Dee Byrne's Entropi Radiate Amid Rough And Tumble At Kings Place Album Launch



The most striking thing about Moment Frozen, the second release from British altoist Dee Byrne and her Entropi quintet, is its sense of space. From the opening notes of the title-track, with Byrne and trumpeter Andre Canniere playing beaming holds as keyboardist Rebecca Nash, bassist Olie Brice and drummer Matt Fisher rummaged around underneath, the music felt expansive. The whole ensemble seemed to radiate energy. Elsewhere choppy groove games collapsed into rough and tumble improvisation. The swirling 'In The Cold Light of Day' brought moments of serene lyricism from Canniere and one of several inventive features for Brice (all dark wood and warped strings). And in the second half Byrne really came alive, tearing into her solos, maiming and fracturing notes with thuggish encouragement from Fisher and Nash – each rhythm section hit like a yell of "get stuck in!"

The programme notes for this concert referenced late period Miles Davis and the spiritual jazz of John Coltrane, but the music reminded me of sounds from closer to home. The finale, 'Elst Pizarro', brought one of those merry-go-round sequences beloved by Kenny Wheeler and John Taylor – blocks of cryptic chord changes that look nightmarish on the page, but feel like a dream to play over. There was a lot of lofty concept in those programme notes too. We were told that Moment Frozen embodies, "the sequential, macrocosmic concept of 'order, unpredictability, then descent into disorder'." Surely, that's true of most contemporary jazz though: anything that combines composition and free improvisation. I don't think Entropi are breaking new ground, but when they play like this who cares? 

– Thomas Rees
– Photo by Carl Hyde