fri 25/09/2020

William Parker and Hamid Drake Trio, Baltic | reviews, news & interviews

William Parker and Hamid Drake Trio, Baltic

William Parker and Hamid Drake Trio, Baltic

American avant-garde bassist and drummer play London Jazz Festival

Hamid Drake and William Parker: A collaboration of open-armed accessibility
They began with a whimper, rather than a bang. Bronx bassist William Parker was still tuning up when Zhenya Strigalev, Russian by birth but a regular performer at this south London restaurant and vodka bar, summoned the first quiet squeak from his alto saxophone. Parker’s playing became gradually more deliberate, but it was hard to say exactly at what point the London Jazz Festival gig had officially begun until Parker’s co-leader, the Louisiana-via-Chicago drummer Hamid Drake, finally picked up his mallets.
They began with a whimper, rather than a bang. Bronx bassist William Parker was still tuning up when Zhenya Strigalev, Russian by birth but a regular performer at this south London restaurant and vodka bar, summoned the first quiet squeak from his alto saxophone. Parker’s playing became gradually more deliberate, but it was hard to say exactly at what point the London Jazz Festival gig had officially begun until Parker’s co-leader, the Louisiana-via-Chicago drummer Hamid Drake, finally picked up his mallets.
It may be part of a jazz festival, but this really is a drum’n’bass show

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hmm. I actually thought Mr Strigalev held his own rather well. And if he wasn't looking at his bandmates (since when has that meant anything?), he was certainly listening to them. And though I was there (like most of the audience) for the rhythm section I did find myself occasionally bored by their tendency to stick to what felt like cod rock grooving. Possibly that was due to the noise levels in the venue (anything too subtle would have been lost ), but I'd have liked a bit more of a dynamic range...

I thought William Parker and Hamid Drake were both amazing (especially given the background noise). Zhenya Strigalev i thought held his own, as the previous comment says, and i put his tendency to close his eyes etc down as signs of nervousness (who could blame him?). I've mentioned the noise. It really was awful: one woman in particular never shut up and even though she was several feet away from me i could hear every word she said. This noisiness plus the poor acoustics made the subtleties of the music hard to hear (especially the double bass). It was even worse yesterday for the Stephan Kerecki gig: i walked out of that part way through because it was just ridiculous. I could barely hear the music at all.

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