Gig Review: Michael Janisch

December 9 @ Seven Arts, Chapel Allerton

AN incredible gig from bassist and bandleader Michael Janisch and his band, built of a careful selection of the top jazz musicians in the UK at this time.

Currently touring promoting his debut release as a leader – Purpose Built – Janisch has gone from strength to strength since emigrating from America in 2005 and secured his position as one of the top bassists in the country.

The first set featured each member of the group and each player stood out with an individual musical voice.

Frontline players Jay Phelps (trumpet) and Paul Booth (tenor sax) – different to one another in their harmonic approach, yet both very lyrical players, who share an exploratory rhythmic diversity in their solos – complemented each other wonderfully; going in very different directions at times, and coming together where appropriate.

A top class rhythm section, with Janisch at its core, driven from behind and pulled along by the relentless Andrew Bain on drums, blended beautifully with the horns.

With vibraphonist Jim Hart creating spacious harmonic textures where appropriate, he proved why he's one of the most in-demand players in the country through his prowess as a soloist.

Janisch's intelligent and musical compositions paired with some arrangements of standards – Billy Strayhorn's Blood Count, Sammy Fain's Love is a many Splendored Thing and Miles Davis' Milestones made for a diverse and eclectic mix of tunes and styles.

The music was heightened greatly by the band's energy in the second set and the great space the music was being created in – with Seven Arts definitely being one of the finest live music venues in this part of the country – making for an great evening of intense and thrilling music.

Declan Forde

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