REVIEW: Dee Byrne's Entropi at Pizza Express Dean Street(2017 EFG LJF)


Dee Byrne's Entropi
Photo credit: Carl Hyde


Dee Byrne's Entropi
(Pizza Express, 15 November, EFG LJF 2017. Review by Peter Slavid)


The very phrase “Lunchtime Jazz” can conjure up an image of something gentle, conventional and smooth. However, the large crowd gathered at the Pizza Express for this free lunchtime gig clearly knew better. Dee Byrne's Entropi is anything but smooth and conventional. It is in fact sharp, spiky and very exciting.

Byrne is an increasingly influential figure in the London jazz world having (with Cath Roberts), set up Lume, an organisation dedicated to experimental music, which has spawned a number of interesting bands as well as lots of gigs, a festival, a record label and a national tour.

Musically Byrne is a powerful improvising saxophonist, and a composer of interesting melodies, often with titles influenced by her interest in space and the cosmos. Sometimes there's a slightly spacey feel to the tunes too, but there's also a good share of dissonance and of free improvisation. Perhaps hyperspacey is a better description.

The majority of the music came from Entropi's recent second album Moment Frozen The tunes manage to mix ferocious collective improvisation with some catchy hooks, and even some lyrical improvising.

Trumpeter Andre Canniere has a growing reputation in his own right and his interplay with Byrne is the signature sound of this band. The set is powerfully driven along by drummer Matt Fisher and hyperactive bassist Olie Brice. Rebecca Nash on piano and keyboards plays a crucial part in holding it all together and is perfectly capable of standing up for herself in the collective sections.

This band has been together now for several years and their enjoyment at playing together comes through in their interactions, and communicates itself to the audience. A great way to have lunch.

Peter Slavid broadcasts a programme of European Jazz on mixcloud.com/ukjazz and on thejazz.co.uk

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