The new album by Rory Simmons’ Fringe Magnetic is big band leftfield jazz at its best and no doubt the highlight of the forthcoming Loop Collective Festival at the Vortex.
What with Matthew Halsall on Gilles Peterson the other day, here’s another trumpeter that knows how to play and lead a massive band that contemporary jazz with classical and modal and free jazz roots with vocals from Norway that recall the Jazzland label at it’s best.
Founded in 2005, Loop is a collective of like-minded jazz musicians (much in the style of the F-IRE Collective, E17 jazz or even Impossible Ark) but recording and promoting “the artistic diversity of its community”.
That is certainly true of Empty Spaces, led by Rory Simmons (trumpet/flugel horn), the 11 tracks had their origins in a jazz classical project that was part composed, part improvised.
Loop has run a weekly gig at the Oxford in Kentish Town for the past three years and this is their ninth album release (others have included appearances by other usual suspects like Nostalgia77 Sessions man Mark Hanslip, Tim Garland’s Northern Underground bassist Phil Donkin and As, Gwilym Simcock and Asaf Sirkis).
And on that subject, if you’re into the Garland / Gwilym Simcock jazz orchestra with more of a Jez Nelson element on the free-side (especially Ivo Neame on piano when given a chance; ‘Baron & Bump’ is particularly good as the wind section get a good blow out).
You won’t be surprised to hear that Simmons, since graduating from Trinity College of Music in 2004, has worked with many of finest jazz musicians including Barak Schmool (F-IRE), Michael Garrick’s Britannia Orchestra, Non-Classical, John Etheridge (and many more including Grand Union and a host of ‘popular’ acts like Bat For Lashes, Friendly Fires, Katie Melua and has tour the world a part of Jamie Cullum’s band).
Now the last band of this size doing this type of thing was Gwilym Simcock‘s Nontet (that’s nine) at the 2003 Swanage Jazz Festival that was fantastic. He included a vocalist then but Fringe Magnetic has two! (So is there a name for an 11 piece group?)
Both are strongly impressive. ‘Ish’ features Andrew Plummer doing a cross between David Thomas (Pere Ubu) and Tom Waits that features lyrics from a Charles Bukowski poem (I think that says it all – in a good way). The other vocalist is Elisabeth Nygaard who is Norwegian (bit of a Norwegian invasion at the moment with the return of the ten piece Jaga Jazzist with a new album One-Armed Bandit on Ninja Tune and the fantastic Nils Petter Molv?¶r on tour). Nygaard has got that jazz quirkiness al a Hanne Hukkleberg meets Norma Winston; especially on the scary reprise of ‘Empty Spaces’ (love those Norwegian warbles).
By contrast ‘Tiden’ (Norwegian for time) is quite groovy jazz’n’b with Simmons on his best Miles/NPM cool, ‘Little Boben’ even sounds a little Carlos Ni?±o/Build An Ark with all that flute and the set ends with ‘Tall Stories’, that’s a bit folky on the violin and bass clarinet front which is always good.
Fringe Magnetic will be appearing at the Vortex on 20th February as part of the Loop Festival and a slimmed down 6 man non singing version will line up at Charlie Wrights in Hoxton tomorrow (1st Feb) and both sound excellent nights out and worth booking as there won’t be much in the way of empty spaces in the crowd.
The Empty Spaces album has a bit of jazz everything but without being contrived or false; suggest you get yourself into the loop!
1 Feb 2010 20:30 Charlie Wrights, 45 Pitfield Street, Shoreditch, London
20 Feb 2010 20:00 Loop Festival – Vortex Dalston Kingsland, London and South East
2 May 2010 Cheltenham Jazz Festival Cheltenham
20 Feb 2010 (as above)
25 Mar 2010 20:00 Elisabeth Nygaard @ Verve, Leeds
4 Apr 2010 15:00 Elisabeth Nygaard @ Cuckoo’s Fest Leeds
2 May 2010 (as above wihth Fringe Magnetic)
Reviewed: Fringe Magnetic – Empty Spaces (Loop Records) Cat. No. Release date: 1st February 2010: Rory Simmons (trumpet, flugel horn), Robin Fincker (clarinet), Tori Freestone (flute), James Allsopp (bass clarinet), Kit Massey (violin), Natalie Rosario (cello), Jasper Holby (bass), Ivo Neame (piano), Ben Reynolds (drums), Elisabeth Nygaard (vocals) and Andrew Plummer (vocals).
1. Eyeball 6:31
2. Empty Spaces (feat. Elisabeth Nygaard) 3:37
3. Little Boban 11.03
4. Tiden (feat. Elisabeth Nygaard) 4:34
5. Baron And Bump 7:58
6. Empty Spaces Reprise (feat. Elisabeth Nygaard) 1:57
7. Ish (feat. Andrew Plummer) 4:18
8. Ish Outro 1:01
9. Making Sense Of You And Me (feat. Elisabeth Nygaard) 6:29
10. Short Stories 2:08
11. Tall Stories 9:04
December 1, 2009 – Tuesday: Jez Nelson Album of the Day – Fringe Magnetic Empty Spaces was chosen by Jez Nelson (presenter of BBC Radio 3′s Jazz on 3) as his album of the day last monday. He will be playing tracks from the record on next weeks show.
SWANAGE JAZZ FESTIVAL – JULY 11-13 2003. The Dorset festival kicks off on Friday evening with Bob Kerr’s Whoopee Band, Denise Lawrence Band, Gwilym Simcock Nonet …
Gilles Peterson: 13th January 2010 :: MATTHEW HALSALL IN SESSION AT MAIDA VALE
Christian Scott – The Eraser (Concorde)