I was a little dubious about Trio HLK with Dame Evelyn Glennie. It’s the second time I’ve seen Evelyn Glennie in a jazz setting – she was in Celtic Connections with Trilok Gurtu last year. It’s also the second time I’ve seen Trio HLK: last time was in a room above a pub in Edinburgh, and I wasn’t very impressed; they left me a bit cold. This time, in a much larger hall (the seats went up to KK) – and I was very impressed indeed. Still quirky and clever clever, this was music for the head, but maybe I understood what they were trying to do a bit better.
They were playing standards. Well that’s what they said: their new album (also with Evelyn Glennie) is ironically called “Standard Time”. These standards were anything but: I recognised The Way You Look Tonight, although it was deconstructed and put back together resembling Frankenstein’s monster. Green in Blue and Anthropology were unrecognisable.
The musicianship was amazing, full of jumpy rhythms and abstracted tunes. Evelyn Glennie did a solo spot on an almost-hang drum (she described it as a hang drum’s cousin) and she said after so many complex rhythms she was just going to play 4/4 for a change.
She was excellent, playing all sorts of percussion (much of it hidden behind the vibraphone and marimba which occupied the front of the stage). She even played kit drums at one point, in a thrilling duet with Richard Kass, the K of HLK.
(They’re playing in Edinburgh in May – definitely one to catch!)