Wednesday, 21 November 2007
On Monday night I went to see Dog Soup perform at The Oxford in Kentish Town. These guys are seriously off-the-hook. Some of the best original Jazz I've heard in a very long time. The band is part of The Loop Collective - an organisation that is so my thing, I can't believe I hadn't heard of them until now. Check out their site to learn more, but essentially they are a group of young musicians and artists that band together to write and perform original compositions. A burgeoning movement that forms the truly exciting end of the contemporary jazz scene in London.
Anyway, back to Dog Soup. The band's sound has strong ties with Miles Davis's electric-era, namely Bitches Brew (see what they did there with the band name?). I've always enjoyed this period. Bitches Brew is arguably the album that kick-started the movement that eventually culminated in On The Corner - my personal all-time favourite Miles Davis album ever.
Dog Soup played two sets of entirely original compositions and startled me with the seer quality in their playing. It amazes me that these guys aren't signed to a label yet (that I know of). Musicianship was top-notch throughout and the arrangements played, blurred the lines of free jazz/rock, fusion, with added electronic sounds, loops and the use of wah-wah, delay effects employed by the trumpeter and keyboard player for live sampling and manipulation...all adding up to an incredibly deep sound.
This isn't a Miles tribute band - these cats are cooking up their own thing in the spirit of Miles' seminal electric-ear output. They've got serious talent and impressed me with a far-out jazz sound of furious rhythm and tight arrangement balanced with swelling soundscapes of electric twists and live instrument manipulation that work superbly in the jazz context.
The sound was also fantastic in the top floor of The Oxford. Tim Giles's wicked drumming sounded crisp, matched by Johnny Brierley's double-bass. Their patterns reverberated around the room - a rich rhythm section levelled briliantly with the Bernie Worrell-aspirations from the keyboard player. The immense sound mass is rounded-off with Robbie Robson's solid trumpet playing.
For the encore they did a shortened interpretation of Bitches Brew and Wayne Shorter's Sanctuary, noth really complicated tracks in their own right, Dog Soup delivered well- their love for this material is obvious as is their sensitivity towards the source material and deep appreciation of the work of the pioneers of that era.
I've been longing for an act like this to show up somewhere, but never fully expected one to ever materialise. I had no idea it was all happening right on my street in North London, and to my delight, the band I heard on Monday night were better than I dared anticipate.
The Loop Collective is the hub to all the great new material that's currently brewing. I'm seeing Acoustic Ladyland play at The Luminaire tomorow night, so more on that in a future post.