Live review

Henry Lowther’s Still Waters at Karamel (2020 EFG LJF)

Henry Lowther’s Still Waters
(Karamel livestream as part of EFG London Jazz Festival, 16 November 2020. Review by Patrick Hadfield)

Henry Lowther. Screenshot from Karamel/ Collage Arts

Henry Lowther brought his quintet, Still Waters, to north London’s Karamel for a gig without an audience for the EFG London Jazz Festival – albeit that hundreds more people have viewed the show than could ever have seen the performance in person. Karamel and Collage Arts have curated a rich festival of London-based artists, providing a global platform for some of the capital’s most talented jazz musicians. (See interview below).

Still Waters were performing without their usual pianist, Barry Green, who was locked down by the pandemic in another country, but they were lucky enough to have Liam Dunachie sitting in his place. The rest of the band were regular members of the band – saxophonist Pete Hurt, bassist Dave Green and drummer Paul Clarvis, all of whom appeared with Lowther on Still Waters’ last record, Can’t Believe, Won’t Believe – and it was with the title track of that album that they opened their set. A slow, soulful tune, it set the tone of the show with a focus on melody and understated emotion.

Of the five numbers, one was written by Hurt: Capricorn featured an impressive piano solo from Dunachie, and Hurt’s own solo swung along at a pace.

Paul Clarvis

Dave Green played a long reflective solo to introduce Golovetz, a moody, impressionistic tune. Lowther’s reflective trumpet solo builds and builds through several choruses before he gives way to another lyrical solo from Hurt’s tenor.

Something Like is based on rhythms Lowther recalled from Morocco, and the lively tune hints at its north African roots. Clarvis comes into his own, pushing the rhythm behind the soloists- particularly another fine solo by Dunachie – but never overpowering them.

As a coda to their performance, they played a video recorded by Barry Green under lockdown – a solo piano piece dedicated to the late Pete Saberton who played piano in the 1990’s incarnation of Still Waters.

Patrick Hadfield lives in Edinburgh, occasionally takes photographs, and sometimes blogs at On the Beat. Twitter: @patrickhadfield.

LINKS: The video of the performance by Henry Lowther’s Still Waters is available to watch on YouTube throughout the EFG London Jazz Festival.

Preeti Dasgupta of Collage Arts,  interviewed about the 2020 Karamel LJF programme

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