Live reviews

Elchin Shirinov Trio at Heath Street Baptist Church in Hampstead

Elchin Shirinov Trio

(Heath Street Baptist Church Hampstead, 18 March 2023. Live review by Oliver Weindling)

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Elchin Shirinov. Photo courtesy of Oliver Weindling

It is over four years since Azerbaijan-born pianist Elchin Shirinov was able to play as a trio with Andrea di Biase on bass and Dave Hamblett on drums. It was the London scene and musicians like these who had motivated him to move here from his native Azerbaijan. Though almost as soon as he arrived he was ‘snapped up’ by bassist Avishai Cohen for his own trio. So all credit to the Heath Street Baptist Church in Hampstead for programming a musical reunion as part of its Sunday Sundown series.

The compositional foundations of the music were threefold. Azeri folk songs, originals by Shirinov himself and also by compositional and piano hero, the late John Taylor (whose works he had focussed on the day before with Ivo Neame at the Pizza Express 2-Steinway Festival).

The trio captures the exuberance and melodic imagination of Taylor in their renditions of tunes like Ambleside and In Cologne. They also subtly bring in some of the rhythmic and modal diversity of Shirinov’s homeland. And he entrusts as much soloing to his playing partners, especially Di Biase, as he does to himself. It really makes one feel that this is a true trio of equals: Di Biase and Hamblett are not just sidemen.

Now that he is no longer with Cohen, Shirinov is back in the UK and resident in Edinburgh. His next release will be with singer Louise Dodds in the summer.

LINK: The Elchin Shirinov Trio on Bandcamp

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