Binker Golding, John Edwards, Steve Noble / Amy Gadiaga Trio
(The Jazz Sanctuary, Twickenham. 28 January 2022. Live review by AJ Dehany)
Amy Gadiaga (pron. Ga-dya-ja) is a young French-born bass player and vocalist from the Tomorrow’s Warriors school who, what with things, has only recently started playing out with her quartet. A previous concert presented online by jazz re:freshed introduced a confident group and at the first concert of Twickenham club The Jazz Sanctuary‘s 2022 season they covered this necessarily new material. It tends to owe more to the classic sound of the music than the nu jazz zeitgeist, but is impressive, not least because this performance was supposed to be a quartet but became a trio when trumpeter Joseph Oti got covid.
Gadiaga’s original songs are memorable. Sung with a bittersweet tang reminiscent of Billie Holiday, the deceptively pretty “Yo soy una perrona negra” addresses unflinchingly the way in which, as she explains, “black people bring so much culture into the world and our lives are still very hard” with limited options in spite of contributing so much. In another lilting ballad, lyrics like “wrap your arms around me like you used to do/ lately you’ve been so quiet/ let fix your dinner” make the song a classic doormat misery anthem, but she sings it not only with steeliness but while walking on a double bass, and the arrangement owes more to the Classic Quartet’s post-bop style than the usual vocal jazz accompaniments. Indeed, pianist Luke Bacchus makes for quite an excellent reminder of McCoy Tyner as well as confidently working through different styles. With a solid trio completed by drummer Louie North, I doubt anyone really realised anything was missing.
Another product of the Tomorrow’s Warriors organisation is saxophonist Binker Golding. In 2014 the duo Binker and Moses introduced two of the brightest lights on the scene. While Moses Boyd’s Mercury nominated 2020 album Dark Matter grooved with a dark electronic sheen, Golding has been extending his range into some serious and impressive free playing, in his spiky duo with Elliot Galvin and their album Ex Nihilo, through to the epic trio album Moon Day with bassist John Edwards and drummer Steve Noble.
This powerhouse pair are stalwarts and masters of free improvisation and you couldn’t imagine a more experienced and dynamic pair to learn from, but Golding absolutely holds his own with them, and even against them. Edwards’ and Noble’s playing is almost completely non-idiomatic (as much as anything can be) whereas Golding adds an enjoyable appeal to jazz idioms. There’s a subtle tension that makes it so fascinating and compelling. A shared restlessness is evident but also evidently a source of creative frisson, fission, and fusion, for all three.
It really does feel like a band playing together rather than just three virtuosos being individually virtuosic. They bring things out of each other you don’t usually hear in their prolific other contexts. Golding’s crossover style, appeal and youth bring a more familiar melodic sense and sheets of sound, but there was a moment where he leapt up the range of the horn with some extremely wide intervallic shifts like something out of Alban Berg. Moments of blood-vessel bursting overblowing and triple tonguing complemented the classic Noble-Edwards force and momentum.
There was an amusing moment where Edwards started playing an arpeggio using harmonics high above the conventional range of the double bass (and sounding something like one of Evan Parker’s inventions for circular breathing); Golding mimicked it with extended techniques for a moment before very, very quickly evidently deciding that no-one loves the upper partials on a saxophone. Well, he’s a crowd-pleaser.
Next Jazz Sanctuary dates are:
18 Feb: Nicolas Meier/Eric Ford/Jakub Cywinski & Marek Dorcik Spercasa
3 March: Emma Rawicz Quintet and Kielan Sheard Trio
7 April: New Movement Ensemble
LINKS: The Jazz Sanctuary website