Tag Archives: Review

BEYOND, AND WITH, WORDS

Ellen Kirkwood Ellen Kirkwood performs in [A]part with Gian Slater and Sandy Evans.    Image: Roger Mitchell

REVIEW

Wangaratta Festival of Jazz, November 2-4, 2018

Music speaks for itself. That’s what visiting saxophonist from Holland, Yuri Honing – a man of few words – told the audience in Wangaratta’s Performing Arts Centre Theatre on Saturday night during his quartet’s second festival outing.

He’s right, of course. The music delivered at Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues this year conveyed some powerful messages and crossed cultural boundaries without needing the embroidery of words.

Honing, with his acoustic quartet Wolfert Brederode (Holland) on piano, Gulli Gudmundsson (Iceland) on bass and Joost Lijbaart (Holland) on drums, spoke eloquently with his tenor saxophone in two concerts featuring compositions from their 2017 album Goldbrun. These guys knew each other and the pieces well, the horn soaring and gently musing over the responsive rhythm section in long explorations that varied in energy and intensity, but often seemed darkly brooding. Honing’s concerns for Europe and love of works by Wagner and Richard Strauss were inspirations, but spelled out only in the music.

Yet words and music are often inextricably linked. That relationship can be fraught – how can what we experience in a live concert possibly be described adequately in a string of superlatives? Yet the strength in soul singer Tina Harrod’s exceptionally clearly articulated songs from her album City of Longing, performed on Sunday in WPAC Theatre, came certainly from her strong vocals, but also in the hard-hitting lyrics.

Vikram Iyengar

Vikram Iyengar in The Calling by Adam Simmons  Image: Roger Mitchell

Festival artistic team member Adam Simmons introduced his deeply personal work The Calling, part of his The Usefulness of Art series of concerts, with words, yet it was the performance by his Creative Music Ensemble with Afrolankan Drumming System and Vikram Iyengar, helped by screened visuals, that conveyed the colour, noise, mayhem and moving moments of his journey so effectively.

I have reviewed The Calling previously from a performance at fortyfive downstairs, but for Wangaratta festival patrons this must have surely been a lively, energetic and virtuosic musical journey full of colours, flavours and fun, yet also most moving.

In St Pat’s Hall on Sunday, multi-instrumentalist Adrian Sheriff and drum maestro Ted Vining took the audience on a fascinating journey that came with stories, but conveyed much via the simple musical exchanges between two accomplished players. I wish I’d been there for all of this.

In a festival that did not suffer at all from its forays into other traditions and cultures than the American jazz pantheon, there seemed to be – and these words are probably not ideal – concerts for the brain and concerts for the heart. In other words, some concerts took us on conceptual journeys and others just swept us up and carried us along with their vigour, energy or beauty.

Tilman Robinson

Tilman Robinson at work with the AAO.    Image: R. Mitchell

On Friday night in WPAC Theatre the Australian Art Orchestra presented Sometimes Home Can Grow Stranger Than Space, in which three composers – AAO director Peter Knight, Tilman Robinson and Andrea Keller – explored the lives of people damaged by war.

In Knight’s Sharp Folds, which offered glimpses of lingering parental grief, the individual words – voiced by Georgie Darvidis – were not all that easy to pick up amid the engrossing and intense accompanying music. Keller’s Bent Heart, which draws on the stories of three women, conveyed their angst so effectively that no words were needed, although the epilogue’s prayer “Cry heart but never break” stays with me. Robinson’s I Was Only A Child brilliantly drew on the rhythm and cadence of a recorded interview between a young student and a war veteran to show how awareness of war turns to nostalgia, its lessons unlearned. In content reminiscent of Lloyd Swanton’s monumental work Ambon, performed at Wangaratta in 2015, this AAO outing used music compositions and words most effectively, their messages lingering.

On Saturday evening in WPAC Theatre Sirens Big Band performed [A]part, trumpeter Ellen Kirkwood’s suite responding to world issues such as climate change, the refugee crisis and the omnipresence of the internet. As with Keller’s Bent Heart, this monumental work – comprising sweeping vistas, swelling and receding soundscapes and powerful solos from Sandy Evans on saxophone and Keller on piano – needed no words to convey drama, tension and agitation, as well as loss and suffering. Gian Slater’s vocal contributions were minimal but integral to this work, which was riveting from start to finish.

