|Bandleader Dave Ohm|
Photo credit: James Pearson
(Pizza Express Dean Street. 22nd May 2012. Review by Brian Blain)
With new bands, mostly composed of post grad musicians, appearing almost every week, the prospect of seeing drummer Dave Ohm's Unit of Resistance (a clever name) with three genuine world class players, Nigel Hitchcock (tenor sax), Laurence Cottle (electric bass)and guitarist/producer Paul Stacey at Pizza Express Dean St. last week was a mouth-watering prospect : and so it proved. With Hitch on blinding form - he looks so benignly cheerful these days, smiling and applauding all the great stuff going on around him - Brecker's Nothing Personal was a triumph, with Stacey matching him for chops and the mind-boggling stop-starts pulled off to perfection.
On other less frenetic material Stacey produced a series of cogent solos, with the whole blues-inflected Scofield palette adding to the band's colour. Not all Sturm und Drang either; Watermelon Man had Hichcock stretching a slow, slow melody line almost to breaking point while the beautiful theme of Soul Eyes was so exquisitely stated that the audience burst into applause before a single solo was unveiled - remarkable. But the probable high spot was Binky's Beam, off the truly classic Surman-McLaughlin album Extrapolation, recorded over 40 years ago, yet sounding as fresh and contemporary, with Ohm skittering around the beat, and Cottle holding it all together on this free-ish jazz rock classic, as anything being played today.
But this wasn't all. Along came Gwilym Simcock to sit in, as did the great flute player Gareth Lockrane and Dave's life as well as music partner, Georgia Mancio, for the whole team to gambol on their cheeky time shifting arrangement of Just In Time.
The encore was a jam on the old war horse Billie's Bounce, in which the sight of Nigel and Gwilym cracking up on their musical jokes, far removed from the great pianist's classical crossover image set the seal on a truly memorable night. 2013 festivals beckon, surely?