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Coming up – Corey Mwamba, Bath Dec 6th

December 3, 2013

Already mentioned this in the new weekly roundup, but wanted to highlight a rare opportunity…   Vibes player Corey Mwamba is a captivating presence on any bandstand. He’s based in Derby and doesn’t visit the SW that often. Even rarer is the chance to hear his long-standing trio with ace bass player Dave Kane and drummer Josh Blackmore.

They got together five years ago, and as I understand it they just come together and play. That is, this is improvisation, impure and unsimple. So different every time. There is absolutely nothing rough and ready about it, in case you think that’s implied. It sounds, to me, beautifully considered and carefully weighed and weighted. Nor does it imply the broad range of noises which can be incorporated into “free” improvisation, sometimes to advantage, sometimes notsomuch. It just means they play their instruments and let the music unfold.

There’s a bunch of recordings on his website, and one “official” CD, which has been reviewed glowingly: “This is the sound of three minds working together in a utopian zone way beyond the individual ego – and producing something quite beautiful in the process”. That kinda suggests that, like me, the writer finds it difficult to describe but really likes it!

Chris Parker also had a pretty fair stab at describing Mwamba’s playing with the trio at a gig in London:

Mwamba, alive to every musical possibility thrown his way by his bandmates, was constantly selecting the precisely appropriate tone and timbre for the particular moment, either by changing gong-type (covered) mallets for xylophone-style (unwrapped) mallets, or by occasionally playing his instrument with his bare hands or a violin bow, drawing from its keys an astonishing variety of sounds, from mbira-like ‘muffled’ notes to ringing, sonorous, sustained tones or cascades of single notes, occasionally ending pieces with a subtle reverberating effect

Not quite sure what the deal is on Friday. There’s a workshop at Bath Spa university during the day, and the event blurb says “professional musicians and student performers collaborate for an evening of small band jazz”. No disrespect to the students, but I’m looking forward very much to the trio.

Venue, time and price details here

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