|L-R: Tim Berne, David Torn, Ches Smith
Photo credit: Caterina DiPerri-
Sun of Goldfinger (Tim Berne, David Torn, Ches Smith) will be at the Vortex on 22nd and 23rd January 2017 – Geoff Winston looks forward to it:
Tony Visconti and David Bowie have a knack with guitarists, particularly those with left-leaning jazz tendencies. There’s Ben Monder on Blackstar, and David Torn on The Next Day, amongst others, of whom Visconti said in a Rolling Stone interview: ‘There’s a guy called David Torn who plays guitar, who we use; he comes with huge amounts of equipment that he creates these aural landscapes. He uses them in a rock context with all that ambient sound, and he’s bending his tremolo arm and all that. It’s just crazy, completely crazy sound on that track [Dancing Out In Space].’
Bowie was known to have referred to Torn as ‘The Yo-Yo Ma of guitar’ and noted that, ‘His work is very spiritual and has an ephemeral quality that I adore.’ Jeff Beck brought him in specially to produce and reshape the album, Jeff – ‘This guy’s twisted, and I WANT twisted. Torn saved the tracks from the bin – he’s ‘The One!’
Torn has a tight musical friendship with saxophonist Tim Berne, who made the point in interview that the Sun of Goldfinger trio is in essence Torn’s project. Their previous London appearance together was also at the Vortex as Prezens, an ECM quartet with Craig Taborn and Tom Rainey, which received ecstatic reviews. John Fordham wrote in the Guardian: ‘I, and rest of the audience, went wild when David Torn’s Prezens played a gig in Dalston … Eminent local musicians in the audience were shaking their heads in disbelief, some audience members were looking ecstatic, some almost shocked.’
While David Torn may be the least known of the trio Sun of Goldfinger, in terms of London gigs, as Berne and percussionist Ches Smith have been recent visitors to the Vortex with Berne’s Snakeoil (reviewed), and Smith with his own trio with Taborn and Matt Maneri, his prolific work on film scores may have made an under-the-radar impact – Order and soundtrack award-winning Believe in Me, are just two in a long list of film credits.
All three are ECM recording artists, most recently – You’ve been Watching Me from Berne’s Snakeoil, Smith’s solo debut The Bell and, picking up a long-standing relationship with the label, Torn’s Open Sky.
Although the trio have not yet recorded together the various online clips of their live performances (HERE for example, or HERE) give a strong taste of what will be served up at the Vortex – a heady brew of improvised atmospherics, hard-hitting invention and rock-solid intensity. The two nights on offer are a sublimely ear-watering prospect!
LINK: Tickets to the Vortex shows
Check out the BBC's documentary David Bowie – the Last Five Years on http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b088ktm6/david-bowie-the-last-five-years.
David Torn appears after 13 minutes and he and the co-musicians on The Next Day are featured playing and in discussion for about 5 minutes. Also really interesting, after about 52.5 minutes Maria Schneider is introduced and her recollections and discussion leads to sequences with the Donny McCaslin band whom she introduced to Bowie. Worth tracking down.