Album review

Brian Molley Quartet with Krishna Kishor – ‘Intercontinental’

Brian Molley Quartet with special guest Krishna Kishor – Intercontinental
(BGMM Records, BGMM 004. CD review by Patrick Hadfield)

The Brian Molley Quartet are so assured that from the very start of their latest CD one feels in safe hands: whatever they do, wherever they go, the journey is going to be a comfortable one. And as the title suggests, Intercontinental goes to a lot of interesting places.

This is the third record to feature Molley’s long-standing quartet of Tom Gibbs on piano, Stuart Brown on drums, and Brodie Jarvis on bass. They are joined by Krishna Kishor playing a variety of percussion. The quartet first played with Kishor in 2017, whilst touring India, and they have collaborated several times since. Intercontinental was recorded remotely, Kishor in Chennai and the quartet in their Glasgow base. The understanding between the musicians easily overcomes the distance between them, sharing ideas with music as a common language.

Several of the tracks reflect the different cultures Kishor and the quartet come from, either explicitly – Lotus and Thistle is a duet clearly mixing two styles, Molley’s theme a fast jig-like riff, with his saxophone then exchanging choruses with Kishor’s tabla – or simply as part of the flow, as on the languid, sensuous Thursday’s With GK, Kishor’s percussion just part of the mix.

Several pieces have titles from the Indian subcontinent. Ayemenem is a fast piece, full of energy. It features some konnakol passages from Kishor, during which he vocalises the percussion, as well as a duet between the respective percussion of Brown and Krishor. Vasudeva’s Invitation began life as a fragment of a folk tune from the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, which Molley built on in homage to John Coltrane’s developments incorporating Indian themes. Jarvis’s bass develops a flowing groove.

Perhaps the least intercontinental track on the album is Molley’s emotional rendition of Ae Fond Kiss, performed as a duet with Gibbs. It is a tune that rarely fails to move, despite its familiarity, and Molley and Gibbs don’t disappoint: it is beautifully heartfelt.

The album finishes with Ramal Dabke, an energetic exploration of middle eastern motifs in which Kishor plays the djembe – a west African drum – another stop on their intercontinental journey. All in all, it’s a great ride.

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

LINK: Brian Molley on Bandcamp

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