Alex Stuart

Alex Stuart performs with his quintet.    Image: R. Mitchell

The quintet that expatriate Australian Alex Stuart brought from his home city Paris treated us to compositions from their album Aftermath, which explored the darkness in the world while celebrating its beauty and defiant joie de vivre. This versatile band – Stuart on guitar, Irving Acao on tenor saxophone and keyboards, Arno de Casanove on trumpet, keys and vocals, Antoine Banville on drums and Ouriel Ellert on electric bass – delivered sophisticated, varied and polished pieces in two outings. Stuart was unselfish in leading this collegiate ensemble, which displayed plenty of verve and drive along with intricacy and finesse in thoughtful compositions.

Sumire Kubayashi (Japan) at the piano.

Sumire Kubayashi (Japan) at the piano. Image: Roger Mitchell

Another standout Australian artist with recent overseas experience was trumpeter Niran Dasika, who demonstrated confidence and soloing depth forged in Japan through playing a lot of gigs there. Clashing concerts prevented me hearing the whole of all but one of Dasika’s many festival outings, but on Sunday morning he joined Japan’s Sumire Kuribayashi on piano to play her Pieces of Colour compositions with Shun Ishiwaka (Japan) on drums, James Macaulay on trombone and Sam Anning on bass, with Adam Simmons on tenor saxophone for some pieces. This music was exquisitely beautiful, at times playful and also powerful, further proof that collaborations between Australian and Japanese artists bring great results.

I missed hearing the product of one such collaboration – James Macaulay on trombone leading the Hishakaku Quartet – in order not to miss superstars Andrea Keller on piano and Sandy Evans on reeds in an unprecedented duo at Holy Trinity Cathedral. Gender ought not to be an issue in music, yet this set of mostly ballads demonstrated the power, profundity and beauty of compositions and musicianship by two amazing women. Lilac Embers, dedicated to Richard Gill, was a delight.

Evans was among the host of jazz luminaries to perform in WPAC Theatre on Sunday in the dectet Ten Part Invention, introduced by the ensemble’s founder, John Pochee. In a spirited set that included Roger Frampton’s And Zen Monk, Paul Cutlan’s Nock on Effect, Evans’ Fortea Two and Miroslav Bukovsky’s no holds barred Plain Talk, this band showed why it remains at the peak of large ensemble achievements in Australia. My highlight was reedsman Andrew Robson’s Poets Must Keep an Eye on the Moon.

Germany’s Trio ELF was an instant hit with audiences at their Saturday evening concert in WPAC Theatre and on Sunday in the newly styled St Pat’s Hall with tables and a bar. Walter Lang on piano, Peter Cudek on acoustic bass and Gerwin Eisenhauer on drums added a little electronic wizardry and lots of humour to their melodically and rhythmically appealing compositions. Their approach made excellent use of sudden dramatic dynamic variations, beginning each piece with a simple tune repeated, adding effects, pumping up the volume and intensity via bass and expansive work from Eisenhauer, before returning to the fluid simplicity of the piano notes. Their cover of punk band Blink 182’s Down was a favourite.

Recently formed Quattro Club’s Saturday morning outing sported such an array of whistles and bells that I tried closing my eyes to concentrate on the feast of exploratory textures and timbres. Joel Hands-Otte played Bb Clarinet, bass clarinet, bamboo flute and a plastic pipe. Dan Gordon played tuba and bass flugelhorn. Mirko Guerrini played curved soprano sax, tenor sax, baritone sax, xaphoon, Pakistani flute and melodica. Niko Schauble was at the drum kit. It really was akin to kids building a series of projects with Lego blocks, yet without haste and with plenty of assurance. It possibly did not always hang together, but I loved the adventurous, unscripted approach.

Two long-form suite performances that I had heard previously and liked a lot, but did not get to at this festival – trumpeter Reuben Lewis’s I Hold the Lion’s Paw on Sunday and Cheryl Durongpisitkul’s Follow Me Through the Red Ash on Saturday – drew praise from many who attended.

One of the standout cultural collaborations at Wangaratta was The Three Seas, bringing modern jazz together with West Bengali folk music. Matt Keegan on saxophone joined Steve Elphick on bass, Raju Das Baul on vocals and khamak, Deo Ashis Mothey on vocals, guitar and dotora, and Gaurab Chatterjee on dubki, drums in two warmly engaging and virtuosic displays of musicianship on Friday and Sunday evenings. The interaction of Keegan with amazing vocalist Das Baul exemplified the close bonds formed among all these musicians, demonstrating again how well music succeeds in crossing boundaries.

