Review: Kit Downes Trio

Left to right: Kit Downes, Calum Gourlay, Lucy Railton,
James Maddren, James Allsopp
Photo credit: William Ellis. All rights reserved

Kit Downes Trio
(Chappell of Bond Street. Thursday 15th September. Review by Fran Hardcastle.)

As part of their bi-centenary, Chappell of Bond Street presented the Kit Downes Trio with guests James Allsopp (reeds) and Lucy Railton(cello) in a charity concert for Centre Point. The Grade II listed Novello building on Wardour Street provided a stunning concert setting.

This was my first time hearing Kit Downes’ group. The organic fluidity of his music is breathtaking. The compositions with their notable themes and structures can evolve seemlessly into free improvisation. The writing gives space for the solos to appear and to take their leave naturally. It is a context where nothing needs to be forced.

The mutual sensitivity and awareness between James Maddren on drums, Calum Gourlay on bass and Downes, is telepathic. This flawless interaction was extended to the quintet, despite being their debut appearance as a group. Maddren and Allsopp in particular showed a communal intuition in a new tune, Bleydays. In With A View, Allsopp’s sound on tenor was nothing less than heavenly. Gourlay’s bass solos are enthralling and oh so satisfying. Downes’ melodic solos bring pleasure with every phrase.  While Maddren’s playing is a completely integral part of the sound,  he also has the latitude to play with astonishing freedom.

The Chappell Charity Concerts continue on Thursday 01 December with Jamie Cullum. That concert is sold out. Centre Point is a charity which works with homelss young people. More about there work is at centrepoint.org.uk/

Kit Downes appears at Pizza Express Dean Street in the London Jazz Festival on Thursday 17 November.

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