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Nick Malcolm’s Parallax, Be-Bop Club, Oct 1

October 1, 2010

Instablogging – right after the gig – because it put me in the mood.

Knew I was going to enjoy this within seconds…   A thrice repeated note, varying the rhythm , playing alone against gently stirring drums before the band kicked in. Malcolm calls this piece Glimmer, and it showed how he works to good effect. He’s not afraid to expose himself, play slowly, and use simple means examined at leisure. There’s plenty of technique on hand but deployed sparingly, when he gets up steam during mostly motivic improvisation, and a nice furry trumpet tone putting down lines which catch the ear in a way that reminded me of Bobby Bradford, say. (I love Bobby Bradford).

Add the redoubtable Alexander Hawkins, last seen in these parts, I think,  in the Convergence Quartet with Taylor Ho Bynum,  and you have a great band, rounded out by Olie Brice on bass, often doing the main timekeeping, and Mark Whitlam keeping things loose on drums.

Most of the pieces were Malcolm’s including Mr Carr (for Ian carr, by the sound of it) and VE Day, unexpectedly wistful, with one each from the pianist and bassist. The self-penned material was complemented by a fine treatment of Andrew Hill’s dusk and a couple of Monk tunes, which saw Hawkins in particularly fine form. I often go on about how many astonishingly good keyboard players there are at the moment, but it keeps on being true. In fact, on the strength of this evening,  there’s a remarkable profusion of gifted young musicians in general. And, contrary to some earlier evenings noted here, they are not all intent on ploughing the Blue Note furrow down the middle. Ambitious and absorbing music – a great evening.

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