Black Top boogie on down for Sardinian Extravaganza

This exciting initiative taken by London-based vocalist Filomena Campus is the best possible advert for cross-cultural exchange at a time of internal strife in Europe. Billed as 'Alghero incontra Londra' the meeting of musicians from the enchantingly beautiful Sardinian city of Alghero and the dizzying metropolis that is London produces a pleasing contrast of styles as well as proof of the value of spontaneous collaboration. Staged at Poco Loco, a well-appointed restaurant with a spacious stage and good acoustics the double bill presents local players, bassist Salvatore Maltana and guitarist Marcello Peghin as well as British visitors, Black Top, aka pianist Pat Thomas and vibraphonist Orphy Robinson. The two duos are ably representative of their respective heartlands. Each has its own take on a wide range of traditions.

IMG 0055-2

Maltana and Peghin (above) are players upholding a long lineage of European musicians who embrace improvisation while referencing a folk heritage that is rich to say the least. Having said that both the jazz and western pop culture of these musicians is anything but superficial and Peghin's affinity to the work of Wayne Shorter and Neil Young makes him an artist with a substantial stylistic well from which to draw. His touch is assured and his alternation of bulbous, resonant chords, enhanced by a broad necked 10-string guitar, and fleet, serpentine single note lines brings a fair amount of detail to the table. Maltana's upright bass is perhaps a touch underpowered at first but soon settles info fruitful dialogue with Peghin in which melodies are clearly articulated and solos bring out the woody timbres of the two acoustic instruments.

Much anticipation greets Black Top primarily because it is a largely unknown quantity in Sardinia, and Thomas and Robinson's setup – synthesizers and iPads as well as piano and vibraphone make it clear that the musicians will be delving into electronics and quotidian sound as well as lending themselves to on-the-spot creativity. There are a few stares of bemusement at the first part of the performance as Robinson triggers myriad spoken word samples and effects and the music takes shape slowly from a series of atmospheric soundscapes that snap and crackle away, conjuring up the sense of a radio show in which voices spark into life at unpredictable junctures. Organically, arrangements dip and swerve but when Robinson takes a ferocious fizzing vibes solo there is a release of tension from the audience as it finally recognizes something that might be called jazz, or the virtuosity synonymous with it.

IMG 0110-2

As abstract as the music is a great amount of groove drops in and out of earshot, pushing the music into the African-Caribbean rhythmic waters beholden to the identity of the group, and making it clear that the avant-garde with which Thomas and Robinson are largely associated has always engaged with populism since the days of Ornette Coleman and Thelonious Monk's sprightly forays into calypso. The audience warms further to the theme but there are still a few raised eyebrows over the fact that Black Top pumps up the volume in a way that may be alien to most patrons in a seated venue. It's a fascinating spectacle to see some heads, acclimatising to the extra decibels, starting to nod as the raucous riffing of which both the players are more than capable, takes a hold. If there were any resistance to some of the harder edges of Black Top's sound then, as Campus (above with Robinson) herself stated, that was no bad thing, given that challenging as well as engaging audiences is an essential part of her remit. When all four musicians come together to play a short set at the end of the evening there is also a degree of wrestling with ideas as they search for common ground, with the digital beats eliciting a tougher modal attack from Maltana and strident rhythm work from Peghin. The novel quartet finds a vamp and then twists it into more staggered time before dissolving into a shower of haunting sounds. The encounter is a bracing one, and the presence of several local musicians and dignitaries such as mayor Mario Bruno reflects the importance of the project.

Luckily for British audiences the circle will be complete when the Sardinians come to London in November for two nights at Soho's Pizza Express Jazz Club where they will be joined by Black Top and several other notable guests such as Cleveland Watkiss, Rod Youngs, Steve Lodder and Marta Capponi.

– Kevin Le Gendre

– Photos by Carl Hyde

Filomena Campus' Theatralia Jazz Festival takes place on 13-14 November at Pizza Express Jazz Club, Dean street, Soho, London, W1D 3RW - for more info visit www.pizzaexpresslive.com

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Breaking News

Turquazz: Anatolian Jazz & Roots Fes…

  The inaugural Turquazz: Anatolian Jazz & Roots Festival – a...

Read More.....

Saxophonist Seamus Blake launches new al…

Acclaimed saxophonist Seamus Blake releases his new album, Guardians of...

Read More.....

Taborn's Finessed Tapestry Of Textures F…

  The large number of musicians at this sold-out show says...