I caught only part of another successful collaboration on Sunday afternoon when Julian Banks on saxophone joined Indonesian master percussionist Cepi Kusmiadi on the kendang sunda, a set of two-headed drums, along with James Hauptmann on drums and Chris Hale on bass. And I copped some justified criticism later that evening for not letting on in time that the Garden Quartet – featuring Iranian musician Gelareh Pour on kamancheh and voice, Mike Gallichio on electric guitar, Arman Habibi on santur and voice, and Brian O’Dwyer on drums – should not be missed.

Expectations can be dangerous. A restrained acoustic set in WPAC Theatre by guitarist Ben Hauptmann’s “ideal” septet of accomplished musicians was not what I had anticipated. It was a great line-up – Arne Hanna and Franco Raggatt on guitar, Harry Sutherland on piano, festival co-programmer Zoe Hauptmann on bass, James Hauptmann on drums and Evan Mannell on percussion – and there was no denying their musicianship, but selections played seemed more akin to French folk than jazz, and the pieces did not vary greatly.

I had no idea what to expect from the only US band, FORQ, which comprises Henry Hey on keyboards, Chris McQueen on guitar, Jason “JT” Thomas on drums and Kevin Scott on electric bass. In their final outing of two at the festival on Sunday night in WPAC Theatre they delivered an energetic rock-infused set, but nothing to rival the work of popular Snarky Puppy, of which McQueen is a member.

The fully pumped Orszaczky Budget Orchestra, fronted by Tina Harrod and Darren Percival on vocals, closed out the festival in St Pat’s Hall with a set so loud that I sought relief for my ears towards the back. I liked the setting of “Club St Pat’s” but missed the final night jam where musicians and fans mingled and celebrated music performed and music enjoyed.

To sum up in words what often speaks for itself, the eclectic mix of improvised music at 2018’s festival again delivered plenty to satisfy fans, again on a limited budget and this time without big internationally renowned names or a lot from the American songbook. Culturally diverse offerings worked well, as did the significant European contributions.

Some new, festival-initiated collaborations between visiting and Australian artists would have been icing on the cake.

Words were important in some instances, and the forceful messages of “concept-based” concerts by the AAO and Sirens will play on in my mind for some time.

ROGER MITCHELL

More images of the festival will be posted when time permits.

Advertisements

SUSTENANCE FOR THE SOUL

The Gravity Project

The Gravity Project                      Image: Roger Mitchell

REVIEW

Melbourne International Jazz Festival, 1 – 10 June 2018

Paul Grabowsky AO wrote Tokyo Overpass with Haruki Murakami’s novel IQ84 as inspiration — the story of a young woman who climbs down a ladder from an elevated highway when her taxi is stuck in a traffic jam and enters a parallel universe.

That could be a metaphor for this festival’s engrossing opening concert, The Gravity Project, a cross-cultural exchange with the Tokyo Jazz Festival featuring Japan’s Kuniko Obina on koto, Masaki Nakamura on shakuhachi and Tokyo resident Aaron Choulai on laptop/electronics.

In three pieces — Beat Hayashi, Tokyo Overpass and Plum Rain (the latter allegedly conjuring Burt Bacharach as a manga character) — this octet with Grabowsky (piano), Rob Burke (reeds), Niran Dasika (trumpet), Marty Holoubek (bass) and James McLean (drums) took us to a very different and exciting place that commanded attention and demanded immediate designation as a festival highlight.

This was riveting, abstract and at times surreal music, bristling with sometimes piercing shakuhachi notes, electronic squeaks, bent-note “gulps”, stuttering voices (a la Max Headroom), disruptive horns and koto notes tangible enough to touch. Yet amid the complexity, drama and tension there were periods of exquisitely beautiful simplicity. What a magnificent way to begin 10 days of music. This was indeed a highlight.

Also compelling were the pieces played when reedsman Tony Malaby (US) joined Kris Davis (Canada) on piano and Simon Barker (Australia) for a take-no-prisoners outing on Monday 4 June at The Jazzlab. There were tunes — Alechinsky, Kei’s Dream, Warblepeck, Bird Call and Remolino — but, as Malaby said in a 2015 interview, “I’m not writing tunes, but providing an opening sentence or paragraph.” All three musicians needed no more.

