A couple of weeks ago, I managed to catch Evan Parker play at Cafe Oto, where he had a weeks’ residency. The night I could make, his trio with Mark Sanders on drums and John Edwards on bass were joined by Polish saxophonist Mikolaj Trzaska.
To be honest, I wasn’t really in the mood. Trzaska seemed full on, a strident stream of notes flowing from his alto, and after a while it felt overwhelming. I didn’t stay for the second set.
The only jazz I saw during the Edinburgh Fringe was a show by Julian Arguelles with the “Playtime” trio of Tom Bancroft on drums, Euan Burton on bass and Graeme Stephen on guitar. A month or so before, Arguelles had played on of the best gigs at the Jazz Festival; this was an opportunity to see him with some musicians he was less familiar with, in a much more intimate setting. And it should be no surprise that it was a very different gig.
The set list was similar, mostly culled from Arguelles’ latest CD, Circularity (with Dave Holland on bass, Martin France on drums, and John Taylor on piano. An experiment line up and a superb record – but again, a very different sound!). Stephen’s ethereal guitar made it a much more spacious sound. Coupled with Bancroft’s open rhythms, the result was a freer sound: less certain and more experimental.