Hans Koller and Percy Pursglove, Kings Place 2016

Stoney Lane Live at Kings Place, London

Sara Colman

We present several double-bill performances each year from Stoney Lane artists at London’s fabulous Kings Place concert hall.  Recent gigs have included the Jonathan Silk Big Band & the Ben Lee Quintet; the Hans Koller Quartet & Percy Pursglove’s Far Reaching Dreams Trio; and TG Collective & the Mike Fletcher Trio.

Friday 11th May 2018
Sara Colman,
with The Magic Lantern

We’re back at Kings Place on Friday 11th May, with the brilliant vocalist Sara Colman, who will be previewing her new album, What We’re Made Of.  Sara will be performing with her band, featuring Rebecca Nash (piano), Steve Banks (guitar), Ben Markland (bass), Jonathan Silk (drums), along with a guest string quartet. We’re also delighted to welcome the fantastic Jamie Doe, aka The Magic Lantern, who will be opening the evening.

We kick off at 8.00pm – tickets are just £12.50, and available here.

 

LIVE REVIEWS

 

Hans Koller Quartet feat. John O’Gallagher + Percy Pursglove’s Far Reaching Dreams Trio

London Jazz News // Sebastian Scotney

– March 4th 2016

What a difference a year makes. Or to be precise/pedantic, a year minus twelve days. This quartet played an incredibly frustrating gig at the Vortex downstairs bar in March 2015 (I reviewed it), and in pretty hopeless circumstances they gave a strong indication of what they might, fate willing, one day become. That performance was interrupted by complaints of noise leakage. There wasn’t a single audience seat from which you could hear a balanced band sound. This time around, pretty much everything which had been wrong was right: there was a decent piano that you could actually hear, the Kings Place sound crew know their job very well, and there was also a healthily-sized and highly appreciative audience.

Time has also moved on, and this group has received a major gift from provenance, in the form of Birmingham City University’s invitation to John O’Gallagher to complete a Ph.D. The result of that is that, hey presto, one extremely fine Brooklyn-ite California-born alto player now finds himself – to the agreeable surprise of everyone, including him –  as a West Midlands resident. This shift has enabled him and Hans Koller – who is a faculty member at Birmingham Conservatoire, part of BCU – to continue a fascinating musical partnership which had been originally instigated by Jeff Williams.

The communality of musical purpose of Koller and O’Gallagher is now being allowed to prosper and to flourish, and it was a thrill to hear how their thought processes are starting to intertwine and coalesce. Both O’Gallagher and Koller have intellectual resources to spare, and are capable of offering the listener some seriously mind-bending material, and yet they are also able to find joy in something as teasingly trite as a Charleston rhythm. The partnership gives heft and shape to the most complex and asymmetric phrases, but  – perhaps like all genuinely intelligent people – they can also present difficult concepts in simplistic and understandable terms. Both men know how to serve up charm, clarity and humour for the rest of us, whose lazy brains unfortunately don’t always quite make it to the far end of every curlicue.

In Percy Pursglove and Jeff Williams they have a solid yet subtle and supple underpinning. This quartet is a creative cauldron in which new as yet unnamed tunes are constantly being brought to fascinating life. Their creative sparks and reflected flashes make for a constantly compelling and satisfying experience. Book/hear/enjoy this band.

There was also high quality in the first set from a trio led by Percy Pursglove (trumpet and bass) with Hans Koller and Paul Clarvis. Percy previewed this set for us HERE. His interview with Peter Bacon is quite technical, but does also contain the key to the music he presented last night: “It is dedicated to a handful of remarkable people who in my opinion have made a real and lasting contribution to mankind.” These are indeed compositions pointed at a magnetic North of idealism and clarity – or, in musical terms, lyricism and purity of utterance. I particularly enjoyed the clean lines of his trumpet playing in Cosa Divina, with both Hans Koller and Paul Clarvis happy to support with quiet, sketchy, unimposing suggestions of what an accompaniment to such crystalline thinking might be.

This Kings Place concert was presented by the Birmingham label Stoney Lane. It was also the London launch of Hans Koller’s triple vinyl collection Retrospection.

Hans Koller and Percy Pursglove, Kings Place 2016

 

 

 

 

Percy Pursglove Far Reaching Dreams Trio Kings Place , 2016

Unassumingly astounding

TG Collective & Mike Fletcher Trio // May 2015

UK Vibe // Erminia Yardley

Kings Place, just off Kings Cross station, on York Way, a magnificent venue for art, conferences, eating and drinking and, most importantly, for jazz music on Saturday nights!  At 8pm, we enter Hall 2 downstairs and take our seats. It is a spacious and well laid out hall.

