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Jazz preview – Tori Freestone trio

October 5, 2016
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A trio tour calls at the BeBop club in a couple of days (Fri) that’ll be very well worth catching. Saxophone trios suit the room, somehow, and this is one of the best ones you can find currently in the UK – their last visit to Hotwells was memorable. The club’s billing says they are touring now to promote The Chop House CD. That’s not quite right: they have a splendid new recording, El Barranco, on the same label to promote.

That says two things. The same personnel appear, with Freestone joined by Dave Mannington on bass and the excellent Tim Giles on drums, so these three are well bedded in after several years together. And two releases on Michael Janisch‘s label is a strong indicator of their quality.

Both feature the leader’s cleverly wrought compositions, strong on hooks, with a few well-chosen covers. Freestone first caught the ear with the rousing quartet Compassionate Dictatorship, co-led with guitar wizard Jez Franks, who have three recordings to their name and were the first outfit some of us heard Jasper Hoiby play in. She seems to have diversified productively in the last couple of years, and will be part of a couple of other touring bands soon to visit Bristol. But the harmonic freedom of the piano-less trio suits her especially well.

It’s a classic format, and they play in the classic mould – you’ll hear hints of Rollins, and she’s acknowledged the influence of Chris Potter. I get flashes of Joshua Redman when I listen to the latest CD as well. That is, this is confident, go anywhere saxophone playing, in the service of story-telling solos. It is deeply rooted in the jazz tradition, but there are occasional folkish flourishes as well (Freestone sings and plays violin on occasion). If you like your contemporary reed players, from Julian Arguelles to Joe Lovano, this is a creative saxophone voice to savour.

There aren’t really any decent videos on YouTube, so here’s an album track. And if you can’t make the BeBop club gig there’s another date at Burdall’s Yard in Bath (Nov 18th).

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