(Waterline, De Beauvoir Crescent N1. Review by Sebastian Scotney)
Blue-Eyed Hawk are a four piece band: Dublin-born vocalist Lauren Kinsella (surname pronounced as a dactyl – KIN-sella), trumpeter Laura Jurd, guitarist Alex Roth, and drummer Corrie Dick. The band’s name comes from the line of that wonderful yarn-spinning Yeats poem Under the Moon: “..the wood-woman whose lover was changed to a blue-eyed hawk.”
For their set in the small music room at the back of Waterline, in a brand-new, low-rise canal-side residential development in de Beauvoir Town, each of the musicians had brought a composition, and there was also a collective improvisation. B-E H is a collaborative venture, one in which the respectful, mutual listening really works. The music is given space and air to unfold slowly. It relies on an audience willing to listen, to allow narratives to unfold, both in words and wordlessly.
Alex Roth‘s guitar playing involves the fascinating creation of texture. (I can’t won’t ever forget the sheer range of sound which he and Kit Downes were able to create as a backdrop for Alice Zawazdzki at a remarkable gig earlier this year at the Green Note.) Here, he produced fascinating contrasts. He has absorbed the colours and vocabulary and trick-box of guitarists as diverse as Bill Frisell and Fred Frith, and can take the listener on a journey in every tune.
Lauren Kinsella and Laura Jurd are well matched. Kinsella explores sounds, lines, but listens, absorbs, responds, reacts. The interaction is constant, the alertness complete, compelling. Jurd is free to explore the possibilities of the trumpet as another voice, and Kinsella can re-imagine the voice as another trumpet.
Corrie Dick, fluent, supportive on drums, also produced the compositional highlight of the evening. For Tom and Everything. Gentle, hymn-like, it was written in memory of a relative and produced the emotional corner-stone for the set. I can’t wait to hear it again.
What is exciting about a band like this is where it might go. Comparing the performance I heard with the video above there has been progess, a stronger sense both of the individuals being able to speak with authentic voices and to be able to contribute to the whole. There has been a river crossed in creating a band aeshetic and a band sound, which can, and hopefully will, go further. The quality of the collaboration – they all appear to get on well, to genuinely want to build and develop something – appears to have put in place the ideal foundation for longer spans, whether they be story-telling though words, or more elaborate compositional structures. They have created the right basis from which to develop. To coin a phrase, watch this spaciousness.
Thursday night jazz at the Waterline continues with Sam Eagles (20th) and groups led by Paul Baxter and Rob Brockway (27th).