Glebe with guest Tara Minton
(Spice of Life. 26 January 2023. Review by Lavender Sutton)
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The members of the group Glebe have been playing together since they all studied music in Leeds about 8 years ago. The band is ronted by pianist Chris Bland and guitarist Kieran Gunter, who were flatmates on Glebe Place (hence the name) above a fish and chip shop. Both of them write and arrange for Glebe.
Bland and Gunter’s formative years found them jamming with fellow students and building relationships with the rest of the band, bassist Max Kahn and saxophonist Dom Pusey. Drummer Filippo Galli, is an honorary Loiner (a demonym which, in reality, applies to them all) but a welcome member of the group nonetheless.
The first tune You Can’t Write Tears set a joyful atmosphere for the evening. Written for comedian Sean Lock after the news of his passing, Bland shared that he was trying to capture a comedic moment to express his sadness.
From the get-go it is clear that the musical arrangements are complex and emotionally charged. Each one has a unique perspective and takes the listener on an adventure. Spider Tomb was expectedly creepy and Pusey switched to soprano saxophone to add to the moodiness.
Special guest Tara Minton joined on two tunes to which she penned lyrics. Ruby fell into a smooth bossa and with Minton’s elegant tone floating over the rest of the band. She felt like the fortune teller of the group, especially with Pusey’s hypnotising harmonies on the out-chorus.
So far, all compositions have been Bland’s. Gunter then took the mic to explain his next composition, Tout Se Passe (Everything Happens). Pusey this time featured on the bass clarinet. Unusual but welcome, it brought out a melancholy feeling that one might have when expressing the feelings of regret or letting go.
Gunter’s affinity for Europe and language comes out in his compositions with other tunes like Gaudi’s Blues named for the architect. An absolutely roasting tempo blues where Galli was given the chance to go hog-wild on the drums on the outro, which was in 13/2! L’iseran was a poetic journey down the ‘highest paved road in Europe’ with Pat Metheny influence throughout.
Haflinger was originally a piece that Gunter wrote for his unconventional uncle, but when Minton heard it performed, she asked if she could write lyrics inspired by her own family’s migration to Australia. It was steeped in personal connections through Gunter’s melody and internal rhymes of Minton’s lyric and gave Kahn the opportunity for a touching bass solo.
Finishing the set on Kirkstall Abbey brought the band full circle – back to their neighbourhood in Leeds where the abbey’s history burrowed its way into this composition. Tales of beauty, religion, war, growth and, of course, a bit of pillaging brought the set to an exciting end.
All compositions by both leaders were wildly different and intriguing. It’s clear inspiration is easy to find when working (more like, playing) with some of your best and most talented friends.
Categories: Live reviews