Review: Tori Freestone at the 606

Derek Ansell enjoys the light, lyrical style of Tori Freestone at the 606 Club, Chelsea, where she presented music from her new album In The Chophouse

Lining up with bassist Dave Manington and drummer Tim Giles, Tori Freestone presented music from her new CD In The Chophouse and added a standard and her reading of Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now.

Tori plays free-flowing lines on tenor sax that are light, lyrical and contemporary within the framework of modern jazz today and the tradition of the music over the years. Her sound is essentially warm and yet fairly robust and meshes perfectly with the roving bass lines of Dave Mannington and the thrusting drums of Tim Giles. The Universal Four begins with a simple four-note phrase which she and her rhythm partners expand and develop in a series of fascinating improvised lines. The group employs shifting time signatures and Tori delivers staccato phrases which vibrate with tension until resolved, with most compositions developing into soft-focus conclusions.

She began the standard All Or Nothing At All in the upper register with her rhythm colleagues swirling around her purposefully. The effect of the trio, in full flight, is not unlike an updated version of an Ornette Coleman quartet approach where the leader begins but other members of the group are able to take the initiative as a direction occurs to them. This was demonstrated best by the final selection at the 606 Club on Tuesday evening when the trio played Tori’s composition, Pottering Around. A series of disjointed staccato phrases segued into a free-flowing piece of music where Tori’s tenor sax stylings and Tim’s rattling commentary on the drums built to a swinging, satisfying conclusion.

This music is free in style but always melodic, probing and with a strong sense of form. Freedom within the confines of classic jazz tradition might be a suitable phrase to describe the Tori Freestone Trio.

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