Spider’s Egg: SWR NewJazz

review spiders x1 cong

Sometimes we think jazz is the only music you need, ranging as it does from the electronic ambient to full-on prog: it’s as daft calling it all jazz as it is calling “world” anything that’s not western pop.

Normally the different sounds are on different albums by different people: on this mind-blowing CD, out now on Jazz-Haus, it’s all on one double CD.

Spider’s Egg is a sextet put together by Brazilian guitar player Pedro Martins, for the 50th edition of the SWR NewJazz meeting, in 2017.

The website londonjazznews.com said that broadcaster’s SWR aim is to give artists the time and space to develop new ideas.

Martins was the first South American artist to be given the role of curating SWR’s annual event. He gathered six young musicians to experiment in the SWR studios and develop a concert programme that they then presented in three concerts and recorded.

The album opens as it means to go on. Fuki’s Tune was written by David Binney, so it’s his alto sax and Sebastian Gille’s tenor sax weaving together in the intro. Just under two minutes in, the live playing stops and the sax becomes a recorded loop, the sax gradually being distorted to an ever-dwindling electronic noise. The percussion comes in and the sound is now slightly funky modern jazz, with Martins’ guitar and keyboard player Genevieve Artadi’s wordless vocals. It’s smooth and tight, slowly speeding up, Martins’ mesmerising fast guitar playing over a super-fast rhythm section and Frederico Heliodoro shredding on his bass. Eight minutes long, we’d guess this was the opening piece live, as the audience is still clapping respectively and not cheering at the virtuoso display.

Better Now (Heliodoro) is slower, with a Latin feel and Artadi singing; after the explosion of Fuki’s Tune, it seems a little tame, at least until the long sax solo in the middle.

Artadi’s own Edge of the Cliff has a jerky rhythm and more discordant sax, with other-worldly electronic blasts from the synth .. but there are two CDs of this.

It varies from melodic pop to electronica to superfast proggy jazz; three tracks are 10 minutes long and more, one is nine minutes. Engrossing.

Out now on SWR Jazzhaus, JAH-477.

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