Livestream Reviews

Moses Boyd at the Barbican Centre

Moses Boyd (Livestream from the Barbican, Sunday 18 April. Review by Tony Dudley-Evans)

Screenshot taken from the livestream event

Moses Boyd presented a set of material from his Mercury Prize nominated album Dark Matter with an augmented version of his Exodus groupThe music was more acoustic than that on the album, and there were extended solos for the members of the sextet.  

Exodus is very much a drum and percussion led group and Boyd dominated throughout with his well judged and clearly structured drum contributions. It is an interesting feature of the contemporary jazz explosion in UK that we have a number of percussion focussed groups; I’m thinking of groups led by Yussef Dayes and Femi Koleoso.

Screenshot taken from the livestream event

The set started gently with Stranger Than Fiction with Boyd leading off on the cymbals accompanied by Renato Paris on the keys, Quinn Oulton on the tenor sax, and then Artie Zaitz on guitar. There was then an attractive arrangement for the horns by trombonist Nathanial Cross which led into a solo by Donovan Haffner on alto sax followed by a duet between Zaitz on guitar and Boyd on the drums. This gradually built up in intensity until the horns came back in to conclude the track. This was the pattern of the set with the drums leading, excellent arrangements for the horns and solos from the members of the group.

Each track was similar to the version on the Dark Matter CD, but had more of a contemporary jazz feel without the added studio production.

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The sextet had a number of new names for me, notably Paris on keys, Haffner on alto sax, Oulton on tenor sax and Zaitz on guitar. All had their feature, Haffner on Stranger Than Fiction, Oulton on Y.O.Y.O, Paris on 2 Far Gone, Cross on Only You, Zaitz at the beginning of What Now? All played well, but I felt that their solos were occasionally just a little too long.

The set was followed by a very interesting Q&A with Boyd and Errol Anderson. Boyd talked of the importance of the jazz community and how meeting and talking with leading figures such as Wynton Marsalis had helped him develop his own identity. He also talked of the influence on his music of sound system culture, and of genres such as reggae, lovers rock and jungle.

The filming and sound were excellent throughout. The livestream was part of an ongoing series at the Barbican, which will also include George The Poet on 1 July and GoGo Penguin on 10 July.

LINK: Livestream event on Barbican website

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