Gig review: Tom Bancroft: Trio Red, Jazz Bar, Edinburgh

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DRUMMER Tom Bancroft has spent much of his jazz career in leading large ensembles ranging from octet to full big band.

Tom Bancroft: Trio Red

Jazz Bar, Edinburgh

Star rating: * * * *

This trio, formed last year with English pianist Tom Cawley and Norwegian bass player Per Zanussi, stands at the opposite end of the scale, and was intended to explore a more intimate and spontaneous musical approach.

Much of the material drawn from their debut album opened and closed the first set with high-energy accounts of Thomas Chapin’s kinetic Lift Off and Bancroft’s colourfully titled The Mole of History Takes a Bow, and Trips.

Those sandwiched more reflective material, including his poignant ode inspired by Rickie Lee Jones and a clever mash-up of Ornette Coleman’s Lonely Woman and Joan Armatrading’s Opportunity.

They launched the second set with Bancroft’s vehement musical dismissal of American politician Rick Perry, then were joined by the drummer’s twin brother, saxophonist Phil Bancroft, on two tunes, an elegant ballad and Coleman’s When Will The Blues Go Away. A new piece to their repertoire, the ultimately hopeful Lucid Dreams, took us to the final lively jam with Mingus’s Jump Monk.

Trio Red is still a work in progress, but their concentrated group interaction and feel of communal music-making continues to develop in highly creative fashion.