Monday, 9 September 2013

Noa Alvarez - Sweet Magnetism

Noa Alvarez
Noa Alvarez is that swirl of chocolate sauce that advertisers dream about. You know the one. Late at night whilst surfing TV channels your tummy is seismically activated by its sticky magnetism and the rumbles that ensue moisten an already salivating mouth. Last Sunday (08/09/2013) Noa and her band gave us a taste of this sweetness at the Half Moon in Putney without ever quite sating the appetite. It was an 'amuse bouche' before the banquet that I hope will be served by Alvarez in the years to come.

Ben Gilbert - keys
The five piece fitted seamlessly into the Half Moon's retro music room. Dressed predominately in black, they were lit by both hot and cool pools of light that seemed to have spilled out of a David Lynch film. The hottest of the performers was bathed in the steeliest of spectrums confusingly. The valleys either side of Ben Gilbert's widows peak reflected the harsh blue tones giving the impression that he was less than human. His topside pallor suggested automaton while the hands were those of a full blooded male. His attacking work and subsequent solo on a high tempo 'It might as well be spring' was excellent and he was equally adroit on 'How Deep is the Ocean'.

Terry Knight - drums
The hottest of lights rested on the heavies towards the rear, yet despite this responsibility Terry Knight kept a low profile. A subtle performer and a recent graduate of the infamously bacchanalian Dordogne Jazz Summer school Knight looked comfortable on drums. We look forward to the time when he will swap his I.T. persona for the jazz man he craves to be.

Paul Michael
The least familiar of the faces on stage, Paul Michael, deserves a better look and listen before my emotional barometer is tipped in his favour. Maybe its his fierce top knot that has me running scared, evoking all those memories of the quick witted outlaws of The Water Margin.

Although it was Gilbert who started things moving earlier in the first set with his work on Caravan, he was ably supported by Tormod Sund on trumpet. I have talked before about the trigger moves a musician makes when he or she is in the groove, and for Sund it is a knee rattle. The left in particular wobbled as if a cascade of small change had escaped from a hole in his pocket.

Tormod Sund - trumpet
Again and again you felt yourself drawn to Noa Alvarez's beautiful deep eyes that plunged beneath a dark heavy fringe. Arms braced beside her, shoulders see-sawed, fingers snapped and with a switch of those eyelashes you felt the magnetic poles draw you closer. Alvarez responded well to the chemistry between Gilbert and Sund on 'Caravan' and again on 'It might as well be spring'. The way she finished each tune with more heart than when she started made you feel there was more to come. Judge for yourself and hear her at The Pheasantry (King's Road) on the 26th October.


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