In true experimental style, mixing two bands together to see what happens can lead to explosive results - none more so than when thrash/punk/noise-jazzers, World Service Project, collided with no-nonsense German power group, Zodiak Trio, at the Vortex as part of the Match&Fuse exchange programme.

 

World Service Project have earned a reputation for their disconcerting, quick-fire compositions and, as expected, dressed in their Droogish white shirts with braces and bowler hats, WSP’s occasional punky singing and the band’s incisive, stabbing dissonance rebelliously jangles the jazz nerve. This contrasts starkly with the composed stage presence of the brass and rhythm sections and it falls to lanky gang-leader and keyboard player, Dave Morecroft, to provide the breathless energy which mirrors the pacey music as he sweatily directs the band, shouting out the bar count before interjecting with screaming synth as the whole band changes direction like a flock of birds. It proves a whistle stop blast through songs from their aptly titled 2010 debut album, Relentless, and 2013 follow-up, Fire in a Pet Shop. The final song of their set, ‘Barmy Army’, chronicles Morecroft’s frustrated support of his local football club and starts with a jaunty rudimental march from drummer Liam Waugh which wafts of fat-bellied hooliganism with its rhythmic instrumental shout of “come and ‘ave a go if you fink you’re ’ard enough” - which sums up this fun-loving band’s incorrigible style.

 

Next on stage, Zodiak Trio also incorporate elements of sound design into their sets but sit on the jazz family tree closer to folk and fusion styles which allows the audience a chance to relax into their seats having sat on the edge during the previous act. Playing songs from their 2012 album, Acid, while still at the chaotic edge in places, the trio is less jabby punk more whammy-bar prog rock, dreamy electronica and aggressive-yet-intricate heavy metal – all emanating from guitarist Andreas Wahl’s tiny, futuristic headless guitar. Around this lush backdrop of sound, trumpeter John-Dennis Renken snakes a penetrating trumpet-line while drummer Bernd Oezsevim provides the cohesion, moving confidently between a range of dynamics and unusual time signatures into straightforward funk and rock. On the penultimate song, ‘Fotoalbum’, an ethereal number worthy of a Get The Blessing album, he is particularly impressive and displays creative mallet and brush-work to find unearthly metallic scrapings and flat thumps dampened by his elbow while still laying down a laid back but insistent groove.

 

In keeping with the philosophy of the event, for the night’s grand finale WSP rejoin to the stage for the collaborative piece - a fused rendition of Zodiak Trio’s ‘Nachteulen’ with bits of WSP spliced in. Although you can hear the joins there is a sense of fun on stage with both drummers sitting smiling behind the same kit and each band clearly enjoying the challenge of playing each other’s compositions. It’s obvious a real bond has been established between the bands who, despite the language barrier and fundamental differences in styles, have proved fluent in the jazz vernacular and make compelling Match&Fuse counterparts.


– Steve Owen

 

For more info go to www.matchandfuse.co.uk

 

Jazz-fusion drummer, Dave Weckl, is to mark 30 years of sponsorship with Yamaha Drums by holding a series of drum clinics and one-day intensive workshops at percussion shops and music venues around the UK in November. Best known for his work in Chick Corea’s Elektric and Akoustic bands, Weckl has worked with leading musicians including Mike Stern and George Benson as well as releasing a number of albums in his own name and as the Dave Weckl Band.

He has since gone on to develop a reputation as a music educator and the UK tour will see Weckl demonstrate his approach to drumming at a series of clinics and one-day intensive workshops for smaller groups, culminating at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London before taking the tour to the US.

Dates for the UK leg of the tour are: The Drum Centre, Dublin (intensive session Sat 22 Nov, clinic Sun 23 Nov); Manchester Drum Centre (clinic Sun 23 Nov); Drum Shop, Newcastle (clinic Tues 25 Nov); Rhythm Base, Glasgow (clinic Wed 26 Nov, intensive session Thurs 27 Nov); Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, London (intensive session Sat 29 Nov, clinic Sun 30 Nov).

– Steve Owen

For further information see www.daveweckl.com

 

Avant jazz-rock three-piece Roller Trio are set to blast back into action with their eagerly awaited second album, Fracture, which they will self-release on their newly launched Lamplight Social Records label on 24 November. The band’s eponymous 2012 debut album saw the Leeds trio shoot into the limelight thanks to both a Mercury Prize nomination for ‘Album Of The Year’ and a MOBO Award nomination for Best Jazz Act. Building a fanbase through countless gigs – including a headline performance at Ronnie Scott’s and shows across Europe – the new material has been road tested and played extensively over the past two years.

