Trio Live Review – The Dorset News
22 Jan 2011
In partnership with the David Hall in South Petherton, the Jazz Club last Friday presented a concert by the Sarah Gillespie Trio. The critically acclaimed Anglo-American singer and song-writer played to a full and wildly enthusiastic house, accompanied by the eccentric, amusing Gilad Atzmon and double-bassist Ben Bastin. Sarah is an accomplished writer, guitarist and singer with an impressive range of volume and style operating very much in the folk tradition, but with an emphasis on the political and topical. Between acts there were sharply satirical comments on the present political scene which the audience loved. The sheer volume of Sarah’s delivery often leaves the listener longing for subtitles, but her performance is outstanding, vivacious and forceful.
Backing comes from the impressive and powerful Ben Bastin, whose flights of staccato are punctuated by lyrical and gentle passages using the bow to draw out calmer patches of meditative reflection. Much of the character of the performance is embedded in the players’ sheer physical energy: Bastin waltzes with his bass, Gillespie bends and flexes like a willow, while Atzman involves the audience in rhythmic clapping using his saxophone as a baton, squeezes animal sounds from his clarinet or whips the mouthpiece off it to blow squawks, scats out extraordinary rhythms with his mouth, leans back romantically with his piano accordion, or yelps his harmonica.
Apart from his innate humour and innovation, Atzmon is a pure musician, versatile, totally immersing himself in the performance, slipping through the music with the unconsciousness of a fish swimming through water. He is equally at home on the clarinet and saxophone, alternating between passages redolent of North African sound and rhythm, and moments that Bach would have recognised. But what most characterises the work of this remarkable group is the extent to which it is always clear that they are working as a group, playing to each other’s strengths with an organic wholeness.
Solos are hardly solos when it is clear that each contribution is essentially an integral part of the others’. It is an experience not to be missed.