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Recital Room, 23rd May 2010

A more conventional name for this outfit would have been The Jarry Singla Sextet, as pianist Singla wrote all the music they played and did all the onstage introductions. His compositions were generally warm and lyrical and somehow English-sounding, but with an occasional hint of his Indian roots coming through. As well as playing some excellent piano, there were a couple of tunes on which he laid tambourines and bells on the piano strings to produce a most un-John Cage like prepared piano.

The dominant personality in the rest of the band was flügelhorn player Tom Arthurs. He impressed me by playing in a way which brought out the instrument’s similarities to the french horn, rather than making it sound like a marshmallowy trumpet. On a couple of tunes he played trumpet but was very much a flügelhorn player doubling on trumpet rather than vice-versa. The other two horn players were Julian Argüelles on tenor (and occasional soprano) sax and Wolgang Schmidtke on bass clarinet (and occasional soprano sax). Much of the time the horns were playing interweaving lines rather than soloing one after another, and this gave the band a lovely rich sound. Bassist Wolfgang Plümer was a fine player, although at times I thought it would have fitted in better with the overall sound if he had been playing double bass rather than bass guitar. Etienne Nillesen didn’t get a mention in the pre-gig publicity but was a very impressive drummer.

I didn’t know much about these musicians before I went, but overall I thought it was a very enjoyable concert which anyone who likes the sort of jazz Kenny Wheeler or John Taylor plays would have appreciated. It’s just a pity the turnout was so low.

Rob Adams reviewed the concert in the Herald, and there’s a review of their London performance (with a different drummer?) on the Vortex website.