Since the year turned so, it seems, has my taste in music. Well not really, but there’s definitely been something of a shift in some of the things I have been listening to in the opening few weeks of 2019. I have often featured bands on here who have had some strong jazz influences to them, but would probably not classify themselves as being ‘jazz’ per se.
To give you an idea of the sort of stuff I’ve been listening to I’ve done a Spotify playlist which features many of the, mainly, jazz artists that I have just recently discovered… although there were a few that I have known a little longer. I hope that there are at least a few tracks that you will find interesting.
One of the acts that you will find on this list is Ill Considered, with a track from one of their previous albums, ‘3’. This year has, however, seen the simultaneous release of not one but two further LPs… 5 & 6, which add significantly to the band’s oeuvre.
Ill Considered are a four piece from London, comprising:
Idris Rahman: Saxophone, Bass Clarinet
Leon Brichard: Electric bass, Upright bass
Emre ramazanoglu: Drums, Nord drums
Satin Singh: Percussion
They actually seem to work in a very similar way to some of the groups that I regularly cover on here, such as Kungens Män, who also take a few ideas with them into the studio before unleashing their own musical and improvisational powers into our ears… and then more deeply into our souls. As such I don’t, as usual, want to get too hung up on genre… instead let’s just launch these sets and see where they take us.
I think that the first thing to say about them is the sheer vivacity and voracity of the playing here. I find both albums to be vibrant and replete with moments which just seem to hit me like sonic thunderbolts.
The albums are ideally to be heard together and take us on an aural journey which, for me, is every bit as deep and affecting as anything I’ve listened to recently. I like the way that each track has its own sort of atmosphere. In each case, for me, this is carved out of the relationship between a rock solid rhythm section which, as you would expect, develops the foundations of each number, with Rahman’s saxophone and clarinet then swooping and soaring around in a manner which, on its own, seems to have no grounding.
This seems to forge a tension within each track from which something really creative emerges in each case… and while there are melodic resolutions here, more generally the music here is one that seems on the edge of chaos… of the band testing the boundaries or their own playing and of each other, yet knowing exactly when to draw back in again.
As a result you get two albums worth of music that you really do just want to play all over again… because… you find yourself wondering how this opus began. As such I could not really say which album I prefer. Perhaps ‘6’ is marginally more abstract in its concepts than ‘5’, and has the added dimension of ‘Special Guest’ Steve Ashmore’s guitar, but really you need to listen to ‘5’ to put ‘6’ into context.
Either way if you like improvisational music that pushes the boundaries it ways such that you can listen to over and over again, then this is for you. Similarly if you are a regular reader of this website and are wondering when you think contemporary jazz it for you, have a listen to some of the tracks here and judge for yourself… open your mind, you really won’t regret it.
‘5’ and ‘6’ are available now on vinyl & d/l from Ill Considered’s bandcamp page here.
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Spotify playlists here.