WorldService Project top rip-roaring Ronnie’s triple bill

A sold-out Ronnie Scott’s revelled in three dynamic faces of young British jazz on Tuesday night. The Peter Edwards Trio’s 2014 debut album Safe and Sound impressed with a soulful, intense depiction of atmosphere, from the impressionistic piano of ‘Southern African Sunrise’, to the Cuban lilt of ‘Meet You at El Malecón’. Edwards (pictured below) and bassist Max Luthert (who have played together for the equally soulful Zara McFarlane) are deeply entwined throughout, while drummer Ed Richardson (Moses Boyd on the album) disrupts their rhythmic bond with complex, layered grooves. They broke no rules, but the mood pictures are lovely.


There’s a whiff of the boyband sophomore about Henry Spencer’s fresh-faced presentation of his quintet Juncture (pictured below), but there’s nothing immature about the tone of his trumpet and flugelhorn, tender, soulful and dangerously cracked round the edges. Spencer’s solo work is at the centre of everything, oozing heartache on ‘Remember Why’ and ‘Knocked Back, Knock Forward’, and sorrow on ‘Eulogy’, for his grandfather. Guitarist Nick Costley-White supports with some appealing melodic tracery on ‘The Survivor and Descendant’, while drummer David Ingamells balances the smoothness with neurotic rhythmic texture.   


The crazy blazers and bowler hats of headliners WorldService Project (pictured top), like Downton Abbey run by anarchists, topped the bill with a mesmerising combination of brutality and dark humour. Their live sound, blending bleeding chunks of free brass noise with the ironic sentimentality of tracks like ‘Requiem for a Worm’, has only got better. The razor-sharp rhythmic edges are polished, the ensemble is painfully slick, and you can smell the rubber burning from their stylistic handbrake turns. Raph Clarkson (trombone) and Tim Ower (sax) mix raw brass power to awesome effect, leader Dave Morecroft channels a unique blend of Johnny Rotten and John Cleese on synth and spooky vocals, while drummer Liam Waugh holds the free-jazz freak-outs together with a fierce punk beat.   

– Matthew Wright

– Photos by Carl Hyde

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