Saturday, May 21, 2005

Alexi Tuomarila Trio - 16/05/2005

Alexi Tuomarila - p
Brice Soiano - b
Lionel Beuvens - d

It's been such a long time that I haven't been going to concerts regularly, that until last monday I'd forgotten about one of its principal dangers. Indeed, Antwerpen is a city in mutation, and a single false move - in my case realising too late that I was in a right-turn only lane - resulted in a half-hour spent wondering where I was as I weaved between roadworks and cement blocks carelessly and dangerously strewn in the street. As a result, I only caught the tail end of the first set.

I hadn't seen Alexi for a very long time either. He's made two good CDs with a quartet, but is currently playing quite different music with a completely different trio. While the Finnish folk music influence was present when he dug into his back catalogue, there was something different about Alexi's playing: slightly funkier, but at the same time sounding deeper and graver than before. This dual evolution was made plain on the last song of the set, during which a funky bass vamp underpinned abstract piano lines that reguarly hinted at the dance forms underneath.

Soiano and Beuvens kept up loose rhythms that transitioned easily from fast swing to open 60s post-bop to 70s funk and touches of Afro-Cuban rhythms and free. Their greatest challenge, though was probably overcoming the monday night Hopper crowd: past the first couple of tables, you would have been hard-pressed to realise music was being made over in the far corner.