This was not a concert for the faint-hearted. But the audience probably knew what to expect, which was the unexpected — music challenging in its abstractness and complexity.

I was reminded of my experience when reading that magnificent novel Lincoln in the Bardo: difficult to get into at first and then totally consuming once I had entered that world. All made sense once my frame of reference shifted.

Some in the audience no doubt heard in Malaby’s work elements of Lovano, Coltrane, Ayler or Shepp. Instead, I valued many facets of this outing: patterns, contrasts, mayhem, beauty, responsiveness, intensity, variations in dynamics, sharp edges, peaceful interludes, sprinklings of notes (Davis), lashings of sound, guttural growlings, rumbling cascades, shifts in rhythm and tempo, disrupting abruptness of drums, airy resonance of reeds, gradual serenity, release and relief.

On 6 June at the same venue Malaby and Davis joined Scott Tinkler (Tasmania) and the Monash Art Ensemble to play Davis’s arrangements of music from Malaby’s Novela project. As the nonet played Floating Head, Mother’s Love, Warblepeck, Floral and Herbaceous, and Remolino, I marvelled at the exquisite intricacy, textural richness and encapsulated imagery in this wonderful music, delivered so well by students and their mentors. Again I was feeling the notes in 3D, tangible enough to touch. Tinkler, muted and otherwise, was superb, as were Rob Burke on bass clarinet, Josh Bennier on trombone, Jared Becker on baritone, and — so often — Dan Gordon on tuba. (It would be great to see women students in the Monash Art Ensemble, but I understand that the gender imbalance has deeper roots than university level.)

Quite a few festival gigs were sold out. Two concerts on 7 June brought the London club scene to The Jazzlab in a warmly energetic and engaging outing by tenor saxophonist Nubya Garcia and her killer band — Joe Armon-Jones on piano, Daniel Casimir on double bass and Femi Koleoso on drums. There were solos —including Garcia’s in the closing piece that took her tenor, which was never harsh or abrasive, into deep, resonant territory — but this was very much a team effort, attentiveness and responsiveness built in. The rhythm section was a treat to hear on its own and Koleoso’s intensity never let up. This group made me want to check out the London scene, soon.

Another set of concerts that were sold out were four at The Jazzlab on 9 & 10 June featuring frequent visitor to Australia, bassist Christian McBride, with his piano-less band New JawnMarcus Strickland on bass clarinet, soprano and tenor saxes, Josh Evans on trumpet and Nasheet Waits on drums.

McBride was characteristically engaging at the mic between songs, but as the band worked through Walkin’ Funny (McBride), Sightseeing (Shorter), Kush (Waits), Seek the Source (Strickland), the tribute to a departed friend John Day (McBride) and a jaunty version of The Good Life (Ornette Coleman) I felt that these accomplished players could really have done it all in their sleep and possibly needed some.

Waits’ work stood out throughout and especially behind the impressive Evans’s solos, and John Day featured McBride in a great duo with Strickland on bass clarinet. But there wasn’t quite the intensity and drive, or the fire, that I’d hoped for from this line-up on the night. Others will probably disagree — I doubt that many patrons left dissatisfied.

About now a warm glow suffuses across this review as I recall two similarly packed 9.30pm concerts at The Jazzlab —on Sunday 3 June, featuring Terri Lyne Carrington & Social Science, and, on Tuesday 5 June, Harry James Angus’s Struggle With Glory.

The lighting was the only possible complaint about the Social Science outing, Debo Ray passionately delivering emotive vocals in the near darkness while interacting with the rapid yet smooth moves of white-clad Kassa Overall, who was in full glare of a spotlight for his cryptic rap. Carrington at the drum kit was the linchpin of this sextet, which also featured Aaron Parks on keys, Morgan Guerin on sax and Matthew Stevens on guitar, but she sought none of the limelight as they gently, but potently explored racism, discrimination, police killings and the need “to pray the hate away”.

Outside afterwards a couple of shockingly racist would-be patrons brought to the fore our similar problems in this country, but I left the gig with the feeling that I’d attended a left-wing, justice-fired prayer meeting and been cleansed by the power of good vibes. This was gentle persuasion by music rather than words, but it was a reassuring and awakening in equal measure.

A more fervent vibe infused Struggle With Glory, in which Harry James Angus (Cat Empire) on trumpet and vocals managed the unlikely marriage of Greco-Roman myths with old-time jazz and gospel vibes. It worked, partly because he took the time to engagingly explain the stories and partly because his band delivered with feeling.

