exclusive

Dave O’Higgins Zips to Zog – Video Exclu…

Leading UK saxophonist Dave O'Higgins returns with a new quartet...

Read More.....
Notes Of A Native Song: Stew & The Negro Problem Probe James Baldwin's Legacy At Southbank's Underbelly Fest

Notes Of A Native Song: Stew & The N…

Raoul Peck's recent documentary I Am Not Your Negro served...

Read More.....
Stanley Clarke slaps and strums it up for UK tour

Stanley Clarke slaps and strums it up fo…

Iconic US bassist Stanley Clarke hits the road for a...

Read More.....
John McLaughlin biography turns up the volume with Kickstarter campaign

John McLaughlin biography turns up the v…

Colin Harper, author of Bathed In Lightning: John McLaughlin, the...

Read More.....
Ravi Coltrane, Danilo Pérez and Phronesis make for a memorable  Montreal Jazz Fest

Ravi Coltrane, Danilo Pérez and Phronesi…

Montreal Jazz Festival is a family affair, two thirds of...

Read More.....
Arve Henriksen and David Helbock make Mountains of sound at Südtirol Jazz Festival

Arve Henriksen and David Helbock make Mo…

The Südtirol Jazz Festival is unique among jazz festivals in...

Read More.....
Gnawa Power: Bill Laurance mixes it up with Moroccan maestros

Gnawa Power: Bill Laurance mixes it up w…

The mid 20th century saw several jazz A-listers working with...

Read More.....
Tommy Smith lights up for Trane tribute

Tommy Smith lights up for Trane tribute

Saxophonist Tommy Smith launches his new quartet at the upcoming...

Read More.....
Herbie Hancock, The Thing and Pine/Omar for EFG London Jazz Festival

Herbie Hancock, The Thing and Pine/Omar …

Iconic jazz keyboardist Herbie Hancock and rowdy Scandinavian trio The...

Read More.....

ABJazzWise


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

@blackdirtstudio you heard Cheer-Accident's new one?
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
Morning office listenings: Mammal Hands, Jeff Parker and Tony Buck @thrilljockey @jeffparkersound @MammalHands… https://t.co/n5CD2yo6lG
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

Sign up to the Jazzwise monthly E-Newsletter

 

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA