Sunday, December 24, 2006

Thomas Champagne Trio - 14/12/2006@Kudeta, Brussels

don't call it bubbly

Thomas Champagne - as (website)
Nicolas Yates - b
Ben Prischi - p

I met Thomas at the as-yet-unblogged-about Octurn workshop the day after this concert. I was struck by his light, high-pitched sound as he sight-read Magic Malik's music half a metre to my left. Unsurprisingly, Jazzques was on the ball long before me.

The line-up was unusual: drummer Didier Van Uytvanck was unavailable and replaced by a pianist, Ben Prischi (again, Jazzques beat me to it). The trio was really still at a working-things-out stage, so between the two sets, Thomas and Ben exchanged gleeful "Hey, chords!" and "Harmonic tension!" Unfortunately, Ben had to play on a keyboard, which was to a piano what a neon tube is to a light bulb.

The trio was light on its feet: Nicholas Yates's time was as rubbery as his body language, Thomas floated and danced demurely, while Ben, a well-mannered guest, refrained from imposing upon his hosts, even though Thomas's compositions were open enough in design to survive the piano's intrusion and encourage spacious-yet-melodic improvisation. I'm looking forward to hearing the working trio in better conditions, and Ben on a real piano.

The Kudeta is a relatively new restaurant owned by singer Francis Goya and his wife and has just started hosting gigs on Thursdays. A gold record (25,000 copies) for Nostalgia hangs on the wall behind the bandstand. I think it was my first restaurant concert and although the interior was superbly designed, I didn't like the feeling of it at all. The keyboard-as-piano increased my unease. I'd rather go to a club.