mon 11/12/2023

CD: Roller Trio - Roller Trio | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Roller Trio - Roller Trio

CD: Roller Trio - Roller Trio

Improv, riffs and note storms in this fine debut from the Leeds-based trio

An amazing transparency and rhythmic punch: Roller Trio

This debut album from Leeds-based Roller Trio epitomises the can-do, DIY approach of the younger generation of jazz musicians. With their achievements recognised by a prestigious Peter Whittingham Jazz Award last year, the band - James Mainwairing (tenor sax/fx), Luke Wynter (guitar/fx) and Luke Reddin-Williams (drums) - sent a tape of their first concert to the London-based F-IRE label who subsequently invited the band to release an album on its "F-IRE presents" imprint.

With influences ranging from Tim Berne to Queens of the Stone Age to J Dilla, as well as artists much closer to home such as TrioVD and Django Bates, the group's jam-band, improvisatory approach to tune-writing invariably produces intricate structures that are almost impossible to second-guess. As the hook-laden album opener “Deep Heat” shows, the trio can switch the feel of a tune in a heartbeat from edgy improv to anthemic power riffs to reverb-swamped note storms.

Utilising the most minimal of materials - a moto perpetuo, long-short guitar riff over which Mainwairing's sax ranges freely - “Rollertoaster” sounds like a West Coast 1960s US guitar band channelling modal jazz. “Howdy Saudi” is similarly rich in tonal, textural and dynamic contrasts, switching between tricky canonic interplay to blood-curdling sax wails to cut-up funk riffs. Beneath the hard-edged surfaces there's a sweetness, too, as evidenced by the uncomplicated lyricism of “R-O-R” which gradually unfurls itself like a plush new carpet. With “The Nail That Stands Up” we're back to the fiendish melodic unisons, crunching backbeats and otherworldly electronica.

No matter how busy the contrapuntal detail gets, the trio's music is marked by an amazing transparency and rhythmic punch – thanks in part to the absence of the piano's thick chording, but also the bitingly incisive playing.

Watch the video for "R-O-R"

The trio can switch the feel of a tune in a heartbeat from edgy improv to anthemic power riffs to reverb-swamped note storms


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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