Joel Frahm & Michael Janisch Quintet
This quintet is led by two Americans, one of whom is likely to be more familiar than the other to audiences in these parts. Bassist Michael Janisch has been based in London for a while now, and has collaborated with a number of Scottish musicians, including two of our major saxophonists. His role in quartets led by Tommy Smith and Paul Towndrow have established awareness of him as a significant talent, and his participation here is enough to recommend the gig in itself. It’s an even more attractive prospect when you throw in the chance to check out New York saxophonist Joel Frahm and a band that includes saxophonist Alex Garnett, Jim Hart on vibraphone, and Irish drummer David Lyttle.
Frahm was a high school classmate of pianist Brad Mehldau in his hometown of West Hartford, Connecticut. The saxophonist cut his teeth playing in the school’s jazz band, and had his own revelatory moment as a teenager while listening to a Charlie Parker cassette borrowed from the library.
‘Bird came on playing ‘Kim’, which is a pretty famous improvisation of his. It was like lightning struck me. It was so immediate and so transforming. It was really the closest thing to a religious experience or revelation that I ever had. To hear that sound and put it together with concepts that I was trying to grasp was really totally transforming, and revolutionised everything for me.’
Jazz Bar, Edinburgh, Sat 21 Mar; City Halls (Recital Room), Glasgow, Sun 22 Mar