Spring Quartet: Barbican

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Tuesday April 08, 2014


Spring Quartet, Barbican: Multi-Generational Jazz Supergroup Plays Likeable Set of Expansive, Freewheeling Tunes
By: Matthew Wright

In the 1960s and early 70s drummer Jack DeJohnette, now 71, was learning his craft with nearly everyone who was anyone, including Coltrane, Monk, Keith Jarrett and Miles Davis. Last night at the Barbican, he was the presiding spirit (if not, technically, leader) in a new multi-generational ‘supergroup’, the Spring Quartet, alongside Blue Note’s star saxophonist Joe Lovano (61), and two thirtysomethings, pianist Leo Genovese, and the winner of the 2011 best new artist Grammy Esperanza Spalding. It was like watching spring in slow motion: the new shoots are vigorous, but there’s still plenty of colour in the autumn leaf.

The originality on display was not so much any technical breakthrough as the sheer skill and variety of their playing, and the creative endurance with which ideas span endlessly off one another. Presumably, a decision has been taken to eschew the unmelodic avant-garde: you don’t fill halls from San Francisco to Istanbul without tunes. But that’s not in any way to diminish the quality of what there was. That’s the thing with spring: what comes up generally looks quite similar to what was there the year before, but it’s fresh and beautiful all the same.

Read the rest of the Arts Deck Review here