|In a duo with Elliot Galvin: Binker Golding
One feature which stands out from the programme of next February’s inaugural Walthamstow Jazz Festival on Saturday 16 February at Walthamstow’s Assembly Hall is the prevalence of new bands and new collaborations from different parts of the UK. For this preview feature, writer Gail Tasker has focused on three, for each of whom the festival will coincide with the release of their debut EP/album early next year:
Têtes de Pois
This young band from Leeds is rife with catchy horn lines and driving chord progressions. The textural combination of Jasmine Whalley’s baritone saxophone and Harry Fowler’s tenor makes for happy listening, whilst Ben Haskin’s tuneful guitar interludes get the tunes flowing with an easy grace. Style-wise, the band offer a true smorgasbord of hip hop harmonies, afrobeat rhythms, and a thought-provoking compositional approach that is sure to go far in 2019. According to Fowler, influences include “Shabaka and the Ancestors, Melt Yourself Down”, and even “some of the bands that will be at the festival on the day”. After querying an album release via email, the band stated that they’ll be releasing their EP two weeks before the festival and will be bringing down vinyl!
This guitar-drums-bass outfit originates from Bristol and has seemingly absorbed the city’s taste for electronica and heavy beats. There’s something in their sound that reminds me of Strobes, the stylistic mash-up of math rock and jazz. The band describe their influences expansively as stemming from “the sum total of our experiences as individuals expressed collectively through sound in its rawest form”. Aided by a variety of pedals, Alun Elliott-Williams’s fingers fly across the guitar, producing fast-paced hypnotising melodic lines in rhythmic counterpoint to Harry Stoneham on bass and James Vine on drums. The band’s ability to meld and fuse ‘math’ rhythms and angular melodies together with a propulsive, functional harmony makes them an engaging listen. 2019 will see them release their debut EP, Improvisations, recorded at The Gallimaufry in Bristol, the birthplace of the band as well as the venue that they’ve played at weekly for the past two years.
Binker Golding and Elliot Galvin
This is a somewhat blind recommendation as I’ve yet to see this duo play live and was unable to find an audio trace of them online. However, the combination of saxophonist Binker Golding and pianist Elliot Galvin is guaranteed to be awe-inspiring. Every time I’ve seen Binker perform, his playing is phenomenal, powerful, and Coltrane-esque in his seemingly unlimited stream of ideas when improvising. Galvin’s playing is also constantly experimental, as seen from his Elliot Galvin Trio releases and his work with Laura Jurd’s Dinosaur; methodical yet humorous.
Their first meeting was at the Cambridge Jazz Festival in 2017, when Galvin guested with Binker and Moses, and the duo also appeared, once, at Kansas Smitty’s. According to Galvin, they plan to release an album next year called Ex Nihilo via London-based label Byrd Out, featuring free improvisations recorded live at The Vortex. And when asked to describe the style of playing, Galvin’s words seem inviting enough: “high energy and spontaneous”.
Publicity photo by J.Matyka
As the above shows, the festival is an excellent opportunity to hear up-and-coming bands from all over the UK, all in one place. Additional acts to watch out for include Snazzback (Bristol), Vels Trio, Run Logan Run (Bristol), Cykada, Dulahli (Leeds) and Emma-Jean Thackray. With London jazz seeming to have made a come-back amongst mainstream listeners and the media, it’s refreshing to be able to experience so many artists from outside the bubble.
It’s also a chance to hear UK jazz legends, such as Evan Parker playing with bassist John Edwards and John Russell on guitar. The trio have an album out called Walthamstow Moon (‘61 revisited), inspired by John Coltrane’s performance in Walthamstow with Eric Dolphy, McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones, and Reggie Workman, also out on Byrd Out Records.
A further legendary headliner is Ginger Baker with his Jazz Confusion, a quartet line-up featuring the great Pee Wee Ellis. All in all, the festival provides a unique line-up. See you there. (pp)
LINK: Walthamstow Jazz Festival