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Cloudmakers Trio plus Two - Cloudmakers Trio plus Two, Dempsey’s, Cardiff, 17/01/2017. Rating: 4 out of 5 A large and appreciative audience turned out in force to enjoy this technically dazzling but frequently complex music. Photograph by Martin Healey.

Cloudmakers Trio plus Two, Dempsey’s, Cardiff, 17/01/2017.

Cloudmakers Trio plus Two?

Cloudmakers Five?

The Jim Hart Quintet?

It’s not easy to know how to bill this stellar quintet centred around the nucleus of the Cloudmakers Trio, vibraphonist Jim Hart, double bassist Michael Janisch and drummer Dave Smith. Currently the core trio are engaged in a UK tour in the company of Paris based alto saxophonist and clarinettist Antonin Tri Hoang and Innsbruck born, London based guitarist Hannes Riepler. In the main the repertoire that this all star five piece is playing is original material written by Hart specifically for this project and with the compositions loosely based around the theme of international co-operation and freedom of movement. It’s all highly appropriate given the multi-national group line up and the fact that the Cornish born Hart is now resident in France.

The Cloudmakers Trio first came together in 2010 for a collaboration with the American trumpeter Ralph Alessi, the results of which were finally released on disc in 2012 on the album “Live at The Pizza Express” which was released on Janisch’s Whirlwind Recordings imprint, a label that has consistently encouraged co-operation and collaboration between British, American and European musicians.   

In 2014 the studio recording “Abstract Forces” proved that Hart, Janisch and Smith could cut it on their own in the unusual context of the vibraphone trio. But Cloudmakers have always encouraged outside collaborators and they have worked previously with Tri Hoang and also with the American saxophonist Logan Richardson.

Hart, Janisch and Smith have all acquired impressive reputations for their work as bandleaders and as busy and in demand sidemen. Hart is currently involved in eight different groups working either as a vibraphonist or a drummer (he plays piano too). Meanwhile Smith is one of the most in demand drummers around - and not just in the jazz firmament. His knowledge of African rhythms informs his own groups Outhouse and Fofoulah and he is a member of Led Zeppelin legend Robert Plant’s Sensational Shape Shifters band. It’s quite a contrast between the main stage at Glastonbury and a cold January night in Dempsey’s!  The tireless Janisch is constantly at work as label boss, educator, tour organiser/facilitator and as one of the best bassists around, a player with a hugely propulsive tone, astonishing dexterity and an advanced musical intelligence.

Meanwhile Riepler is well known to UK jazz audiences as a bandleader with two albums to his credit, a prolific sideman and general mover and shaker – he currently organises the Vortex Downstairs programme at London’s Vortex Jazz Club and previously co-ordinated a regular session at Charlie Wright’s in Shoreditch.

For most UK audiences Tri Hoang was probably less of a known quantity, but he was to make a hugely substantial contribution to an excellent evening of music making.

Tonight’s gig was played under something of a shadow, the sad news that Dempsey’s as we know it is to close on February 12th 2017, making the jazz club that currently uses its upstairs room effectively homeless. It’s all been done at rather short notice with Jazz at Dempsey’s promoters Alistair McMurchie and Brenda O’Brien issuing the following statement on the Jazz at Dempsey’s website http://www.jazzatdempseys.org.uk

“Dempsey’s will close on February 12th. Brain’s Brewery, who own the building have decided to refurbish the building and reopen with a new name, management and purpose, which, we understand, will not include live music. We are looking for another suitable venue in central Cardiff and would welcome any suggestions or approaches. We will try to find alternative venues for bookings already made.” 

The news has shocked the jazz community in South Wales and beyond. Hart, Janisch, Smith and Riepler, all regular visitors to Dempsey’s were as dismayed as the fans. I was greatly saddened by the news - with its excellent acoustics, listening audience and handsome Kawai piano (lent to the club by Cardiff based pianist Jim Barber) Dempsey’s was, and for the moment still is, a great place to listen to music and I’ve enjoyed many great nights here over the course of the last eight years or so, making many good friends in the process. But Dempsey’s, and its previous incarnation the Four Bars Inn, has been the hub of the Cardiff jazz scene for even longer than that and it’s absolutely devastating to see it go. Let’s hope Alistair and Brenda can find another home for the music.

