|L-R: Jason Rebello, Ant Law, Tim Garland, Asaf Sirkis
Photo: Edition Records
The opening concert of this year’s Herts Jazz Festival is by a band which has been developing apace ever since it first got together in 2013. They’ve been adding to their repertoire: “We could play all night, we’ve got loads of songs” said Tim Garland after the recent Manchester Jazz Festival gig by his “Electric Quartet” with pianist Jason Rebello, guitarist Ant Law and percussionist Asaf Sirkis.
But this group of players who clearly get on well together has also been developing in a number of other directions:
One of the marvels of this unit is what John Fordham described earlier this year as the “deft interplay” between Tim Garland and Jason Rebello, who are of the same generation and have known each other’s playing well for roughly twenty-five years. As guitarist Ant Law puts it: “One of my favourite things about this quartet is that with Tim and Jason, they came up together, they are tuned into each other harmonically and melodically, and lurking behind every corner there can be an extended saxophone and keys duet. One will suggest something, and the other will know exactly where he intends to go.”
Another aspect of this group’s work is what it says in the title: “electric.” All four members of the quartet are players who use the extra volume and scale that electric instruments and effects and amplification give as part of a continuum of volume from very soft to very loud. They are all “electrified” with saxophonist Tim Garland using signal processing with the saxophones, and Rebello making a feature of his Fender Rhodes .
There is probably no drummer with as wide a dynamic range and as capable of a slow and systematic intensity build as Asaf Sirkis. He and Ant Law first got to know each other when the guitarist took lessons from him in Konnakol, the South Indian performance art of vocal percussion – which is another area of common interest which is woven into the performance.
Another feature is that Ant Law plays three very different types of guitar during the gig: an 8-string electric, a 12-string acoustic, and the Yamaha Silent guitar, “just a frame no body,” says Law. Tim Garland comments on this set-up: “With all the possible sounds, it’s like a mini-orchestra.”
This group consists of four musicians who have all taken different paths, bring different creative aspects to the whole, but the interweaving of their paths will make for a fascinating evening, setting the festival off to an energizing start. And, as Tim Garland says, “a good melody is – hopefully – never far away.” And rumour also has it that this is a band where the members like to surprise each other, even to compete with each other for who can be the loudest, but in a completely different area: shirts…. (pp)
LINKS: Bookings for the opening concert of the 2016 Herts Jazz Festival
New videos of the Electric Quartet have recently been added to the Timgarlandmusic Facebook page.
Review of Tim Garland’s Electric Quartet at the 2016 Manchester Jazz Festival
One at Edition Records, and gig schedule for the Quartet