Archives for category: Live

With their tasteful vocal harmonies, dynamic arrangements and undeniable pop appeal, the Common Tongues are definitely a band to keep a beady eye. However, with modern folk being so saturated, this Brighton five-piece might struggle to move beyond the inevitable associations with groups like Mumford and Sons. But if their recent performance at Brighton’s Concorde2 was anything to go by, they certainly have the potential.

Performing in aid of the Our Sansar charity, who are dedicated to fighting poverty around the world, The Common Tongues showed exactly what touring experience can do for a band. After a summer chock-full of shows, their live performance has clearly benefited. The rhythm section gelled smoothly and the various layers of each song seemed well considered. It was also nice to hear a group who aren’t afraid to throw in a few unexpected treats, such as their impromptu cover of Dizzee Rascal’s Dance With Me.

As always though, there was room for improvement. In the quieter moments of the set the instrumentation seemed to lack poignancy, as the two acoustics battled for frequency. Also, their mid-song banter seemed a little un-assured. All this is simply nit-picking though, as they’re an act with clear potential. If it’s clean, folk/pop that you like, Common Tongues do the job better than most.


Thanks to the efforts of artists such as Bad Plus and Yaron Herman, jazz versions of Nirvana tunes seem to be very hip right now. But when the Robert Glasper Trio busted out Smells Like Teen Spirit during their set at the 2010 London Jazz Festival, there was no sense of any bandwagon jumping. In a highly improvised set, the Houston-born pianist brought the house down with his progressive yet accessible brand of genre-crossing jazz. While having many similarities with Thelonious Monk, Glasper’s style is more inclusive, and this was never more obvious than in his aforementioned cover of the Nirvana classic.

Elements of soul, gospel and hip-hop all make an appearance in what has to be one of the most unifying sounds that modern jazz has to offer. The biggest testament to this has to be when the night’s headline act, non other than the seminal horn player Terence Blanchard, described Glasper as “a visionary.” This comes from a man with over 30 years touring experience and a history with such names as Art Blakey, Herbie Hancock and pretty much anyone who’s anyone in the contemporary jazz scene.

Joined for the last two tracks by boundary-pushing drummer and long time collaborator Chris Dave, Robert Glasper gave everyone at the seminal but sometimes restrictive ECM record label something to think about. In an interview broadcast on BBC Radio 3 Glasper himself mentions the “jazz police” who fret and fuss over what they deem to be the degradation of their holy and infallible genre. He goes on to say that, “jazz is about what ever is happening in the world at that moment… you have to let it evolve and grow.” With tasteful harmony and fearless dedication to experimentation, The Robert Glasper Trio do just that. If you haven’t already heard them, check out this video: