Winner of the Parliamentary Jazz Award for Best Media, 2019


by Ian Mann

April 03, 2019


A well balanced unit with a relaxed and easy rapport who interact seamlessly throughout. Naturally the standard of the musicianship is uniformly high with Storey himself particularly impressive.

Dave Storey Trio


(Impossible Ark Records)

Dave Storey is young London based drummer and composer. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music where his drum tutors included such influential musicians as Martin France, Tim Giles, Mark Sanders, Gene Calderazzo and Jim Hart.

Since completing his Masters Storey has become a busy presence on the London jazz scene, performing regularly at clubs such as Ronnie Scott’s, Kansas Smitty’s, The Vortex and the 606.

As a busy sideman he has appeared on the Jazzmann web pages on numerous occasions performing with band leaders such as saxophonists Tom Barford and Tom Smith and pianists Tom Millar and Sam Leak. He is also a member of trombonist Olli Martin’s quintet and of Moostak Trio, alongside guitarist Harry Christelis and bassist Andrea Di Biase.

Storey also lead his own trio which includes saxophonist James Allsopp and bassist Conor Chaplin, both leading figures on the contemporary London jazz scene. “Bosco” represents their début recording and is a vinyl / digital release on the Impossible Ark record label. I’m indebted to Dave for transferring the music to CD just for me, specifically for review purposes.

“Bosco” features nine pieces of music, one of these being an arrangement of Billy Strayhorn’s “A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing”. In the absence of the album artwork I’m assuming that the rest, many of them with pleasingly whimsical titles, are Storey originals.

The trio have been active for four years and have developed an admirable rapport despite the fact that the individual members are all consistently busy with other projects. Their music is within the jazz tradition with the group describing their approach thus;
“the music reflects reverence and respect of the jazz tradition without ever being beholden to its dogma, which results in music that feels unpretentious but never throwaway or without considerable weight”.

The most obvious reference point is the Sonny Rollins Trio, but with this drummer led unit putting a contemporary slant on the music. Opening track “Big Chicken” fairly steams along with Allsopp soloing on tenor above Chaplin’s rapid bass walk and the rolling, fluid drum grooves laid down by the leader. Storey’s drums come to the foreground at regular intervals during this spirited and energetic opener.

“The Sun Is Big” is less frenetic, with Allsopp probing gently, but purposefully, above undulating, consistently evolving drum and bass patterns. Chaplin comes to the fore with a double bass solo that combines melodicism with dexterity and resonance.

Strayhorn’s “A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing” is given a beautiful ballad reading with Allsopp’s smoky, after hours tenor sympathetically supported by Chaplin’s languid double bass and Storey’s delicate and expressive brush and mallet work.

“Cautious Tortoise” (see what I mean about those titles – or possibly turtles!) ups the energy levels once more, throwing some quirky stop-start rhythms into the mix as Allsopp and Storey engage in lively debate with a vigorous series of sax and drum exchanges.

The aptly named “Twisty” maintains the momentum with Allsopp’s tenor slaloming its way around the busily percolating rhythms cooked up by Storey and Chaplin, with the leader’s drums periodically coming to the fore.

I’m not sure who the title track is named for but it’s a beguiling, lilting piece paced by Chaplin’s melodic bass motif / groove, shades here of Paul Chambers, which acts as the fulcrum for Allsopp’s leisurely tenor sax explorations as Storey provides both colour and momentum from the kit with his ever evolving rhythmic patterns.

“Lumpy Bunny” renews the dialogue between Allsopp and Storey with Chaplin’s muscular bass grooves providing an anchoring role as the saxophonist stretches out, subsequently answered by an expansive drum feature. It’s all bright, brisk and exciting.

I’m not sure if the title “Old Blue Nose” represents an oblique reference to Birmingham City F.C.
– one suspects not – but there’s plenty of blues in the music with Allsopp’s tenor snaking sinuously around the rhythm section’s rolling grooves. Chaplin delivers an impressive double bass solo and there’s an extended drum feature from the leader prior to a final re-statement of the theme.

The album ends as it began, on an energetic note.  The boppish “Yo Yo” incorporates solos for Chaplin, Allsopp and Storey, the leader signing his début solo album off with a flourish.

“Bosco” is an enjoyable album and a worthy addition to the canon of the saxophone trio, not withstanding the fact that this particular threesome is led by a drummer. Storey, Allsopp and Chaplin are a well balanced unit with a relaxed and easy rapport who interact seamlessly throughout. Naturally the standard of the musicianship is uniformly high with Storey himself in particularly impressive form, his drumming consistently colourful, inventive and intelligent.

That said there’s nothing particularly earth shaking here. As the trio promised the music is unpretentious and firmly within the ‘tradition’ but it’s superbly delivered. However there were moments when I’d have appreciated something a little more contemporary and ‘cutting edge’, but perhaps this is something these three musicians prefer to deliver elsewhere in different musical contexts. They clearly relish playing this music in this style and one suspects that witnessing them live would be an exciting and rewarding experience.

Listeners will have the chance to do just this on the trio’s currently ongoing tour at the dates listed below;

April 08 – Beeston Library, Nottingham
April 09 – Worksop Library, Worksop
April 10 – Southwell Library, Southwell
April 11 – West Bridgford Library, Nottingham
April 12 – Peggy’s Skylight, Nottingham
April 16 – ALBUM LAUNCH, Pizza Express, London
April 28 – Southampton Modern Jazz Club, Southampton
April 29 – The Beaver Inn, Appledore
April 30 – St Ives Jazz Club, St. Ives
May 01 – Bronx Bar, Teignmouth
May 03 – 1000 Trades, Birmingham
May 31 – The Verdict Jazz Club, Brighton + Workshop

“Bosco” is available from;

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