The Lot, Edinburgh, Wed 7 Nov
Live, the extended improvisations of the Australian trio of pianist Chris Abrahams, drummer Tony Buck and bassist Lloyd Swanson should curl up into an inward-looking heap. Yet, as their recent album, Townsville (their 14th), perfectly demonstrates, so obliquely intelligent and understatedly concentrated are they on their first Edinburgh visit following last year’s Glasgow date that a quietly hypnotic and fascinatingly watchable experience ensues.
Working with the most limited of palettes, Swanson begins with a solitary note, which Abrahams picks up with a matching chord. This is repeated, extended, then repeated again as Buck drives things, barely touching his drums and concentrating largely on cymbal skitters.
Out of this seeps a noirish groove which patiently nudges up its gears along a natural arc, the ensuing repetitions growing increasingly propulsive. The second set is jauntier, Abrahams’ piano sounding somewhere between China and London’s East End in a slow-burning musical haiku with a pulse.