I can understand why Brain’s want to revamp the rather tired looking Dempsey’s but they don’t appear to have handled the matter particularly sympathetically and from what I’ve heard don’t emerge from the situation with very much credit. This is a shame as I have strong family connections with South Wales and have always enjoyed drinking Brain’s beer. 

It’s probable that tonight will be my last at Jazz at Dempsey’s in its current form but at least I picked a good one to sign off with. And on a positive note the news of the impending closure seemed to have galvanised the Cardiff jazz public and a large and appreciative audience turned out in force to enjoy this technically dazzling but frequently complex music.

A very long first set began with Hart’s “The Past Is Another Country”, the atmospheric intro featuring Smith’s mallet rumbles and the eerie sound of Hart’s bowed vibes. The latter is a technique I’ve seen deployed before by Hart, Matt Moran of Claudia Quintet and others, but usually the vibraphonist has used a violin bow or something similar. Hart seemed to have fashioned his own from a pair of old coathangers. Riepler and Tri Hoang added their voices to the music as the sound developed in layers, the saxophonist adding long melody lines to the fluid rhythms generated by the core trio plus Riepler. Fluid is a word particularly apposite to this group’s music which is constantly evolving around the tightly meshed, interlocking pulses and rhythms generated by Hart, Janisch and Smith, three musicians who know each others’ playing inside out. Various musicians take the lead,  and this piece included some brilliant four mallet soloing from Hart, but the individual features are less clearly demarcated than they are in more straight-ahead forms of jazz. This music is more clearly about group interaction and I noticed that despite the sometimes mind bogglingly complex nature of the material none of the musicians were sight reading, something that suggested that a high premium was being placed upon musical risk taking and the improvisational process.

Before announcing the second tune Hart alluded to the forthcoming closure and a spontaneous round of applause broke out for Alistair and Brenda. The tune itself, “Travelling Pulse” was subtitled “Somewhere North of Ghana” and allowed Smith to demonstrate his mastery of African rhythms. Riepler enjoyed a brief solo prior to a more extensive excursion by Tri Hoang, his incantations on alto evoking the sounds of North Africa as promised. Hart delivered a further dose of multi-mallet mastery prior to a lengthy passage featuring Tri Hoang’s unaccompanied alto. This demonstration of the circular breathing technique wasn’t the usual macho blustering, instead the young musician’s tone was frail, vulnerable and almost flute like, forming an effective contrast to the anthemic coda that arrived with the re-introduction of the whole band.

Cloudmakers have always had an affinity for the music of Thelonious Monk and a remarkable version of “Epistrophy” included an opening solo from Riepler, a self effacing but highly original guitarist. Smith then featured prominently as Cloudmakers demonstrated just how effective a unit the core trio can be.

“Golden”, a dedication to Hart’s young son Cosmo, born in France, was as close as the group got to a ballad. Introduced by a passage of unaccompanied guitar by Riepler the piece also saw Smith deploying various small percussive devices and Tri Hoang moving between instruments, the harsh harmolodics of the alto contrasting well with the softer, sweeter sound of the clarinet as he entered into an absorbing dialogue with Riepler’s guitar.

A first set lasting some eighty minutes concluded with “And Another Thing”, a Hart mash up of the standard “All The Things You Are” and Charlie Parker’s “Ornithology”. And it was the spirit of Bird that seemed to have the upper hand here as the quintet tore energetically through the piece displaying a bop inspired virtuosity with solos coming from Tri Hoang on alto, Janisch on bass and Riepler on guitar.

It was appropriate that Smith’s drums introduced the first tune of the second set, “The Road”, Hart’s dedication to the late Ed Blackwell. Smith continued to drum up a storm throughout, whether supporting the sax/guitar dialogue of Tri Hoang and Riepler or powering Hart’s virtuoso vibes soloing ( literally with bells on!) as the core trio took over.

“The Exchange” was a piece written, in French, by Hart’s wife Maud, describing a chance encounter on the London Underground. Introduced by Riepler and Janisch this was altogether more atmospheric and whimsical and was sometimes reminiscent of the music of Claudia Quintet, particularly during the solos from Tri Hoang on clarinet and Hart on vibes.

“Cycle Song” was another dedication, this time to the late, great British pianist and composer John Taylor. Introduced by Janisch at the bass the music developed slowly to finish in a set of dazzling exchanges between vibes, guitar and alto sax. 

The evening concluded with “Back Home”, a tune Hart described as “a nostalgic piece, written for Cornwall from afar”. Introduced by the composer’s bell like vibes and featuring melodic but deeply resonant bass and brushed drums this was the core trio at their most lyrical. Riepler then soloed on guitar with Tri Hoang supplying a complementary counter sax melody as the trio’s interlocking rhythmic patterns swirled around them. 

Brenda O’ Brien gave an emotional speech thanking the musicians and the audience for their support for Jazz at Dempsey’s over the years. By now it was nearly midnight but despite the great reception the band had enjoyed there was literally no time for an encore.

The current Cloudmakers Five tour includes two dates at The Vortex in March 2017 which are to be recorded with a view to releasing a live album, something that should be well worth waiting for.

In the meantime let’s hope that the closure of Dempsey’s doesn’t prevent us from seeing musicians of this quality in a club situation in Cardiff in the future.

The Cloudmakers Trio plus two tour continues at;

Jan 19 - Seven Arts, Leeds.
Jan 20 – Sheffield Jazz, Crookes Social club, Sheffield
Jan 21 – tbc
March 7 – Watermill Jazz
March 8 The Jazz Bar (Edinburgh) – Trio only
March 9 The Jazz Bar (Edinburgh) – Quintet
March 10 The Vortex, London
March 11 The Vortex, London
March 12 Herts Jazz, Welwyn Garden City

http://www.cloudmakerstrio.com


 

     


   

 

 

 

Cloudmakers Trio plus Two, Dempsey’s, Cardiff, 17/01/2017.

Cloudmakers Trio plus Two

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Reviewed by: Ian Mann

Live Review

4 out of 5

Cloudmakers Trio plus Two, Dempsey’s, Cardiff, 17/01/2017.
Photography: Photograph by Martin Healey

A large and appreciative audience turned out in force to enjoy this technically dazzling but frequently complex music. Photograph by Martin Healey.

Cloudmakers Trio plus Two, Dempsey’s, Cardiff, 17/01/2017.

Cloudmakers Trio plus Two?

Cloudmakers Five?

The Jim Hart Quintet?

It’s not easy to know how to bill this stellar quintet centred around the nucleus of the Cloudmakers Trio, vibraphonist Jim Hart, double bassist Michael Janisch and drummer Dave Smith. Currently the core trio are engaged in a UK tour in the company of Paris based alto saxophonist and clarinettist Antonin Tri Hoang and Innsbruck born, London based guitarist Hannes Riepler. In the main the repertoire that this all star five piece is playing is original material written by Hart specifically for this project and with the compositions loosely based around the theme of international co-operation and freedom of movement. It’s all highly appropriate given the multi-national group line up and the fact that the Cornish born Hart is now resident in France.

The Cloudmakers Trio first came together in 2010 for a collaboration with the American trumpeter Ralph Alessi, the results of which were finally released on disc in 2012 on the album “Live at The Pizza Express” which was released on Janisch’s Whirlwind Recordings imprint, a label that has consistently encouraged co-operation and collaboration between British, American and European musicians.   

In 2014 the studio recording “Abstract Forces” proved that Hart, Janisch and Smith could cut it on their own in the unusual context of the vibraphone trio. But Cloudmakers have always encouraged outside collaborators and they have worked previously with Tri Hoang and also with the American saxophonist Logan Richardson.

