Tom Bancroft: Trio Red - Lucid Dreamers - CD
Tom Bancroft should really need no introduction, a world-class drummer and composer, he is a noted band leader, educator, label boss and advocate for the power and cultural role of music: Part of the Pathhead Music Collective of 15 professional musicians living in a small ex-mining village outside Edinburgh he regards music making as a communal activity. Over the last two years he has played with a dazzling range of projects from the 80 piece GRIT Orchestra performing the music of Martyn Bennett, with leading Scottish Classical and folk musicians, to playing free improv with Satoko Fuji, visiting Ghana and Senegal, playing with African musicians, performing with Indian Carnatic Musicians and playing in a really creative fortnightly residency in Edinburgh with Graeme Stephen and Martin Kershaw.
Bancroft’s Trio Red features noted pianist Tom Cawley (Curios, Acoustic Ladyland, Peter Gabriel) and Norwegian bassist Per Zanussi. Their debut album First Hello To Last Goodbye was released to critical acclaim in 2012. It showcased a band revelling in the spontaneity of their first meeting – they literally recorded on the first day they all came together. The follow-up Lucid Dreamers however is the fruit of three year’s work together, a period that has seen the band tour America, including performing at the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City and develop into a genuinely world-class improvising trio that acts both as a vehicle for Bancroft’s own compositions but also gives perfect weight to the individual voices within the band from Cawley’s playful virtuosity, Zanussi’s deft power to Bancroft’s resourceful intelligence and propulsion, both as a performer and composer.
Ludic Dreamers opens with the wonderful Saturday Afternoon With Sophie which aims to capture some of the pleasure of hanging out with his then three year old. It’s a track that Bancroft used to play with his big band and remarkably one couple approached him five years after hearing it performed to tell him they loved it so much they were inspired to name their daughter Sophie! Lift Off is a gripping composition by the late great American saxophonist Thomas Chapin who sadly passed away far too young and appears here with permission of his family. The beautiful, mournful title track was originally written for the Georgian National Big Band, shortly after their civil war and conjures the feeing of going through a war and coming out the other side. Although not eventually performed in Georgia the trio’s sensitive reading of the piece more than does it justice. Elsewhere the band have fun with Mingus’ classic Jump Monk, nod to more contemporary influences with the playful Acoustic Electronica and smash Paul Simon into Gershwin with the delightful 50 Ways Our Love Is Here To Stay Porgy and it is Trio Red’s hard won but playful ability to make a fresh but clear-sighted whole out of their influences and personalities that make it such a perfect vehicle for Bancroft’s vision of making music. One listen and you’ll be a Lucid Dreamer too!
1. Saturday Afternoon (With Sophie) / 2. Lift Off / 3. Hint Of Wood / 4. Howdy Doody / 5. Jump Monk / 6. Mr McFat Puts On His Socks / 7. 50 Ways Our Love Is Here To Stay Porgy / 8. M. Pompous Takes A Stroll / 9. Acoustica Electronica / 10. Lucid Dreamers