Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1090

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The Boom Yeh : Elgar Rooms RAH/ EFG Festival 20/11/18

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Have you ever wanted to delete all the unnecessary fluff from a song and leave only the most memorable riffs? If so,then The Boom Yeh may well be the answer.Entertaining instrumental bands are few and far between.

A seven-piece london jazz funk band that's been in the game for quite a while now saw them rock up at the sumptuous surroundings of the Elgar Rooms nestled at the top of the Royal Albert Hall,kicking off the evening ( and their participation in the EFG Festival) with the horn heavy,head nodding,afro funk barnstormer 'Dark Star'. Guitarist Jon Speedy's chunky rhythm drove the band like a finely tuned engine with drummer, Alessio Barelli playing a solid groove fundament, and the quality of material of the ensemble allowed each player, with chops I might add, (which they have in abundance) to shine through.
This was an impressive started that morphed sweetly into a cool slice of reggae tinged tonality that grew into a 12/8 maelstrom of horn freneticism.Trombone,alto sax and baritone really gave the horn section gravitas and visceral earthiness.Ian Bailey pulling off a zestful alto solo full of swagger during 'Momentum' being a case in point.

The group’s intricate balance of individual musicianship and sense of fluid dynamism combined with taut ensemble work was evident tonight on the brand new and funky 'Hot Tamale' driven by some pumping bass and a horn fours trade off, giving the piece serious movement especially when it branched off into to some second line piece of Nola goodness! Afro beat was on the menu too, in the guise of 'Reverberations To Constellations" propulsed motorically by the drummer hidden out of my sight by a giant pot plant!

One thing to say about the Elgar rooms is it's perfect for loud(ish) music and has a wonderful acoustic the PA was excellent, punchy but not over bearing, though £10 for a glass of red was a bit steep! Second set saw the backbeat go a little deeper and 'Kicks' reminded of me of Talking Heads funky rhythm workouts especially with the 16's feel of the drums very 'Remain In Light' but bolstered by jagged horns giving it a spikey edge and yet again, Bailey's nagging alto reigned supreme with trombonist,Tom White coming a close second on this discofied ditty.

Killer track, 'Burnin' dedicated to Jimi Hendrix,Frank Zappa and the recently (sadly) departed Roy Hargrove saw the band flex their considerable muscle with Speedy delivering a slice of wah wah blessedness,the horns got well err,horny and some squelchy synth noises finally saw keyboardist come out of the shadows and alive.

When you get to know a particular band, you start to learn what you can expect from them tough grooves,with intricate and piercing horns proving there's no substitute for a fine line up and a heavy beat,which could be improved on even more with some extra percussion when the tasty slices of afro beat appear ( apart from Speedy and Bailey) the horn players could hit something when not blowing a real good percussion break is all that is missing, there were murmurs of it - anyway a small observation considering the towering performance these guys turned in.Yes the band hit their stride and the seven year itch hasn't kicked in just yet. What you get now is space and detail and plenty of honk for your fonk! This was a measured performance leaving the showboating til last - Grassi,with pop star good looks,perhaps stealing the show with his startling wah bass solo, bravo signore,a top notch night in Kensington!
Words Emrys Baird

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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