|Tim Lapthorn (photo from http://www.timlapthorn.com)|
Tim Lapthorn Trio, Kerenza String Quartet, Bobby Wellins, Polly Gibbons
(Pizza Express, 23rd October 2012. Review by Frank Griffith)
The Tim Lapthorn Trio were making their debut at this venerated Soho nightclub, launching the new album Transport (Pathway Records), and embarking on an album launch tour. They brought with them an olio of different musical timbres and colours: a string quartet, an illustrious tenor saxophonist, and a guest vocalist. Tim Lapthorn‘s pianistic abilities include a formidable technique and delicate touch, a wonderfully rich tone from the instrument. His equal command of strong melodicism, a loamy harmonic sense and an acute rhythmical drive make him the consummate jazz pianist. One particularly remarkable quality is his mounting of intensity in his solos creating cascades of tumultous rhythmic dynamism from the trio, which can then, at will, be simmered down quickly to a quiet close. Bassist Arnie Somogyi‘s solid control, holding down, the fort, was complemented by his painstakingly melodic solos. He never overplays. Drummer, Tristan Maillot, mediated all of his responsibilities magnificently in tackling a variety of odd meters, as well as providing a sensitive dynamic to underpin the strings.
The celebrated Navarra String Quartet, who were widely billed for the date were obliged to pull out at the last minute, but were more than ably replaced by the Keranza Quartet. Their leader, violinist, Kerenza Peacock was joined by Hayley Pomfret, second violin, Alex Gale, viola, and cellist Daisy Vatalaro. The quartet’s sonorous tone and subtle shadowing of the trio brought about a warm glow-like effect. The viola was highlighted briefly on one piece, and Alex Gale demonstrated a haunting sound quality in the extreme low register of her instrument. The Kerenzas stepped in as last minute replacements but rose to the occasion admirably. They are a group to look out for in future.
The venerable Scottish saxist Bobby Wellins guested on three numbers, most notably on a poignant reading of It Never Entered My Mind. His plaintive lyricism imbued with short but telling melodic bursts was offset by his settled and engaging tone.
The addition of vocalist, Polly Gibbons featured a gospelly number co-written by Tim and herself, bringing a welcome change of mood and idiom for the listeners. This was followed by a closing romp through Cole Porter’s What Is This Thing Called Love, by the quartet, building to a steaming, boisterous and satisfying close.
The Frank Griffith Big Band will be performing as part of the London Jazz Festival on 14 November at The Bulls Head in Barnes.