A blog on gigs, music, art and London.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Portico Quartet, The Barbican, 08/03/10

I was at the Barbican for the third night running on Monday to see the forward-looking, inventive post-jazz outfit Portico Quartet. I had seen them 2 years ago playing with Basquiat Strings at Union Chapel. Tonight they played the Barbican to promote their recently released second album 'Isla'.

Tonight their tracks ranged from the free-flowing, melodic sound of pieces such as 'Paper Scissors Stone', 'The Visitor' and 'Clipper' to the quiet, abstract minimalism of 'Knee Deep In The North Sea' and 'Line'. I thought that these latter tracks sometimes almost suggested a kind of musical representation of an abstract expressionist painting. Just on the right side of inscrutable.

Whenever they are written about in the press the main focus always seems to be on the hang. It does give a nice glossy finish to their sound but for me it is the expressive, almost lyrical saxophone playing that dominates and leads the band. Their spacious, airy sound is helped by the intricate, detailed drumming and cohesive double bass. They finished with 'Dawn Patrol' and 'Steps In The Wrong Direction'. Very good.

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