Danish pianist and synthesiser player Esben Tjalve leads Red Kite, a sextet devoted to his own original compositions, on the band’s second album, Theory Of Colours. The band includes well-established players such as bassist Jasper Høiby and drummer Tim Giles – although information about the line-up and instrumentation is missing from the album cover, unfortunately. The music is informed by jazz, electronic and classical music, and Tjalve gives his bandmates room for improvisation within his composed pieces.
In Line gets things off to a fairly inauspicious start: a meandering 70s-style electro-jazz piece, it fails to really grab attention although it does give drummer Giles a chance to shine. Interstellar is much more impressive, a gentle and melancholy piece with Fulvio Sigurta taking the melody line and a simple eighth-note phrase providing a softly-rolling foundation. It’s followed by the reggae beat of The Meeting, an upbeat contrast.
This opening trio of tunes emphasises the band’s versatility and Tjalve’s ability to compose in a wide range of styles. The band’s music is at its most distinctive when the bass clarinet comes to the fore. Ross Hughes’s playing is always thoughtful and melodic, with a rich, mellow, tone – the bucolic Pantomime pairs Sigurta and Hughes beautifully; The Detective uses the bass clarinet as a rhythm-section instrument, adding a combination of menace and drama to the tune’s film-noir mood.
In Line; Interstellar; The Meeting; Pantomime; Journey’s End; The Detective; Road Ahead; Night Owls; Silver Fox; Ritual (57.38)
Esben Tjalve (p, elec, syn); Ross Hughes (bcl); Hannes Riepler (elg); Fulvio Sigurta (t); Jasper Høiby (b); Tim Giles (d). Porcupine Studios, London, July 2015.
Jellymould Jazz JM-JJ028