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The music flowed naturally from the Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet

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Tuesday October 25, 2016

From The Financial Times

Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet, Ronnie Scott’s, London ‘” review
The music flowed naturally in this gig from the drummer and his band
By: Mike Hobart

Contemporary left-field jazz likes to pepper its narratives with historical references. At this gig, featuring a sax and rhythm quartet led by drummer Mark Guiliana, light polyrhythmic chatter was set alongside boogie-down shuffle and hi-hat wizardry alongside Art Blakey-like stubby press rolls. But these were passing moments to savour amid a conceptual approach that mingled modernist roots with the precision breaks and tricky grooves of the post-drum-machine era.

That the music flowed naturally was down to a tight compositional framework and the focus of a band playing with confidence at an end-of-tour gig. Each piece changed shape and juxtaposed the dense textures of classical and jazz with the simpler harmonies of alt-rock and pop. The dynamics were supple, understated and, by the second set, delivered with zest and bounce. And even though a tricky unison line or bash of drums lay in wait, solos were pushed to the edge.

The evening opened with a shuffling samba that moved from sax slow-burn to piano extravaganza and ended with a thump. A bass drone followed, underpinned by polyrhythmic swing, but the beat tightened and it altered course. Then stark, dark-hued piano introduced the complex ‘Mayor of Amsterdam’, featuring stately bowed bass, urban grooves and more besides.

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