Boomkat Product Review:
Volume II of the debut recording by UK Jazz musicians Ferg Ireland, Nathaniel Facey & James Maddren as Ferg Ireland Trio.
"Birthed from informal sessions in South London around 2013; the Ferg Ireland Trio combines three of the UK’s most exciting musicians. The trio is a vehicle for Ireland to consolidate his influences and explore the Sax/Bass/Drums format with an alchemical blend of intense spiritual jazz, broken beat flavours, angular swing and playful conversations.
This, their debut recording, was captured over the course of a summer’s day in 2017 and the result, stripped of artifice and any studio trickery, represents the pure expression of three great instrumentalists, as well as three great friends. Ireland (Kansas Smittys, Soweto Kinch, Ashley Henry, 22a), Nathaniel Facey (Empirical) and James Maddren (Kit Downes, Jacob Collier, Gwilym Simcock) have been playing together for over a decade, and this is reflected in the telepathy of their musical conversation. The twists and turns of their dialogue delve deep into the dark heart of modern jazz.
The compositions (all Ireland originals) draw on the post bop tradition, with lashings of London’s dance rhythms blended with the new fusion sounds emerging south of the Thames. In the opener ‘Stay Broke’, the Broken Beat scene is a clear reference, but smooth edges are bent into something more raw and ominous. Facey’s acerbic alto sound darts in and out of Maddren’s frenetic, polyrhythmic kit-work and Ireland’s deep, endlessly looping bassline. A soundtrack fit for the dystopian dance floors of the new decade.
Elsewhere, the trio sound authoritative whilst playing the proverbial out of a New Cross related blues - cat-like on ‘Mel’s Mood’, stately on ‘When You Know’. The latter’s latin-esque drums propels the music forward, even at its most serene moments. Most of the tracks on this record were first takes and have an immediacy that allows Ireland’s assured compositions to take unexpected directions. In the case of Lips, these boil over into a spontaneous furore, the faders left up to capture the vibe. ‘Confession’, the thematic culmination of all these twists and turns, is prefaced by a long brooding intro before the band stretch out with a flurry of burning solos and psychic interplay. The inescapable influence of John Coltrane is at play here, but the spirit of Eric Dolphy and the swing of the Sonny Rollins trio are also in the room."