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

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.....
Special London Screening Of Ascenseur Pour L'échafaud

Special London Screening Of Ascenseur Po…

As part of the global celebrations for International Jazz Day...

Read More.....
Norma Winstone’s Interplay line-up for Leamington Spa

Norma Winstone’s Interplay line-up for L…

To coincide with International Jazz Day, Leamington Spa-based promoters In...

Read More.....
Alice Zawadzki and Gwyneth Herbert sing with Sam Lee’s Nightingales

Alice Zawadzki and Gwyneth Herbert sing …

Adventurous Mercury Prize-nominated folk singer Sam Lee's nature-bound concert series...

Read More.....
Empirical Pop-Up Jazz Lounge Bops to Birmingham, London and Liverpool

Empirical Pop-Up Jazz Lounge Bops to Bir…

MOBO Award-winning Brit-jazz four-piece Empirical are set to take their...

Read More.....
Freddie Gavita Quartet Make Lasting Statement At Transient Launch

Freddie Gavita Quartet Make Lasting Stat…

Ostensibly a CD launch gig to promote his new album...

Read More.....
Jazz Em Agosto 2017 Line-Up Announced

Jazz Em Agosto 2017 Line-Up Announced

  Lisbon's annual summit of sonic adventure Jazz em Agosto returns...

Read More.....
Sounds of Denmark dances back to Dean Street’s Pizza Express Jazz Club

Sounds of Denmark dances back to Dean St…

Making a splash with its inaugural weeklong run in 2016...

Read More.....
Lakeside Luminaries: Møster!, Ståle Storløkken and Sheila Jordan all shine at Vossa Jazz

Lakeside Luminaries: Møster!, Ståle Stor…

  To begin with, Vossa Jazz has the advantage of its tranquil...

Read More.....
The Necks Head For Brighton

The Necks Head For Brighton

Those fabulous folk at Dictionary Pudding Promotions and Brighton Alternative...

Read More.....
 Auand Label's Bisceglie Breakout Strikes Right Balance Between Freedom And Finesse

Auand Label's Bisceglie Breakout Strike…

  Since its inception in 2001 the Auand imprint has emerged...

Read More.....
Jazz-Rock Guitar Genius Allan Holdsworth Dies Age 70

Jazz-Rock Guitar Genius Allan Holdsworth…

The passing of Allan Holdsworth on Easter day has robbed...

Read More.....
Kamasi Washington Divulges Truth With Young Turks Global Deal

Kamasi Washington Divulges Truth With Yo…

Hot-shot saxophonist and bandleader Kamasi Washington has announced the release...

Read More.....
Freddie Gavita for Ronnie’s album launch – Transient Video Exclusive

Freddie Gavita for Ronnie’s album launch…

Fast rising British trumpeter Freddie Gavita is set to launch...

Read More.....
Ethan Iverson to leave The Bad Plus and Orrin Evans steps in

Ethan Iverson to leave The Bad Plus and …

Minneapolis piano trio pioneers The Bad Plus have announced, after...

Read More.....
Mancio/Broadbent Seduce With Sensuous Songbook At Ronnie's

Mancio/Broadbent Seduce With Sensuous So…

Introduced by the great Ian Shaw, a sold out Ronnie...

Read More.....
Jazz FM Awards to honour Charlie Watts and feature performances from Donny McCaslin, Georgie Fame and Laura Mvula

Jazz FM Awards to honour Charlie Watts a…

This year's Jazz FM Awards are now set to take...

Read More.....
ACT 25 Magic Years Birthday Concert gets Berlin buzzing

ACT 25 Magic Years Birthday Concert gets…

Twenty-five years and still going strong is some achievement, especially...

Read More.....
Sun Ra Arkestra surf the spaceways at Lewes Con Club

Sun Ra Arkestra surf the spaceways at Le…

  It's a long way from Chicago's East Side to the...

Read More.....
Jasper Høiby's Fellow Creatures Unleash Their Inner Beast At The Spin, Oxford

Jasper Høiby's Fellow Creatures Unleash …

  Jasper Høiby's new band announced themselves with a bass riff...

Read More.....
Nitin Sawhney and Rachel Cohen celebrate Abram Wilson Foundation's fifth anniversary with gala gig

Nitin Sawhney and Rachel Cohen celebrate…

The Abram Wilson Foundation, the charity set up by the...

Read More.....
Kamasi Washington and Miles Mosley bring West Coast heat to Love Supreme

Kamasi Washington and Miles Mosley bring…

Los Angeles tenor titan Kamsi Washington, double bass dude Miles...

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

@RecCollMag @DragonForce Is that an independent robot functionary or a man-operated spacecraft?
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
Many happy returns to the Art Ensemble of Chicago's Famoudou Don Moye @Cafeoto @Freejazzblog @mysterylesson… https://t.co/3v6f0MUym2
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
This is it, right here. Love all. xxx https://t.co/YyIGKjTlny
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
Happy Birthday To The Cosmic One #SunRa @Cafeoto @SunRaUniverse @StrutRecords @gillespeterson @jazzfm… https://t.co/gEaNQ5L7to
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

Sign up to the Jazzwise monthly E-Newsletter