In eight pieces from the album released in March, this band — Ben Gillespie on trombone, Monique Di Mattina on piano, Freyja Hooper on drums, Tamara Murphy on bass and Lachlan Mitchell on guitar — wowed the audience with their musicianship and vocal harmonies. And HJA’s excellent whistling. Again this was a feel-good gig that will hopefully encourage more people to come out for live music.

Two other MIJF concerts filled with energy, exemplary musicianship and toe-tapping beats featured Daniel Susnjar’s new Afro-Peruvian Jazz Group (The Jazzlab, 9.30pm Monday 4 June) and Steve Sedergreen’s Points in Time (The Jazzlab, 9.30pm Wednesday 6 June). For me, these concerts came immediately after the two Tony Malaby gigs mentioned, so it wasn’t easy to adjust, but in each case audience approval was clear.

It’s part of a festival’s job to entertain, but also to challenge. One of the experimental concerts this year, as is always the case, came with the PBS Young Elder of Jazz commission concert on at 9.30pm on Friday 1 June at The Jazzlab by pianist Brenton Foster, entitled Love, As We Know It.

Foster — in a quartet with Gideon Brazil (flute, clarinet, saxophone), Stephen Magnusson (guitar), Jordan Tarento (bass) and Aaron McCullough (drums) — composed music to accompany sung adaptations of poems by Christopher Pointdexter (known for delivering his words via typewriter on Instagram). This was difficult music played very well indeed, but it was a tough task to communicate the compressed ideas in the poetry in a way that would permit an audience to grasp their full import. Yet Foster’s compositions had unexpected strength and drama obviously meant to pick up on the torments and dramas of lives and loves.

I believe this concert would have benefited greatly from a visual display of the poet’s text in some way while the words were sung and accompanying music played.

An even greater challenge came on Friday 8 June at The Substation in Three Solos performed sequentially by Tony Buck (The Necks), Peter Knight (Australian Art Orchestra artistic director) and experimental Norwegian guitarist Kim Myhr. After many evenings of performances by musicians under lights handing us their music on a platter, so to speak, it was hard to be left in the dark, literally, amid the amplified crackles, tiny tinklings, abrasive static, plinks and plonks created by the black “bee-suited” figure with wind-chime hat who sat facing away from the audience. Buck must have intended us to listen attentively rather than watch to see how he created these sounds — something most of us were not attuned to doing.

Minutiae also was surely the intent of Knight’s delicate explorations of sound generated with water in his trumpet and the recording and amplification — with the help of a Revox B77 reel-to-reel tape machine and other devices — of grains of rice falling. When the audience later turned full circle to hear Myhr on 12-string guitar, his instrument hidden behind a table of electronic equipment, the subtlety of variations as he strummed and adjusted settings may well have escaped all but the most diligent listeners.

These three solos were challenging not merely because they took us out of our comfort zones, but because of the risk that we would find too little in each to provoke a response, whether love or hate. That said, a lot of work goes into these performances and the artistic endeavour deserves to be acknowledged — perhaps in this case more as art than music.

On the following evening, the Australian Art Orchestra performed the world premiere of an orchestral work by Myhr. The ensemble comprised Myhr (guitar), Knight (trumpet, electronics, hammered dulcimer), Buck (drums, percussion), Aviva Endean (bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet, zither), Lizzy Welsh (violin), Erkki Veltheim (viola), Jacques Emery (contra bass, zither), Joe Talia (Revox B77 reel-to-reel tape machine, electronics) and Jem Savage (live sound, associate producer).

This was truly a work for ensemble as collective. Over three parts of 16, 21 and 17 minutes respectively, all contributed to creating a multi-layered and highly finessed whole that enveloped and drifted above us in the large space.

The first part employed the strings in a slow, regular configuration that evolved into wave formations conjuring, for me, phosphorescent ocean swells in moonlight. The second had more structure, movement and change, building intensity in its complexity. The third part contrasted fast, light and intricate work at the drum kit with waves of vibrato shimmer while moving gradually to a long denouement. This was carefully crafted and intricately executed music that caressed rather than challenged.

I did not get to many of the festival concerts, including those at larger venues. But the 12 gigs I did attend were enough to demonstrate there are many ways to present and appreciate this music we loosely call jazz. But the excitement of live music is deeply sustaining.

