Reviews of Peter Fairclough
01/12/2001 Brian Blaine
SCENE & HEARD
Splendid launch of Peter Fairclough's "Permission" album at the Vortex recently. Mike Walker's guitar was more subdued than usual to fit the folk-influenced music, and bassist Dudley Phillips showed that there's more to him than funk chops, while Tim Whitehead's soulful keening tenor was just right for this band, which Fairclough had obviously chosen with great care. The leader's drum patterns created their own kind of hypnotic abstract swing which totally won over this old foot tapper. A beautiful evening - there was even community singing - catch them if you can.
Jazz UK, Nov/Dec 1997
13/10/2001 Simon Thackray
- theshed.co.uk - Site Update
"Keith Tippett and Peter Fairclough performed last night. This is one of the most amazing gigs you will ever see! Find a venue near you, and go there".
11/10/2001 Paul Donnelly
Wild Silk : An Evening With Keith Tippett & Peter Fairclough
Bluecoat Arts Centre, Liverpool
Whatever combinations of players you find Keith Tippett in there is
always an element of the spiritual, in a broad sense, in his playing. He
says he plays to 'move people' and 'remove them from chronological time'
and often that's just what he does.
On this occasion, as part of Liverpool's Frakture Festival, he was in
the company of drummer Peter Fairclough, the kind of pairing he's used
with Louis Moholo in the past. Piano and drums are perfect partners in
many ways, especially if you regard the piano as a collection of finely
tuned drums. And Tippett has unerring good taste when choosing drummers.
His playing moved between dark explorations at the lower end of the
scale into rapid forays across the keyboard and often made use of
powerful layers of sustained chords. His usual array of woodblocks and
other objects were placed strategically on the strings and it was
fascinating to watch as these objects danced and shuddered in the
reflection cast in the open piano lid. The sound, as ever, was that mix
of the familiar and the unexpected. While the positioning may be, to an
extent, pre-ordained the very nature of these devices mean that slightly
different effects and qualities of sound will be produced each time.
There is an element of chance which suits Tippett's love of spontaneous
composition or free improvisation.
Fairclough watched, followed and drove the music on, whether using
sticks, brushes or his hands. He accented a mercurial keyboard run with
a touch of a small cymbal or beat up a torrent of rhythms to match the
dark rumblings of Tippett's explorations. Drummers are often considered
as just the rhythmic bedrock of any line-up but he showed a strong sense
of dynamic interplay and attention to melody. Apart from their joint
improvisations each player had space for solo work. Tippett first chose
the piece commissioned by Julian Jacobson for a celebration of
Beethoven. "A Humble Salute" used echoes of the 'Pathetique' to create a
beguiling meditation. By contrast Fairclough re-visited another
tradition and offered his version of a Max Roach composition in homage
to Big Sid Catlett. A tribute linking generations of jazz drummers. He
also featured a somewhat dry piece by John Cage. Tippett showed he is
equally at home in other areas outside of free improvisation as he
carefully re-built "Every Time We Say Goodbye", re-shaping the melody
and crafting those familiar chords into a considered yet emotional
statement. But for me perhaps the most moving moment came when both
drummer and pianist took the theme from the late Mongesi Feza's lovely,
"You Ain't Gonna Know Me 'Cos You Think You Know Me" and made it a
brief, hymnal tribute to the trumpeter.
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