Consisting of Idris Rahman on saxophone, Leon Brichard on bass, Emre Ramazanoglu on drums and additional percussion duties by Yahael Camara-Onono, Ill Considered are a band comprising of musically active members, but this formation differs from the other projects that utilise members of the line-up in that Ill Considered maintain an improvisational framework for their projects and performances. Simple pre-written themes are sketched out with free improvisation then added to the already loose arrangements, themes and ideas.
‘Dawn Lit Metropolis’ starts proceedings with its uptempo drum & bass-esque drumming, frenetic percussion additions and then the rigid bass connects with the saxophone parts. This then moves into ‘Building Bridges’ which continues with similar themes but later the arrangement becomes looser. Track three of the set, ‘Tangled’, maintains the upbeat tempo, leaving room for some sharp staccato playing from Idris Rahman. ‘Upstart’ embraces the inspiration and authority of Fela Kuti for this six minute groove workout. This is then followed by ‘Interlude’, which is just 54 seconds in length. More please. ‘Unwritten Rules’ possesses a dynamic quality with some excellent drumming from Emre Ramazanoglu, but again, all four members are actively involved in the composition rather than it being lead by one band member. The final and longest piece of the set is the wonky ‘Lope’ with its 11/4 time signature is a brilliant showcase for Ill Considered. The odd signature provides an almost uneven but steady platform for the band and this is the direction that I would like the band to move into. These edgy rhythms offer a distinctive foundation for the players while still providing the listener with appealing musical narratives that are still accessible.
I would argue that this project is best listened to in its entirety. The album does feel like a performance, rather than containing handpicked material from numerous recordings, although, the album does not originate from a live recording environment. But with multiple plays, one can identify the diverse improvisational ideas, including some elements that may not have worked 100% – but that’s fine. Ill Considered are taking risks, and it could be said that they could possibly take even more risks in the future. But that is probably this reader being selfish.
The current media attention surrounding the wave of new jazz releases from the UK’s capital and other regions highlight how crucial they are to the culture. Fresh ideas and concepts will understandably come from the young. Tradition is important but it is also an obstacle to the future. Groups like Ill Considered are aiming to move the jazz scene forward, and even though they may not be as technically accomplished as some of our musical heroes, innovation comes from a variety of places and this current era of musicians could lead us into a new direction for the genre. And again, the use of vinyl will be a valuable tool in its progression.