City Halls Recital Room, 5th December 2006

Although Tommy Smith was the first name on the bill, it was Arild Andersen who provided most of the material for this concert: a long suite called “Independency” which made up the first half, and then several shorter pieces in a second half which also included several Scottish and Norwegian folk songs and “Prelude to a Kiss”.

Both players used a variety of effect pedals, particularly Andersen, who on occasion would sample his own playing, sequence it, play something above the loop, sample this second line, sequence that, and then play a third part above the overdubbed samples. It sounds gimmicky, but it worked well. One of my favourite albums this year is Albert Mangelsdorff’s “Triplicity”, which Andersen plays on, and it strikes me that there’s something about his playing which is particularly suited to groups without a piano or guitar. He has a deep full sound, never abandons the basic idea of the bass being there to provide a harmonic and rhythmic backdrop to whatever the rest of the band are doing, but is able to provide inventive melodic playing as well. He’s also loud without being overpowering.

The duo setting also gave Tommy Smith a chance to show off his full technique and to demonstrate the range of tones he can get from his horn.