Hart, Janisch and Smith have all acquired impressive reputations for their work as bandleaders and as busy and in demand sidemen. Hart is currently involved in eight different groups working either as a vibraphonist or a drummer (he plays piano too). Meanwhile Smith is one of the most in demand drummers around - and not just in the jazz firmament. His knowledge of African rhythms informs his own groups Outhouse and Fofoulah and he is a member of Led Zeppelin legend Robert Plant’s Sensational Shape Shifters band. It’s quite a contrast between the main stage at Glastonbury and a cold January night in Dempsey’s!  The tireless Janisch is constantly at work as label boss, educator, tour organiser/facilitator and as one of the best bassists around, a player with a hugely propulsive tone, astonishing dexterity and an advanced musical intelligence.

Meanwhile Riepler is well known to UK jazz audiences as a bandleader with two albums to his credit, a prolific sideman and general mover and shaker – he currently organises the Vortex Downstairs programme at London’s Vortex Jazz Club and previously co-ordinated a regular session at Charlie Wright’s in Shoreditch.

For most UK audiences Tri Hoang was probably less of a known quantity, but he was to make a hugely substantial contribution to an excellent evening of music making.

Tonight’s gig was played under something of a shadow, the sad news that Dempsey’s as we know it is to close on February 12th 2017, making the jazz club that currently uses its upstairs room effectively homeless. It’s all been done at rather short notice with Jazz at Dempsey’s promoters Alistair McMurchie and Brenda O’Brien issuing the following statement on the Jazz at Dempsey’s website http://www.jazzatdempseys.org.uk

“Dempsey’s will close on February 12th. Brain’s Brewery, who own the building have decided to refurbish the building and reopen with a new name, management and purpose, which, we understand, will not include live music. We are looking for another suitable venue in central Cardiff and would welcome any suggestions or approaches. We will try to find alternative venues for bookings already made.” 

The news has shocked the jazz community in South Wales and beyond. Hart, Janisch, Smith and Riepler, all regular visitors to Dempsey’s were as dismayed as the fans. I was greatly saddened by the news - with its excellent acoustics, listening audience and handsome Kawai piano (lent to the club by Cardiff based pianist Jim Barber) Dempsey’s was, and for the moment still is, a great place to listen to music and I’ve enjoyed many great nights here over the course of the last eight years or so, making many good friends in the process. But Dempsey’s, and its previous incarnation the Four Bars Inn, has been the hub of the Cardiff jazz scene for even longer than that and it’s absolutely devastating to see it go. Let’s hope Alistair and Brenda can find another home for the music.

I can understand why Brain’s want to revamp the rather tired looking Dempsey’s but they don’t appear to have handled the matter particularly sympathetically and from what I’ve heard don’t emerge from the situation with very much credit. This is a shame as I have strong family connections with South Wales and have always enjoyed drinking Brain’s beer. 

It’s probable that tonight will be my last at Jazz at Dempsey’s in its current form but at least I picked a good one to sign off with. And on a positive note the news of the impending closure seemed to have galvanised the Cardiff jazz public and a large and appreciative audience turned out in force to enjoy this technically dazzling but frequently complex music.

A very long first set began with Hart’s “The Past Is Another Country”, the atmospheric intro featuring Smith’s mallet rumbles and the eerie sound of Hart’s bowed vibes. The latter is a technique I’ve seen deployed before by Hart, Matt Moran of Claudia Quintet and others, but usually the vibraphonist has used a violin bow or something similar. Hart seemed to have fashioned his own from a pair of old coathangers. Riepler and Tri Hoang added their voices to the music as the sound developed in layers, the saxophonist adding long melody lines to the fluid rhythms generated by the core trio plus Riepler. Fluid is a word particularly apposite to this group’s music which is constantly evolving around the tightly meshed, interlocking pulses and rhythms generated by Hart, Janisch and Smith, three musicians who know each others’ playing inside out. Various musicians take the lead,  and this piece included some brilliant four mallet soloing from Hart, but the individual features are less clearly demarcated than they are in more straight-ahead forms of jazz. This music is more clearly about group interaction and I noticed that despite the sometimes mind bogglingly complex nature of the material none of the musicians were sight reading, something that suggested that a high premium was being placed upon musical risk taking and the improvisational process.

Before announcing the second tune Hart alluded to the forthcoming closure and a spontaneous round of applause broke out for Alistair and Brenda. The tune itself, “Travelling Pulse” was subtitled “Somewhere North of Ghana” and allowed Smith to demonstrate his mastery of African rhythms. Riepler enjoyed a brief solo prior to a more extensive excursion by Tri Hoang, his incantations on alto evoking the sounds of North Africa as promised. Hart delivered a further dose of multi-mallet mastery prior to a lengthy passage featuring Tri Hoang’s unaccompanied alto. This demonstration of the circular breathing technique wasn’t the usual macho blustering, instead the young musician’s tone was frail, vulnerable and almost flute like, forming an effective contrast to the anthemic coda that arrived with the re-introduction of the whole band.

Cloudmakers have always had an affinity for the music of Thelonious Monk and a remarkable version of “Epistrophy” included an opening solo from Riepler, a self effacing but highly original guitarist. Smith then featured prominently as Cloudmakers demonstrated just how effective a unit the core trio can be.

“Golden”, a dedication to Hart’s young son Cosmo, born in France, was as close as the group got to a ballad. Introduced by a passage of unaccompanied guitar by Riepler the piece also saw Smith deploying various small percussive devices and Tri Hoang moving between instruments, the harsh harmolodics of the alto contrasting well with the softer, sweeter sound of the clarinet as he entered into an absorbing dialogue with Riepler’s guitar.

A first set lasting some eighty minutes concluded with “And Another Thing”, a Hart mash up of the standard “All The Things You Are” and Charlie Parker’s “Ornithology”. And it was the spirit of Bird that seemed to have the upper hand here as the quintet tore energetically through the piece displaying a bop inspired virtuosity with solos coming from Tri Hoang on alto, Janisch on bass and Riepler on guitar.

It was appropriate that Smith’s drums introduced the first tune of the second set, “The Road”, Hart’s dedication to the late Ed Blackwell. Smith continued to drum up a storm throughout, whether supporting the sax/guitar dialogue of Tri Hoang and Riepler or powering Hart’s virtuoso vibes soloing ( literally with bells on!) as the core trio took over.

“The Exchange” was a piece written, in French, by Hart’s wife Maud, describing a chance encounter on the London Underground. Introduced by Riepler and Janisch this was altogether more atmospheric and whimsical and was sometimes reminiscent of the music of Claudia Quintet, particularly during the solos from Tri Hoang on clarinet and Hart on vibes.

“Cycle Song” was another dedication, this time to the late, great British pianist and composer John Taylor. Introduced by Janisch at the bass the music developed slowly to finish in a set of dazzling exchanges between vibes, guitar and alto sax. 

The evening concluded with “Back Home”, a tune Hart described as “a nostalgic piece, written for Cornwall from afar”. Introduced by the composer’s bell like vibes and featuring melodic but deeply resonant bass and brushed drums this was the core trio at their most lyrical. Riepler then soloed on guitar with Tri Hoang supplying a complementary counter sax melody as the trio’s interlocking rhythmic patterns swirled around them. 

Brenda O’ Brien gave an emotional speech thanking the musicians and the audience for their support for Jazz at Dempsey’s over the years. By now it was nearly midnight but despite the great reception the band had enjoyed there was literally no time for an encore.

The current Cloudmakers Five tour includes two dates at The Vortex in March 2017 which are to be recorded with a view to releasing a live album, something that should be well worth waiting for.

In the meantime let’s hope that the closure of Dempsey’s doesn’t prevent us from seeing musicians of this quality in a club situation in Cardiff in the future.

The Cloudmakers Trio plus two tour continues at;

Jan 19 - Seven Arts, Leeds.
Jan 20 – Sheffield Jazz, Crookes Social club, Sheffield
Jan 21 – tbc
March 7 – Watermill Jazz
March 8 The Jazz Bar (Edinburgh) – Trio only
March 9 The Jazz Bar (Edinburgh) – Quintet
March 10 The Vortex, London
March 11 The Vortex, London
March 12 Herts Jazz, Welwyn Garden City

http://www.cloudmakerstrio.com


 

     


   

 

 

 


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