“I’ve got some good news and some bad news,” grinned James Yorkston, as midnight approached and this bewitching performance neared its conclusion. “The good news is, this is our antepenultimate number. The bad news is, they all go on forever.”
Star rating: ****
Venue: The Hub
Several of this trio’s extended instrumental excursions really did seem as if they could have carried on indefinitely, as the players artfully navigated their way through labyrinthine soundscapes, eyes closed, heads bowed. Such was the level of virtuosity, however, and the evident depth of understanding, that if they’d decided to play on from midnight till morning few in the audience would have minded.
On paper, the combination of folk singer-songwriter Yorkston, jazz bassist Jon Thorne and sarangi player and Indian classical singer Suhail Yusuf Khan shouldn’t work. As they proved earlier this year with their debut album Everything Sacred, however, their styles can be made to complement each other, sometimes with Yorkston taking the lead, sometimes with Khan’s sinuous sarangi playing and powerful vocals to the fore and the other two providing thrumming, hypnotic accompaniment.
Attempts to bring the Yorkston/Thorne/Khan aesthetic to some of Yorkston’s pre-existing material met with mixed success. On Broken Wave, taken from Yorkston’s 2014 album The Cellardyke Recording and Wassailing Society, the introduction of Khan’s sarangi after a few bars distracted a little from the raw emotion of the material. On The Blues You Sang, however, which also appears on the Cellardyke album, Khan’s sympathetic sarangi accompaniment and the addition of his own Hindi lyrics only served to enhance the original.