Saturday, November 01, 2003

Polar Bear & F-ire

The interview yesterday went well, deep in the bowels of the ever-so-hip Marnix Jazz Café in Antwerp (all the trendy jazz clubs dress in red, apparently). I'm writing a French version for Citizen Jazz, but I'll try to do an English version as well.

First Sebastian Rocheford gave a little drum clinic, at which the band played, another drummer sat in and received feedback on his playing, some questions were asked and musical examples played.

A bit later on I went downstairs to talk to the band. When the pizzas arrived, conversation started flowing more freely, and they told me a bit about a collective they work with: F-ire (Fellowship for Integrated Rhythmic Expression). Seems very interesting and I don't think many people outside the UK (in Belgium and France, at least) are aware of it.

Saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock (I've finally got the spelling straight) gave me two of her CDs, the most recent of which (drums, bass, piano, cello and her on saxophones) sounds most promising, after one listen. She plays very differently on the CD than she does with Polar Bear, a testament to her versatility and talent.

In fact, I was struck, listening to the tunes the group played during the drum clinic, by how differently they approached material that I had heard just last night. This band really achieves a great balance between preparation and spontaneity, thoroughly re-working songs in the moment and taking them in different directions. Pete Wareham commented on how Sebastian's compositions had great longevity because they were open and grew the better you knew them.

Unfortunately, I couldn't stay for the concert itself, but the house was full.