The double bill that’s in store is a treat and a rather special one as showcased by the Birmingham based and incredible Stoney Lane Records label.  The company was created by guitarist and co-founder of TG Collective, Sam Slater.  Sam tells me briefly there will be far more extensive touring around the UK and Europe from early next year to support a new album release in the spring.  There will be more gigs planned, especially in London perhaps at Ronnie Scott’s, I suggest? (I jump with joy at the thought! That would simply be awesome).

Having started a label company of course was not the only plan Mr Slater had in mind; he is involved in other ventures, like working closely with the Town Hall & Symphony Hall Birmingham, to name one.  TG Collective takes the stage first soon after 8pm with seven musicians ready to amaze.  The stage is filled with talent. The audience awaits.

The line-up is:
Jamie Fekete / Sam Slater – guitars, oud
Percy Pursglove – double bass, trumpet
Holly Jones – flute, alto flute
Lluis Mather – clarinet, bass clarinet
Kit Massey – violin
Joelle Barker – percussion

“Release the Penguins” from TGC’s 2012 album opens the show and it is a joy to be sitting in a room whose acoustic is so perfect to re-emphasize and amplify the powerful sound of this band.  TG Collective, with their signature eclectic sound full of gipsy jazz, flamenco influences and classical tones have strength and fluidity, and if ‘Release the Penguins’ is an excellent opener, then ‘Silhouette’ is a mighty follower echoing the beautiful sounds of the Orient.

On ‘Songe d’Autumne’, Luis Mather’s clarinet is refreshingly good, but then ‘Sutta’ follows, being a track of the most fragility and power at the same time, written by Bryan Lester, TG Collective’s guru apart from being a guitarist, pianist, composer, arranger and trainer as well.  He has written and co-written a few tracks on TGC’s Release the Penguins.

With ‘Absurdist Cartoon Variations #7’ as composed by Jamie Fekete (TGC’s other wonderful guitarist), we enter the realm of originality and innovation.  A couple more tracks follow, ‘Grasshopper’, which the band have not performed live before, and ‘Donuts’, where there are only 4 players left on stage, a double bass, two guitars and a violin. Fabulous rendition. Mr Percy Pursglove on double bass has to be given special mention and not just because I am slightly biased towards the instrument in general, but because he IS amazing at his playing, a creator of special effects.

The band finishes with ‘The Astounding Eyes of Rita’ into an arrangement of Paco de Lucia’s ‘Zyryab’, Sam Slater on oud offers a great improvisation of oud composer and player Anouar Brahem’s eponymous album track of 2009 on ECM Records, the iconic German jazz label, recorded in 2009 in Italy.  Note to the reader: Brahem’s album is astounding, a must listen (my favourite track being: “Waking State”).  Another special mention is due to Joelle Barker on percussions. An incredible player.

We need to see and listen to TG Collective: their innovative sound, their skills together with their fabulous imaginative writing deserve the grandest praise.  More please!

Mike Fletcher Trio

Continuing on the double-bill treat by Stoney Lane Records is the mesmerizing Mike Fletcher Trio, composed by Mike Fletcher on C melody saxophone, Olie Brice on double bass and Jeff Williams on drums.  Most of the tracks played on the night are taken from the trio’s latest album as released in January this year, ‘Vuelta’ (Spanish for ‘return’).

The first two tracks are good openers to warm up the atmosphere although here is a warning: there are going to be darker notes played and if we were to compare the first bill of the evening to the second we’d be in trouble, but we are not, we cannot.  And that is why one has to love Stoney Lane Records: diverse and imaginative.

Mike Fletcher Trio comes onto stage and possesses it straight away in a more subdued way than TG Collective, but there are strands of obscurity there which need investigating.

Mike Fletcher plays the saxophone immersed in his zone, raw notes step out of his instrument fading into the night air.  As one listens to the Trio playing, one is transported onto a different dimension: there is a definite Hispanic inspiration behind the music, Mike says, in between tracks, he is after all living on the south coast of Spain.

So when “A Dino” comes on, Olie Brice’s double bass is reminiscent of a cool Summer night spent promenading along some deserted streets of some Mediterranean village. Not all notes are dark so when “Her Grace” comes on, the sax is tender, subtle and yet raw. The track was composed by Mike when Alice Coltrane passed away.
It is gentle, but offers free-flowing inspiration behind it.  Fletcher believes in balancing composition with improvisation and what subsequently ensues from this mélange.  The importance of the creation of a piece of music that stirs something inside one.  A vital read on this topic is Garrison Fewell’s book “Outside Music, inside voices” – dialogues on improvisation and the spirit of creative music.

Penetrating the night’s scent with such tonality is a track called “In Memoriam” by the Scottish poet Norman MacCaig with music by Fletcher.  This goes to show once more how deep the love of the saxophone is for Fletcher. One is humbled by his timid ways with the microphone, but one has to rest assured it is because his heart an soul are totally immersed in the music.

The Trio plays one short encore before disappearing off stage.

Never a show has been so enticingly addictive.

 

TG Collective

 

 

Mike Fletcher

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