David Preston, guitar, Kevin Glasgow, bass, and Laurie Lowe, drums, are three of London’s most creative young instrumentalists. Their eponymous debut album draws on a heady mix of jazz and rock influences, resulting in a set of thrilling and unique compositions, performed with relentless energy and intricate skill. All three musicians have cut their teeth on the live circuit, with guitarist Preston having worked with the likes of Melody Gardot, Martin Taylor, Curtis Stigers and Zhenya Strigalev, bassist Glasgow with Tommy Smith, Tim Garland, Clark Tracey and Asaf Sirkis, and drummer Lowe with Gilad Atzmon, Nicolas Meier, Dave O’Higgins and Andy Sheppard. Clearly a good foundation then for this exciting trio of musicians. Working together since 2012, the threesome have steadily honed their own particular style of complex riffs and thunderous rhythms complete with subtle, low-level electronics and overdubs. From listening to this album, one does get the impression that the performers share a close, creative connection. As David Preston comments; “For me, the trio format is one of the most interesting, with its opportunities and challenges to either create or fill space; so it’s always exciting to get together with like-minded musicians analysing what you want to explore so you can answer that question as thoroughly and honestly as you can.”
The album opens with a flurry of invention on “Colour Possesses”, a startling introduction to the music of this trio. It’s an opening number that truly lays down a marker, an exclamation of intent. Evolving, multi layered guitars shimmer with life as the bass and drums conjoin to add fuel to the fire on this spirited, uplifting piece of music. The brilliant interplay continues on “Elephant and Castle”. Most notably on this tune there are high-speed resonating guitar runs, equally met by fluid, evolving bass lines; all very quick and all very sharp. Reminiscent perhaps of when Pat Metheny recorded with Jaco Pastorious, even the sound and feel of this track takes me back to Metheny’s “Bright Size Life”. Personally I enjoyed the jazzier tunes presented here, and as the album progresses, as good as Preston’s incredible technique and guitar pyrotechnics are, the rockier, more ‘showy’ elements have much less authority and creative ‘feel’ to them for this listener. There’s some interesting and complex writing going on, with the powerful “Everything Is Everything” and the hypnotic “The Priory” with the trio at times taking time to individually impress, and at other times colliding head-on, their collective colours and textures rising to the surface in style. There’s a prog-rock feel to some of the tunes, especially through the middle section of the recording, with guitarist Robert Fripp just one who springs to mind, as the tunes lead up to a three-part suite entitled “Within You”. The trio’s versatility and virtuosic skill can be heard clearly throughout this suite. It’s on music like this that we really get a sense of how good this trio can be. Oscillating guitars, articulate drums and intricate bass all combine beautifully as the music weaves, twists and turns, in many directions. There’s subtlety, there’s grace, and there’s excitement. The variation on the themes are exceptional, especially prevalent in the subtleties of Part 2 and the Metheny/Etheridge/Abercrombie overtones of Part 3.
A very promising debut from Preston, Glasgow and Lowe. Rich in intensity and spellbinding in parts, there’s obviously much more to come from this exciting trio.
The band are currently rounding off a UK tour, but there’s still time to catch them live at Ronnie Scott’s on the 4th and 5th May (supporting Simon Phillips).