Matt Ridley trio, Hen and Chicken, Nov 10
The Bristol stop on bassist Matt Ridley’s CD launch itinerary was well up to the standard of the dates warmly reviewed earlier on the tour by a couple of the UK’s best jazz blogs – Ian Mann caught them in Shrewsbury and Laurence Jones heard them for the JazzBreakfast in Birmingham.
Ian Mann’s review is characteristically thorough and generous, so there’s not much to add. They drew a modest but enthusiastic crowd in Southville, quite a few local musicians among them, and all four of the people in my little corner said, in one way or another, “hey, this is unusually good”. Ridley is yet another large talent, who I hadn’t had the chance to see before, appearing apparently fully formed and with a clutch of very interesting compositions. He has a marvellous understanding with the somewhat undersung pianist John Turville, who’s playing was a delight all evening. Jason Yarde, as expected, sparkled on the tunes he played – around half the set list.
Don’t know about the other gigs, but the only drawback on this particular night was a drummer who played consistently a little too loud for the room – even on brushes, a difficult feat surely! No problem for Yarde, as the soprano register cuts through, but it did mean straining slightly to catch bass and piano for much of the time, which grew wearing by the end of the evening. That, plus taking in a rich serving of new and quite complicated music, made for an evening that would have been even more satisfying had it been less tiring.
No such problems with the CD, which came home, and confirms this is a debut of rare quality. Quite a few of the most effective moments in the live show featured bass and piano in duo, notably the rather beautiful slow pieces which finished each set. This might have been because of the relief of the drums laying out, but comes across just as pleasingly on the recording. Whirlwind records hit rate is really impressively high.