ALISON BENTLEY WRITES:
What’s special about Pinski Zoo? They were formed in the 1980s by Nottingham saxophonist Jan Kopinski and keyboard-player Steve Iliffe, and were a band ahead of their time, winning awards and critical acclaim. Before Led Bib, Acoustic Ladyland and the French COAX Collectif, Pinski Zoo were there blazing the trail.
The first thing you experience is the driving grooves, funk with a little punk, led by drummer Pat Illingworth (who also plays with the James Taylor Quartet.) There are two electric basses, (as in some of Steve Coleman’s 90s line ups)-Karl Bingham and Stefan Kopinski- one plays low while the other solos, sometimes slapping percussively, sometimes almost like a guitar. Iliffe’s keyboards are blissfully dissonant, creating textures behind Kopinski’s powerful sound. Coltrane was Kopinski’s first influence. There’s also a strong measure of Ornette Coleman in the tone and in the joyful, riff-based (surprisingly singable) tunes. Prime Time’s funkiness and playfulness is there, but the whole sound is more forceful. When Kopinski lets rip, with squealing feedback and multiphonics, the sound is wonderfully free and Albert Ayler-like. There are rhythms that pull against each other but magically lock together too.
Kopinski is half-Polish and he first played in Poland with Pinski Zoo thirty years ago; he draws on the country’s folk themes and classical composers in his playing (he names Penderecki.) He’s toured Poland frequently with atmospheric pianist Wojtek Konikiewicz, who’ll be joining the band for this gig.
Pinski Zoo should be experienced live at volumes that envelop you in the sound. They have an uncompromising, elemental feel. But somehow you feel included, as if you’re exploring the music with them. Not to be missed.
LINK: Cafe Posk tickets for 21st November
Also at the Vortex Sat 26th Nov. ZONE K: Jan Kopinski, Wojtek Konikiewicz, Pat Illingworth