Off Minor

Musings of a Jazz geek

Bohman Brothers Present, 21/3/07: Dominic Lash / Phil Wachsmann / Bruno Guastella, and others

Posted March 24, 2007

Just some thoughts on last night’s Bohman Brothers Present… at the London Battersea Arts Centre (March 21st; a slight delay in posting!).

Dominic Lash, Phil Wachsmann & Bruno Guastella
I saw Dominic Lash at Boat-Ting a few weeks ago and said I thought he was brilliant; he was still brilliant last night at The Bohman Brothers’ Present…. Last time I saw him, I said I knew nothing about him… Well, I still know nothing but after looking around on google, I discover he’s quite active with the Oxford Improvisers group (and, that such a thing as the Oxford Improvisers group actually exists). Anyway, he has some samples on his myspace page (along with a long list of upcoming gigs), plus some info on the Studio 282 site. I just really enjoyed his playing, it’s all really scratchy and dark and grimy… maybe… not dark and grimy… You probably know what I mean… Excellent… Again trying to persuade me that I really need to learn how to play bass.

Alongside Lash there was Phil Wachsmann, on violin. According to the brief biog on the European Free Improvisation Pages, Wachsmann is coming to free jazz very much from a classical background… That really shows, I think; he’s really delicate, quick on the strings, his lines are really tight… he just exudes the impression of a great accomplished master… I saw him once before, playing with Evan Parker’s Electro-acoustic ensemble, last November, and you know that anything associated with Evan Parker is going to be tight (in that Evan-Parker-tight kind of way)… The third part in the trio was Bruno Guastella, on cello. Because of the placement of bodies (and the fact that I was right at the back of the hall) I couldn’t really see what he was doing. I notice that he and Lash have a CD out, which might be quite interesting, tho I have no idea how to get hold of it.

Jez Parfett
Jez Parfett was playing at a Bohman Brothers Present… (at the BAC) just before Christmas, I think… Other than that, I don’t know who he is or where he comes from (what with Google being wholly silent on this issue!), except that I notice he’s played at the Klinker club a few times… Wednesday night, he was doing a brief solo piano … “excursion”, is probably a good word, between the two trios. He gave the piece a name, but alas I cannot remember what it was… Essentially, he was using an old 70’s recording of BBC radio commentary of Red Rum winning the Grand National, to play off and lead his improvisation (I guess ‘lead’ isn’t too strong a word). It worked really well… In parts his playing managed to reflect the sound of the recording: building up tension during the race commentary proper, for example. Other times, it was just this weird sort of atmosphere, where it’s like some guy playing to himself in a back room, with trickles of radio sound coming from behind the door. Slightly… disconcerting. (and excellent.)

Ollie Mayne, Stefano Tedesco & Jerry Wiggins
Stefano Tedesco (his website) lists ‘vibraphone’ as amongst his instrumental base, but tonight he was sticking to electronics, with vibes provided by Ollie Mayne; they were joined by Jerry Wiggins on clarinet.

Unfortunately, Tedesco was situated behind someone’s head (or, I was) so I couldn’t see how he was making his sounds, tho the table in front of him looked pretty packed with gadgets. Most of the time he was working on some home-made looking table-top string instrument; looked like strings w. pickups mounted to the top of an old cigar box… should probably have gone and had a nosey and worked out exactly what it was… Ollie Mayne was getting some really interesting sounds out of his vibraphone, literally shaking every possible sound out of it’s body and frame. The improvisation was long and cautious, but the musicians were producing such a wide texture of sounds, it managed to maintain suspense; turning down the lights and playing in the dark really helped, actually (!). With these sort of sparse pieces I find myself concentrating too much on the individual players, spending five minutes watching what each is doing, intently… It’s best to close your eyes and let it all meld together… It was all a great contrast to a previous, similar sort of group I saw at the last Bohman Brothers Present… Anyway, there are a couple of mp3s of this group on Stefano Tedesco’s site, although I have to say that these samples don’t really do them justice.

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