Saturday performance in Memorial Hall: Linda Oh on acoustic bass, Ambrose Akinmusire on trumpet, Tommy Crane (of Be An Astronaut) on drums

This was first chance to hear the exciting New York trio of Manhattan School of Music graduates that released debut album Entry in 2009, albeit with Crane sitting in for drummer Obed Calvaire on this visit. In my review of the festival I wrote that on Saturday “Oh seemed competent, but tense in the trio”. It may have been completely wrong, but I thought perhaps Oh was preoccupied with her first appearance with Charles Tolliver, to come 10.30pm that night. The young, expatriate bassist had a lot on her plate, but she remained cool.

Opening, logically, with Numero Uno, they played tracks from the album — Fourth Limb, A Year From Now, Gunners, 201, Soul to Squeeze — as well as one new piece, the powerful To Not Be Broken. It was not warm music — it had emotion, but was not heart-warming, if that makes any sense. Akinmusire’s playing in To Not Be Broken was breathy and like dark chocolate icing: splendid, but not too sweet. He showed great command of the horn, producing light sensitivity, strength and lament as required. Oh’s bass in this outing seemed technically brilliant, but businesslike. But Sunday’s concert was to be a different story.

pics to come soon

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