CD Review: Fringe Magnetic – Twistic

Fringe Magnetic – Twistic
(Loop 1012, CD Review by Chris Parker)

Impossible to describe without resorting to phrases such as ‘ranges between’ or ‘touches bases from …’, the multi-faceted music produced bytrumpeter Rory Simmons‘s medium-sized band Fringe Magnetic takes in everything from freeish jazz to through-composed music, from eccentric sea shanties (Andrew Plummer‘s ‘Fire in the Galley’) to touchingly intimate sung ballads (Elisabeth Nygaard‘s ‘Awake Like This’) and from folk-based melodies (‘Near Morningside’) to rhythmically tricksy avant-jazz (‘Twistic’).

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In addition, those whose idea of jazz is firmly fixed on conventions such as rhythm sections and front-line horns will find even Fringe Magnetic’s basic instrumentation odd (the core sextet comprises trumpet, flute, clarinet, violin, cello and drums, occasionally augmented by piano and bass). This said, many of jazz’s defining qualities (unfettered imaginativeness, unpredictability, tension between improvised and composed passages, hospitality to individual quirkiness etc.) are present in abundance in this determinedly original, wholly individual programme.

Although some may find the formal restlessness and consequent slight air of fussy contrivance disquieting, those more sympathetic to post-Downtown jazz will find much to enjoy in Simmons’s music – there’s even a guest appearance from his most celebrated employer, Jamie Cullum.

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