REVIEW/ PHOTOS: Cloudmakers Trio 'Five' at Cambridge Modern Jazz and Kings Place


Cloudmakers Trio 'Five'
L-R: Jim Hart, Michael Janisch, Antonin Tri Hoang,
Dave Smith,Hannes Riepler
Photo credit and © Victor Guidini



Cloudmakers Trio 'Five'
(Cambridge Modern Jazz, 12th January 2017. Review by Sebastian Scotney
Photos by Victor Guidini from Kings Place, January 13th)




What a difference 6 1/2 years makes. The trio of Jim Hart with Dave Smith and Michael Janisch first came into existence in July 2010 to perform a tour with Ralph Alessi. Jim Hart wrote a preview looking forward to it at the time, and we reviewed their very first gig. Fast forward to now. Life marches on, all three are among the busiest musicians around. Jim Hart has moved his base to France and is involved in a whole raft of different projects (interview). Dave Smith tours the world with Robert Plant and has kept also his West African group Fofoulah ticking over (more to come, I hear...), Michael Janisch has organized who knows how many tours, produced records, taught, played, played, taught,,,,

For all three, these experiences have clearly expanded  their horizons, but these are musicians whose common history of playing together has given them a particular affinity and respect for each other. The miracle is to see all of these busy players clear their diaries and commit to a tour with Jim Hart as composer and leader. For the listener it is fascinating to be there at the moment where this re-discovery leads to re-connection which leads in turn to fresh creation.


Jim Hart Photo credit and © Victor Guidini

Hart's music is often complex, sometimes unforgivingly so, and as the tour progresses the familiarity and the band feel will grow as they familiarize themselves with it. The mind-bending, lively rhythms of Travelling Pulse,  for example, would test any group, and the drummer in particular. (Students watch out....). Golden, a far-from-simple power ballad dedicated to Hart's son, was an ideal vehicle for  guitarist Hannes Riepler's melodic authority. But finding a shared communicable language is the nature of the beast. Members of elite groups in New York and Paris have candidly admitted to me that in the early stages, as the orchestras were starting to perform, they couldn't actually play the music, but what makes the difference is the commitment to to the composer, to understanding the music, to ensuring that it is  performed. The ideal time to hear this band and this music will be at the Vortex on March 10th and 11th, when it will also be recorded.

Michael Janisch. Photo credit and © Victor Guidini


Antonin Tri Hoang and Dave Smith. Photo credit and © Victor Guidini

Antonin Tri Hoang, an alumnus of the Orchestre National de Jazz 2012-15, and a key member of Eve Risser's White Desert Orchestra, has worked with Hart for several years (review from 2012), and - without showiness casts out all kinds of rhythmic challenges, and keeps a very strong sense of line. In the 'double-standard' All the things you are / Ornithology he seemed to be out-phrasing, out-thinking, out-manoeuvring everyone, while looking completely impassive.

Hannes Riepler. Photo credit and © Victor Guidini


I also wrote a quick first reaction to one aspect of this gig, namely to single out the contribution of Dave Smith. His playing is something genuinely to treasure, and remains the strongest memory.  (LINK)


Cloudmakers 'Five' taking their applause. Photo credit and © Victor Guidini



LINK: Tour dates listed in our interview with Jim Hart 

1 comment:

  1. Antonin Tri Hoang impressed with the Laurent Cugny Gil Evans Paris Workshop in LJF.

    Cloudmakers are playing two gigs in Edinburgh, just before the Vortex shows - once as a trio, once augmented as a quintet. I'm already looking forward to it! :)

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