The Slowlight Quartet, Friday 10th April 2015
The Slowlight Quartet charmed a small but enthusiastic crowd at the Hearth, in Horsley, on Friday evening. They describe themselves as 'cinematic post-jazz' and their music evokes images of cityscapes and rain washed streets.
They began with Iris, a deceptively gentle, loping tune followed by Shifting Ground, which revealed the depth of their skill.
Sax player Tom Quilliam asked 'Is the volume level OK? We can go either way...except down...' The band have an genial, engaging approach which soon had the whole audience smiling.
This was beautiful, melodic music - jazz, but ‘not just for jazz heads.’ Beneath the melancholic keyboards of composer Paul Loraine flowed an insistent rhythm, provided by Jonathan Marriott on drums and Ian 'Dodge' Paterson on double bass. In a small room drums might have been overpowering but Marriott plays with great taste. While nobody danced to the Slowlight Quartet, it was easy to see how that might happen. The tenor sax of Tom Quilliam soared above, creating a beautiful, textured sound.
Many of the tunes were from their excellent CD, In Flight. Nimbus, a tune about being 'so much in love it drives you crazy,' built from a gentle beginning to a passionate climax.
Tom Quilliam issued a warning about their new composition, Seven Hills. ‘It involves technology - anything might happen!' Stamping on his array of pedals, he sampled a single note on the sax to build a mighty, echoing chord.
Their only cover was an ingenious arrangement of the Beatles' Norwegian Wood. 'Mostly in 6/8, though we shoved a bit of 5/8 in there... ' The four mesh together so well. Their understanding of each other's playing is superb.
This music was easy to love - always rhythmic and full of beautiful melodies. It's to be hoped they can be persuaded to make a early return to the Hearth. They perhaps don't yet know just how good they are.
© Tony Glover