Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Tristan Banks : Pizza Express Soho 25/04/2023

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Drum colossus Tristan Banks hit town last night and caused a not so quiet storm, launching his album ‘The View Above’ on Ubuntu Music. The first thing you notice about this ebullient rhythmatist is his unshakeable conviction to latin music and his expression of his love for the art form that includes Bossa, Samba and Tropicália a golden era that he embues. His feel is spot on and you sense he has immersed himself in the culture by visiting many times. Tonight he swung hard with not just power house drumming but light bossa and sultry sambas too and his dynamic range is mightily impressive and the finesse of his stick work shone through triumphantly.

He’s able to extol his virtues as his double bass player, Davide Mantovani interacts with intense synergy all glued together by John Crawford’s forthright and tasteful piano playing.They are well honed and ready to react to pretty much anything.

Tristan’s composition, Polycephaly’ has a lilt like all classic Brazilian jazz and furthermore sax & flute player, Paul Booth, offered up a mellifluous tenor solo that demonstrates his imperious sound as he goes on the first of many of his serpentine runs throughout the performance Highlights of the evening include the motoric ‘Dust Devil’ with Booth’s Dolphy like soprano solo, emboldened by Crawford’s set in granite timing, which also allowed Banks to fly on a fierce drum vamp that ignited the crowd. ‘Tempesto’ followed, allowing Booth’s freeform squeals to give undulating shape to the tune’s ever-building pace. Here also, Banks exhibits mastery on his stick work over a fantastic montuno weaved in seamlessly. It was a nice touch to end the show with a Wayne Shorter tune ‘Vera Cruz’ a track he did with Milton Nascimento - Banks deftness of touch coupled with Crawford’s skipping piano flurries coloured with intense, hi register soprano was a fitting tribute to one of the jazz giants.Suffice to say Banks kept the audience rapt as rhythms and tempos switched at will which all culminated in a top night at this special place in Soho.
Words Emrys Baird

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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