Friday 6 December 2013

Peter Lee / Narcissus - The Bold, Beautiful, Young and Serious

Peter Lee - Piano
The bristling jazz organisers, Young & Serious, hosted a suitably edgy concert at the EFG London Jazz festival this year (19/11/2013). Providing a platform for the exciting 5 piece Narcissus, under the leadership of Peter Lee.  Pitt the Younger would have been proud of Lee's assured performance in the Front Room of Queens Elizabeth Hall before an overflowing audience and a selection of older jazz glitterati. As I stood there sketching I noticed amongst others Gareth Lockrane, Eric Ford and Geoff Gascoyne come in to check-out jazz's new breed.

Huw Foster - Bass
With a nod between Peter Lee and Ali Thynne on drums we ran into the opening tunes' flip flopping tempos. Huw Foster's bass drove his deep tyre tracks all over it and again on second composition 'Mirror Stage' he was the pathfinder, navigating with a slow power. His deep grooves kicked sand in our faces, creating a thirst that needed to be sated by Josh Arcoleo. Even though we gorged on his saxophone we wanted more and splutteringly we gulped it in.

Josh Arcoleo - Saxophone
Arcoleo rode the waves while Tom Varrall skimmed his short hard slingshots across the third tune 'Dependency'. The next, 'Criss Cross' brought Peter Lee to the fore and it was a standout in this succinct 6 tune set. Lee cuts a frail and languid figure, dark and attractive like Lucky Luke in appearance. His rising stance announced the composition's 'prog jazz' spring and Lee enticed us with a light and fumbling happiness. The tune darted into the audience like a rolling coin, balancing on its edge, people rose in their seats to see where the nugget's journey would end.

Tom Varrall - Guitar
The Christian Hymn 'How Great Thou Art' combined Synth and Bass in a pulsating performance that sucked our meandering feet into its sludge yet we stood looking up into the light.

Ali Thynne - Drums
Finally as the QEH filled to bursting, Narcissus signed off with 'Writer's Block' and its upbeat punch, like walking down a NYC sidewalk. The crowd swelled with coffee swiggers and baguette wolfers who crammed every available floor space as though we had in reality found ourselves in the city's rush-hour traffic. We fell back into the shards of the metropolis and the saxophone's sirens hit hard.


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