Read More.....

Abdullah Ibrahim, Gregory Porter, Yazz A…

The full line-up has been announced for Cheltenham Jazz Festival...

Read More.....

Irreversible Entanglements + Matana Robe…

  Matana Roberts (above) is so relaxed tonight her short opening set...

Read More.....

Jazz FM Awards nominations celebrate gia…

The names for the 2019 Jazz FM Awards were revealed...

Read More.....

Patchwork Jazz Orchestra premiere ‘Badge…

The London-based 17-piece Patchwork Jazz Orchestra are set to release...

Read More.....

NJYO, JCM, friends and family pay tribut…

As Jon Hiseman would say: “If you are going to...

Read More.....

Sons of Kemet, Moses Boyd, Nubya Garcia …

The programme has been announced the inaugural We Out Here...

Read More.....

NCO hit bullseye with CTI at Ronnie Scot…

Tomorrow’s Warriors’ role as a springboard for emerging talent in...

Read More.....

Countdown To Ecstasy: Royal Academy Big …

  There are some people, who I've never understood, who smirk...

Read More.....

Melt Yourself Down, Laura Mvula and Kama…

The second edition of Love Supreme at the Roundhouse takes...

Read More.....

Michel Legrand 24/02/1932 – 26/01/2019

The prolific French film composer and pianist Michel Legrand was...

Read More.....

Hamasyan In Inspired Orchestral Manoeuvr…

The Brussels Jazz Festival is a relative newcomer, but this...

Read More.....

Zara McFarlane and Soweto Kinch turn up …

The night goes on and they keep on coming, a...

Read More.....

Jazz meets theatrical protest with The A…

Few styles of music can claim to have come as...

Read More.....

Snarky Puppy return with new album Immig…

Grammy-winning groove crew Snarky Puppy return with a new studio...

Read More.....

Blue Note spearheads 80th Anniversary Ye…

The iconic Blue Note label will celebrate its milestone 80th...

Read More.....

John Turville dives in Head First – new …

Pianist and composer John Turville returns with a new album...

Read More.....

Uri Caine and Henri Texier dazzle while …

Jazzfestival Münster is celebrating its 40th anniversary, but has only...

Read More.....

Ezra Collective bring the Brit-Jazz Nois…

Much like in other recent editions of New York's Winter...

Read More.....

Yazz Ahmed and Jasper Høiby line-up for …

For some there is a Holy Grail in jazz: to...

Read More.....

Matthew Herbert marks Brexit with Big Ba…

Composer, conductor and sampling-supremo Matthew Herbert is set to release...

Read More.....

Joseph Jarman 14/09/37 – 9/01/19

  The recitation of 'Non-Cognitive Aspects Of The City' by Dante...

Read More.....

Wandering Monster step up with 'Samsara…

Bass-led progressive jazz group Wandering Monster are set to release...

Read More.....

Cécile McLorin Salvant, Oded Tzur Quarte…

  The unfeasibly warm November weather was matched by the heat...

Read More.....

Edinburgh embraces the Thrill of Belgian…

Belgium may be better known for its beer than its...

Read More.....

Mitchener And Yarde Break Blues Boundari…

The blues is a lived and living truth, as much...

Read More.....

Ra's Arkestra Announces Annual Lewes Aff…

The Sun Ra Arkestra – led by that indomitable intergalactic...

Read More.....

Steve Williamson, Silje Nergaard and Tin…

Southampton’s Turner Sims music venue has announced an impressive line-up...

Read More.....

19-year-old vibraphonist Sasha Berliner …

19-year-old vibraphonist Sasha Berliner wins LetterOne Rising Stars Award California-based...

Read More.....

Nordic Wonders: Rune Grammofon Bring The…

Determined individuals who ignore categories define the Norwegian scene, in...

Read More.....

Mehldau Marvels At Jazztopad

  The entire spectrum can dazzle at Jazztopad, a Polish festival in...

Read More.....

Jazz FM Awards return for 2019

The Jazz FM Awards return for a sixth time next...

Read More.....

Chick Corea, Madeleine Peyroux and Kamaa…

The organisers of the Love Supreme Jazz Festival, which runs...

Read More.....

Peter Boizot 1929 – 2018

The press obituaries for Peter Boizot, who has died aged...

Read More.....

Making The Cut Mpu 300x500px

Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

@KirkdaleBooks a bee-hemoth
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@ZrazyMusic great skills, but great tackle at the end too
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA