Dolan’s Upstairs €15/10
Justin Carroll, Piano
Michael Buckley, Tenor Saxophone
Simon Jermyn, Bass
Sean Carpio, Drums
Dublin based jazz quartet Togetherness have had a prosperous year in existence performing at festivals and recording an album due for release in Spring 09. The group exhibits some of Ireland’s leading musicians and demonstrates the strength of the ever growing Irish jazz scene. Led by pianist / composer Justin Carroll the quartet is put through it’s paces with a programme of original compositions characterized by shifts in metre, harmonic explorations and above all a mighty groove. This is melodically articulated by Tenor saxophonist Michael Buckley tightly intergrated with Simon Jermyn on electric bass and Sean Carpio on drums.
In 2008 Togetherness were selected to represent Ireland and perform at the 12 points Festival, where 12 jazz groups from 12 European countries performed over 4 days at the Project Arts Theatre, Dublin. Togetherness’ performance was critically acclaimed as one of the highlights of the festival. Since then they have kept busy performing at Dublin’s premier jazz club JJs and the Bray Jazz Festival. Togetherness are quickly evolving into a group of real creative intent and this is clearly demonstrated with their debut album recorded at Ireland’s top recording studio Windmill Lane Studio and mixed by German Jazz Engineer known for his work at the famous Bauer Studios in Germany, Thomas Schmidt.
Michael Buckley is widely regarded as Ireland’s leading tenor saxophonist. He has toured extensively and performed with the likes of Dave Liebman, John Abercrombie, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Lee Konitz and Kenny Wheeler. ean Carpio is an exceptionally gifted drummer who is becoming an important figure on the European jazz scene, touring with the likes of Mark Turner and Sebastien Texier. Bassist Simon Jermyn is also busy making himself known on the European scene playing a lot with Sean in trio White Rocket and recently releasing an album Trot A Mouse under his own name for the Spanish record label Fresh Sound with two highly respected saxophonists from New York, Chris Speed and Loren Stillman. Pianist / Composer Justin Carroll also has an impressive track record of performing with a wide range of exceptional artists from different genres. He has played for a number of years with Ireland’s world renowned jazz guitarist Louis Stewart and has toured with artists such as Greg Osby and Ronnie Cuber, as well as touring internationally with Van Morrison.
The top CD of the week reviewed Togetherness
Living room project ****
Too often Irish jazz groups are ad hoc gatherings, with all the limitations this implies; it’s in the nature of the music’s economics. But this quartet goes about its business in a way that happens only when the chemistry is right, the players are fully engaged and the hours together have been put in. And the results justify the work. To begin with, Michael Buckley (tenor) and Justin Carroll (piano), both frontline soloists, are in exceptional form. Consistent brilliance has been the Buckley norm for years. For Carroll (who wrote all the material), however, things seem to have come together at an altogether new level, as his work on Ronan Guilfoyle’s Métier group CD, Cascade, showed last year and as his even better work here confirms. In the rhythm section Simon Jermyn (electric bass) continues to impress, a rock-solid yet flexible harmonic and rhythmic fulcrum for the others. The gifted Seán Carpio (drums), meanwhile, an intuitive colourist as well as fulfilling his other duties, combines with him to make a near-perfect pair for this quartet. Over a programme of originals, Carroll develops complex lines – and rhythmic and harmonic opportunities – with considerable ingenuity and imagination, often from relatively uncomplicated bases. Arguably, despite his deftness as a writer, a programme as intensely focused and complex as this could have benefited from more light and shade. That said, the quartet’s individual and collective imagination is obviously set loose by his pieces, with perhaps only one performance, Pointless Exercise, sounding as if the shape of the material dominates it. Elsewhere it’s a different story. In a welter of authoritative performances, their cogent work on 3 Dot Syndrome, Outside the Box, Vintage Gear, By the Reeds and A Little Stock is proof that Togetherness can stamp their mark on a repertoire that asks as much of them technically as it does imaginatively. www.livingroomproject.com. Ray Comiskey, The Irish Times
“Aptly named, Togetherness’s strengths included Carroll’s compositions and playing, a bang-in-form Michael Buckley on tenor and the marvellously assertive but sympathetic drums of Sean Carpio, the ensemble anchored by Simon Jermyn’s electric bass…perhaps the most impressive bands were the Saga Quartet from Vilnius, Justin Carroll’s Togetherness” – (12 Points Festival Review) Ray Comiskey, The Irish Times
“Togetherness, at the Royal on Saturday night, played original compositions by leader Justin Carroll and drummer Sean Carpio that combine complex melodies with driving rhythms and frequent shifts of mood. The result was both forceful and reflective, with solos from the leads, Carroll on piano and Michael Buckley on saxophones, that built expertly on the challenging rhythms of the writing. Carpio’s assured drumming and Simon Jermyn’s unusual bass lines, often mirrored by Carroll’s left hand, pushed the tunes along with power and confidence.” – (Bray Jazz Festival Review) Kevin Stevens, JMI, Journal of Music in Ireland