ILL CONSIDERED ‘ILL CONSIDERED 3’ Vinyl/Digital (ILL CONSIDERED MUSIC) 5/5

The third Ill Considered album continues to showcase this London based trio/quartet their progressive approach to contemporary jazz. The line up remains as previous recordings with Leon Brichard on bass, Idris Rahman on saxophone, Emre Ramazanoglu on drums and additionally here, Satin Singh, who also appeared on the group’s second release ‘Live at The Crypt’ (2017) providing percussion duties. Ill Considered apply loose musical ideas to support further improvisational embellishments with ‘Ill Considered 3’ possessing a live quality, although, it was recorded in the same recording studio as their first release.

‘Djinn’ is the perfect introduction to the project; spiritual in its sensibility, the piece proposes a sense of tranquillity juxtaposed with an eeriness of sorts emanating from its mainly drum-less rhythm, sparse saxophone lines and winding electric bass accoutrements. ‘Incantation’ sees the group embrace a Weather Report era Jaco Pastorius thru bassist Leon Brichard, in addition to fluid sax runs which at times make use of digital delay effects. The drum track progresses from light to dense and rhythmic, and back to light again within its five and a half-minute track length.

Interestingly, the group decided to offer three short separate tracks for all band members to display their own individual musical personalities. Leon Brichard’s ‘Retreat’, is again obviously derived from the influence of Jaco Pastorious, the fretless bass innovator who made full use of artificial harmonics, chordal playing and a mid range focused sound that is now so revered by bass soloists. ‘Scatter’ with a track length of 1’16” is basically a brief workout for drummer Emre Ramazanoglu alongside percussionist Satin Singh. And ‘Perplexity’ sees Idris in practice mode with some supplementary reverb and delay added to his saxophone, although, the track length for this review copy had a timing of 2”33”, but the final minute and a half contained dead silence.

‘Delusion’, my personal favourite, is the most percussive and funkiest track of the set with its strong rhythm running beside the expressive but solid bass elements that then allow room for the dynamic saxophone flourishes. The bass sound on ‘Mediation’ is more akin to a sine wave synth bass and probably processed as much, and so, moving away from the fretless Jaco sound. ‘Nada Brahma’, the longest piece here at nearly 7 minutes is an exploration of musical space and atmosphere. I’m unsure of the title as an influence, because ‘Nada Brahma’ is the name of a contentious book by Joachim-Ernst Berendt which explores how music and sound impact upon spiritual development.

The combination of their rawness, complexity and intrigue gives Ill Considered a presence and attitude that serves them well as one of the ‘hottest’ UK jazz groups. The recording quality and audio engineering skills have improved upon previous projects, and obtaining an Ill Considered album on vinyl especially a first pressing is somewhat comparable to finding a Blue Note original – they are out there but it takes patience and resourcefulness. A few hundred copies are not fulfilling the demands of their growing consumer base, with their DIY cottage industry approach via their Bandcamp profile aiding their popularity.

So what is the future for Ill Considered? They could continue to record and release pretty much every live show and studio recording session and there would be paying customers for those experiences. This 3rd album does briefly touch upon the use of additional effects and processing – which could open up another world of options particularly within an improvisational context, something which UK bass soloist Steve Lawson has used effectively over the years. Or they could keep this project especially for this specific approach and then use other group configurations for different musical expressions. Nonetheless, having three strong albums released in less than a year is a rare feat and very much welcomed.

Damian Wilkes