The EFG Jazz Festival is coming to a close in London yet there is still lots to say about this year’s artists who hail from all over the world.
Last night, at 5 pm, in London, there was a seemingly quiet crowd gathered in the Barbican foyer, in front of the free stage to watch the two Irish jazz groups: The RGB Trio and The Eoin O’Callaghan Trio. Sometime later, just before the band were about to play, there were no seats available in the Barbican foyer with many now standing around.
Fast forward to 6 pm and a large audience has gravitated towards the enchanting music being played. Both groups, which comprise saxophone, bass and drums, play improvised and composed pieces, albeit very different takes has their sounds blasting through the centre, with hints of Irish melodies and Jan Garbarek-esque saxophone tones.
The musical set-up of the two groups, both with no chord instruments, allowed for a spacious sound, based on groove and showed a sense of simplicity in the timbre of each instrument during solos as well as musical interactions. At the very baseline, the musicians all played with endless care.
RGB Trio features some of Ireland’s finest musicians including Meilana Gillard, double-bassist Dave Redmond and drummer Kevin Brady. Unfortunately, Redmond could not attend the gig so the audience was presented with the wonderful Corman O’Brian.
The group began their set with their 2022 single ‘Neither Here No There’ before moving on to ‘Chrysalis’, a track from their latest album ‘RGB Trio’, written by the saxophonist Gillard, the musician who was seemingly the leader, or just the musician who did the talking.
Gillard took a moment to thank Culture Ireland, Improvised Music Company and Serious for setting up the gig and for funding the trip to London.
The second trio led by bassist and composer Eoin O’Halloran had obvious Irish trad references throughout the jazz set. There was a mixture of original compositions, with some electronic processing and a couple of arrangements by other composers, including a nursery rhyme originally from Japan. The band states that the “music is accented by catchy hooks and landmarks combined with broader themes by the instincts of long-standing collaborators Yuzuha O’Halloran on alto saxophone and drummer Hugh Denman. ”
The festival ends today Sunday 19th November but will be returning to the streets of London next year with another exciting array of musicians and events.