Featuring saxophonist James Mainwaring, guitarist Luke Wynter and drummer Luke Reddin-Williams the band named Lamplight Social Records after the experimental music night Mainwaring promotes in Leeds, while the label will also release his new improv heavy Tipping Point project. The new material includes the single ‘High Tea’ and other live favourites such as the Indo jazz-rocker ‘Doris’ and Wynter’s brooding tune, ‘Splinter’. Roller Trio’s head-spinning blend of effortless-yet-tricky time signatures, barrelling sax and guitar riffs and Reddin-Williams’ relentless beat assault – all capped with blistering improvisation from all three band members – sounds even more refined and hard-hitting on the eagerly awaited new album.

The band play a short series of dates in the run up to the album launch in November – these include The Wardrobe, Leeds (23 October), The Vortex, London (24 October), The Bimhuis, Amsterdam (19 November) and Jazz In The Round at the South Bank Centre as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival (22 November). The new single ‘High Tea’ can be downloaded free from the Roller Trio Bandcamp page here or streamed below. See the December / January double issue of Jazzwise for an exclusive interview with the band – issue on sale 27 November.

– Mike Flynn

For more info go to www.rollertrio.com

Capetown-born pianist-composer Philip Clouts (pictured above right) is set to take his new quartet to Scotland for the first time on a tour that begins on 1 November. Clouts is steeped both in the music of his native South Africa and in a diverse range of world music which he has explored to critical acclaim with his larger outfit ZubopGambia (featuring BBC World Music award winner Juldeh Camara) and which continues to inspire his compositions.

His quartet, which features saxophonist Tom Ward, of the Madwort Saxophone Quartet and Porpoise Corpus, former Yasmin Levy bassist Tim Fairhall and Yamaha Jazz Scholarship-winning drummer Dave Ingamells, plays uplifting melodic jazz in moods ranging from lilting calypso to driving latin American grooves, hypnotic swirling melodies, klezmer, township rhythms and gospel-fired hymns.

After living in London for many years and building a career that has included appearances at Ronnie Scott’s, Symphony Hall, and Glastonbury and Womad festivals, Clouts, who is the son of respected South African poet Sydney Clouts, moved to Dorset where he has added music reflecting the sights and sounds of the area to his canon.

He issued the first fruits of this new phase on the album Sennen Cove in 2010, attracting airplay on BBC Radio 3, Jazz FM, UK Jazz Radio, and Radio Bremen. A further album, The Hour of Pearl, followed in 2013, receiving enthusiastic reviews from leading UK jazz magazine Jazzwise and The Guardian and wide exposure on radio. The album, which takes its name from American author John Steinbeck’s description of “the interval between day and night when time stops and examines itself,” will form the basis of the new quartet’s repertoire on this tour.

Tour dates are: Auchenblae Village Hall (with special guest, singer Cindy Douglas 1 Nov); The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh (2 Nov); The Inn at Lathones, St Andrews (3 Nov); Lemon Tree, Aberdeen (4 Nov); Woodend Tennis & Bowling Club, Glasgow (5 Nov); and Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline (6 Nov).

– Rob Adams

For more info go to www.philipcloutsquartet.co.uk

The Berlin Jazz Festival has announced the acclaimed British music writer, Richard Williams, is to become artistic director of the festival from 2015. He will succeed current artistic director, the critic and broadcaster Bert Noglik, who will conclude his curatorial duties with the festival’s 50th anniversary edition this October.

Williams was editor of Melody Maker and Time Out in the 1970s, during which time he was also the inaugural presenter of the BBC music show The Old Grey Whistle Test. He was head of A&R at Island Records from 1973-76 and subsequently went on to write for many national British newspapers and magazines, including The Times and The Guardian, as well as writing a number of books including the noted jazz book The Blue Moment.

Williams said of the festival: “I ask myself not what jazz was but what it is, and what it can become. For me, the Berlin Jazz Festival has always represented a platform for possibilities and provocations. The festival has a duty to continue that work by bringing the public into contact with the artistic vitality and diversity of the present day.”

The director of the festival, Thomas Oberender, said of Williams: “When it comes to the evolution of jazz, Richard Williams has kept an eye on the most varied paths of musical development over the past decades. His attitude is fresh and cosmopolitan. He comes to Berlin as a specialist who is familiar with all the jazz conventions but has nonetheless remained unconventional himself.”

– Steve Owen

The Berlin Jazz Festival runs from Thursday 30 October to Thursday 2 November.
For further details go to www.berlinerfestspiele.de/jazzfest

 

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