Saturday, March 21, 2009

Live: Arguelles/Rainey/Formanek

More Jazz action! Soon I will be acquiring a beret and buying a season ticket in Ronnie Scott's. This lot are three musicians who were playing on Sunday night in the pub J.J. Smiths, where they have a sunday night jazz club. My beloved and I are always talking about going to this, seeing as it is only just down the road from us, but we somehow never quite managed to make it – until now! The big draw for us here was the drummer, Tom Rainey, who is another member of Big Satan. We would have seen him previously when Big Satan played here as part of the Living Music festival, though with my sieve-like brain I remember little or nothing about him (apart from the uncompromising nature of his band's sound). The other two musicians tonight were Michael Formanek on bass, another New Yorker, and Julian Argeulles, an English geezer saxophonist. Arguelles may perhaps have been the big draw here, with the programme kind of leaning towards describing it as his show with the others heading in the direction of being backing musicians.

So anyway, the actual music. Well, it was great. I may be turning into the kind of person who is mad for the jazz drumming, but Rainey was the real jazz commander tonight, with his playing being rather mesmerising (though, to make a comparison, less deranged than that of Dave King). This was nevertheless jazz of the integrated sort, without any obvious sense that the musicians were engaging in some kind of childish competition to blow each other off the stage, so Rainey's playing did not seem like embarrassing grandstanding or as something that put the other excellent players in the shade.

Overall, this music was a bit more like normal jazz than the weirdo jazz of Buffalo Collision or Big Satan, though that is not to say that it was dull or uninteresting. The venue is also pleasant – the kind of small cosy place to go to if you want to hear cutting edge sounds. Interestingly, there seems to be music on there almost every night of the week, though some of the other nights seem a bit Leftover Salmon.

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