I attended two of the jam sessions hosted by The Rookies and had a great time at each, bailing out only after 2am. These gatherings of musicians and fans also provide much enjoyment and lasting sustenance for the soul.

ROGER MITCHELL

Note: Images will be added to this post in due course.

ART AWAKENS EMPATHY

Adam Simmons

Adam Simmons during Travelling Tales

REVIEW

Travelling Tales, The Usefulness of Art concert 3, Adam Simmons with Arcko Symphonic Ensemble, 3pm December 10, 2017 at fortyfive downstairs

The collection of thoughts, inspirations and observations that inspired compositions in the third concert in Adam Simmons’ series collectively titled The Usefulness of Art would have been familiar to anyone who has spent time travelling.

These included the sense of adventure as we set out to explore the unknown, the opportunities to gain cultural and historic insights, the intensity of all-night experiences that extended until dawn, the rewards and risks of getting off the beaten track and the pleasure of tasting bread fresh from a bakery after a night of solving the world’s problems.

But Simmons’ inspirations also invited us to reflect on less positive but still powerful experiences encountered in the world. The program notes for his piece Threnody, a lament, refer to mourning for travellers who are on the road out of necessity rather than for pleasure. For me, this recalled one deeply affecting night spent talking with tea plantation workers in Sri Lanka as they tearfully farewelled families forcibly being repatriated to the south of India the next day.

Threnody was, for me, the most affecting piece in concert 3. It began with sonorous, plaintive strings under red lighting, Simmons standing behind the Arcko players, but not contributing. Then, as he moved forward, his tenor sax began a sour, rasping and agonising cry over the drone of strings that continued until the piece died away. It felt full of suffering and loss.

In this series of concerts Simmons has drawn deeply on Auguste Rodin’s view of the usefulness of the artist, including his declaration: “I call useful all that gives us happiness.”

Threnody felt like a reminder that at times it is important that we are not happy, having had our empathy awakened by the situation of others, able to feel compassion and to be motivated by anger to action.

Reflecting on this since hearing Travelling Tales, I’ve been reminded of how important the artists – painters, poets, musicians – were in motivating change in Iran before the fall of the Shah. The usefulness art was palpably evident then.

Of course the other eight pieces in concert 3 had quite a different flavour.

On the evening after this afternoon recital I recall telling a friend that this concert differed from the previous two in the TUoA series because Simmons was playing solos, with improvisations, while Arcko players acted as a unit playing from musical scores and under the baton of conductor Timothy Phillips. Viewed in that way Simmons was the star of the show, so to speak, and Arcko Symphonic Ensemble the skilled backing band.

But that view was wrong and does not do justice to the interaction between ensemble and soloist. Certainly Adam Simmons’ contributions stood out in this performance — I have never heard him play more evocatively — but it was the unity of the ensemble with soloist that delivered in spades. Everything Simmons created on bass clarinet, soprano and tenor saxophones was delivered into a soundscape created by Arcko players with subtlety and verve.

This unity of soloist with ensemble was evident from the opening piece, Beginnings, when Simmons’ light and air-filled musings on soprano sax – his notes wandering freely to give a taste of journeys ahead – were perfectly complemented by a slow undercurrent of strings. And in A Single Step Arcko players contributed drama and built intensity with sharply repetitive patterns as a contrast to soft, deep tenor sax notes and later muted explorations. The strings acted as a subtle drone in A Nod to the Old World, swelling and receding beneath the serenity of floating notes from bass clarinet.

In The City that Never Sleeps Arcko players awaken us to work collaboratively with Simmons in creating a wonderful complexity, soloist and strings taking different paths and varying intensity to build the busyness. And in Living by Numbers the symphonic strength and agility of Arcko was on show as Simmons on soprano sax perfectly captured the disturbing mood of adventure, risk-taking, daring and danger. In A Song for Sharing, ensemble and tenor sax did exactly that, working a melody into a round with strings seemingly egging on the soloist. Strings and soprano sax embraced fondly in the closing Warm Croissants.

The one solo piece in this concert, Milosc, was a sublime demonstration of how expressive a saxophone can be, notes at times soaring and flaring, then fragile.

Adam Simmons has said that each of these TUoA concerts will develop from what has gone before in the series. They have been so different that we await with great expectations the two yet to come. It has always seemed unfortunate and unnecessary that an artist feels the need to prove the usefulness of art. That’s a given. Travelling Tales has demonstrated how powerfully affecting art can be.

ROGER MITCHELL

A few images from the night: