Winner of the Parliamentary Jazz Award for Best Media, 2019



Ordinary Evidence

by Ian Mann

December 18, 2020


Treading the line between composition & improvisation this is music that makes for absorbing & compulsive listening as the musicians draw you slowly & subtly into their soundworld. A quiet masterpiece


“Ordinary Evidence”

(FMR Records – FMRCD577-0520)

Chris Cundy – bass clarinet, Paul K Scott – double bass, Saul Scott – drums

Triofolio is a collaboration between the Cheltenham based musicians Chris Cundy (bass clarinet) and the father and son rhythm team of Paul K Scott (double bass) and Saul Scott (drums).

Cundy, who also plays saxophone and ‘rarefied woodwinds’, is arguably the most well known of the three. He grew up in Kent before moving to Cheltenham to study painting at Cheltenham Art College. Discerning a synergy between the visual arts of drawing and painting and improvised music the self taught Cundy began to explore a variety of extended techniques (multi-phonics, circular breathing, micro-tonality, etc.) on a range of woodwinds, generally taking an overtly physical and tactile approach to the various instruments.

Initially influenced by the punk musician Billy Childish Cundy has always deployed a DIY approach to music making and his career has seen him exploring the worlds of jazz, pop, rock, folk and contemporary classical music. He is perhaps best known for his long running association with vocalist, guitarist and keyboard player Fyfe Dangerfield of the indie band Guillemots. Cundy has worked with extensively with Guillemots and on Dangerfield’s solo projects, as well as with Guillemots’ improvising offshoot Gannets (aka gaNNets). Other acts with whom Cundy has worked include Cold Specks, Thor & Friends, Timber Timbre, Little Annie and more.

The Gannets line up includes such heavyweight improvisers as Alex Ward (clarinet, guitar), Dominic Lash (double bass) and Steve Noble (drums) and it’s as an improvising musician that Cundy is best known to jazz audiences. His discography in this area is extensive and also extends into the world of the classical avant garde. His full output can be viewed at his website

Cundy has also played an important role in such Cheltenham based arts organisations as the long running Xposed Club, an outlet for improvised and experimental music, and the more recent, slightly more mainstream Chapel Arts, which had been running regular jazz events prior to the pandemic. Inevitably the work of both organisations is currently on hold.

Cundy was inspired to play bass clarinet after hearing the late, great Eric Dolphy and has now developed into something of a specialist on the instrument. The majority of his recent recordings feature him playing bass clarinet, sometimes in conjunction with other woodwind instruments.

Details are less easy to find when it comes to his colleagues in Triofolio. In the case of drummer Saul Scott this is perhaps not so surprising, “Ordinary Evidence” was recorded when Saul was just twelve years old!

The maturity of his playing on his recording début is frankly astonishing and ultimately a tribute to his father and rhythm section partner Paul K Scott. Paul has maintained a presence on the UK jazz scene for a number of years and has performed alongside such illustrious musicians as pianist Robert Mitchell, saxophonist Denys Baptiste and guitarist Phil Robson.

Recorded in the film studio at the University of Gloucestershire in July 2019 “Ordinary Evidence” features six new compositions from the pen of Cundy plus a further two pieces credited to Scott / Scott / Cundy,  these presumably representing examples of spontaneously realised music making.

The overall mood of the album is reflective and the music explores the hinterland between composition and improvisation, which, to these ears, is always an interesting musical place to be.

The opening “Maple List” sets the trio’s stall out with Cundy’s woody bass clarinet probing gently above the fluid grooves generated by the Scotts.  As the piece progresses the music becomes spikier, with the trio moving into more obviously improvised waters and engaging in an engrossing three way musical conversation. Saul Scott is very much an equal partner in this process and is in no way overawed by his older colleagues. When Cundy temporarily drops out father and son engage in absorbing bass / drums dialogue of their own. Eventually the trio come together once more for a further series of extemporisations around Cundy’s introductory theme.

The title track is a pensive, crepescular affair with Cundy’s solemn, sometimes grainy, bass clarinet lines shadowed by the woody, resonant timbres of Paul’s double bass and with Saul providing sensitive brushed colourations. Most twelve year olds seated behind a drum kit would probably be unable to resist the urge to hammer the hell out of it. In his colourist’s role Saul performs with an astonishing level of skill,  delicacy, maturity and restraint.

“Seeing In Leopards” introduces something of a Middle Eastern feel to the music as Cundy sketches an attractive series of bass clarinet melodies above a colourful, undulating bass and drum groove. Saul Scott conjures a fascinating array of sounds from his kit, particularly when the trio once again probe more deeply into improvised territory, before subsequently returning to Cundy’s theme.

The next two pieces are credited to the whole trio, beginning with “In The Gallery”, which is introduced by the sound of unaccompanied double bass, subsequently joined by grainy, low register bass clarinet.  Saul’s mallet rumbles later add to the slightly sinister atmosphere as the trio continue their nocturnal wanderings.

“Indus”  sounds more ‘written’ and again introduces something of an ‘eastern’ element to the music, as suggested by the title. Cundy’s bass clarinet meditations swirl above a gently rolling groove, eventually retiring on a temporary basis as Saul responds to the promptings of his father’s double bass.

The brief “Coots Display” opens with a spirited bass clarinet / drums exchange before exploring more ruminative territory with the addition of Paul’s bass.

“Casino Place” features resonant double bass, teamed with slinking bass clarinet and the furtive rustle of brushed drums. Once more there are vague hints of the Middle East and a general air of mystery pervades throughout.

The album concludes with “Annie’s Picture”, which maintains the contemplative mood and features one of Cundy’s most direct and affecting melodies. The improvising is gently ruminative, with the now well established elements of woody bass clarinet, deeply resonant double bass and subtly nuanced drums still very much in evidence. There’s a brief bass and drum dialogue, with Saul deploying brushes, prior to a return to the main theme.

The music of Triofolio isn’t the easiest to describe, but it does make for absorbing and compulsive listening as the three musicians draw you slowly and subtly into their sound-world. Unlike much improvised music, which can sometimes be uncompromisingly aggressive, the mood here is largely reflective, contemplative and ruminative, with each piece telling a story rather than acting as a display of technique or extended technique. The music treads a fine line between composition and improvisation to explore a territory that should hold some appeal to most adventurous jazz listeners. Here jazz combines with subtle traces of contemporary classical and various ethnic musics to create a gently exploratory sound that is very much the trio’s own.

Even though it’s not primarily about technique all three musicians impress with their playing. Cundy displays a remarkable agility and fluency upon the sometimes lugubrious bass clarinet, while Saul Scott’s performance, full of colour, texture and nuance is little short of stunning in its maturity. Paul K Scott’s authoritative double bass playing is the rock that holds it all together and forms the backbone of the music. All in all “Ordinary Evidence” represents something of a quiet masterpiece.

“Ordinary Evidence” is available via Cundy’s Bandcamp page;


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