Friday, November 11, 2016

Byron Wallen's Four Corners Quartet

27th October 2016
Water Lane Cafe, Canterbury

London-based jazz trumpeter Byron Wallen returned to Canterbury with his new band, just amazing! This was a Free Range event, listed as part of the annual Canterbury Festival, so the tiny Water Lane Cafe was properly packed out. Was that a flugelhorn BW was playing? Guitarist Rob Luft brought an almost Hillage-like "solar guitar hero" thing when he got to shine but mostly just played perfectly-judged, tasteful jazz guitar lines and chords. The rhythm section of Theon Cross on tuba and Rod Youngs on drums would be hard to beat (and RY looked like he was having such a good time). Byron's written pieces were systematically broken down into spaced-out jams, almost telepathically abstract and Grateful-Dead-like at times, where you're left wondering (in the best possible sense) "are they even playing music now, or...?". After seeing Luo the night before, this outpouring of joyful neo-jazz left me with a feeling of deep happiness.

Outside I spent a little while catching up with Andrew Prowse, formerly the bass player from Zoo For You, who'd moved back to Canterbury from Devon a week earlier and already been recruited into Gneng, the new jazzy spacerock project launched by Harry and Ellen of Bearded Sphynx (with Pete Edlin of The Boot Lagoon pn keys/guitar and now, at my suggestion, Richie Ryan of Plume on drums). Exciting musical times in Cantwarabyrig!


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