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Adrian Sherwood - Jazz Cafe, !7/6/2016

  by Adrian Janes

published: 23 / 8 / 2016

Adrian Sherwood - Jazz Cafe, !7/6/2016


Adrian Janes watches experimental musician Adrian Sherwood play a compulsive but ultimately slightly unsatisfactory set at the Jazz Café in London

A “party” whose primary purpose was to promote Adrian Sherwood’s new archival release (‘Sherwood at the Controls Volume 2: 1985-1990’), the evening opened with renowned DJs General Echo and Andrew Weatherall serving up a substantial first course of dub-dominated reggae. By the end of the latter’s set, dancing was starting to spread throughout the room, brought to simmering point by the bubbling dub. Starting alone on stage, Sherwood himself produced a smorgasbord of sounds from his console, mixing live as he darted between control panels, using a drumstick to activate sampled drums, voices, effects. Natty in a green polo shirt but no natty dread, the spotlight gleaming on a bald pate over which he periodically ran a towel, his exertions and the heat onstage matched the mounting, grooving enthusiasm of the crowd. With his spectacles and a talent that combines scientist and chef, he’s a musical Heston Blumenthal. Bassist Doug Wimbish, a longtime collaborator in Tackhead, and drummer Perry Melius (whose pedigree includes Jimmy Cliff and African Head Charge) joined him onstage, to be added to what became an increasingly hot blend of the live and the recorded, the trio exchanging smiles as they savoured particular passing moments. Largely instrumental for the most part, the set was spiced with extracts of ‘White Lines’ and ‘The Message’ (examples of Wimbish’s sessionman history with the Sugarhill Gang), which were spiritedly delivered and devoured. Compulsively rhythmic as it all was, in the end I was left slightly unsatisfied by the lack of actual songs. As the new compilation shows, Sherwood has plenty of experience in working with many singers and players, with a sensibility that’s as industrial (or should that be artisanal?) as it is steeped in rich reggae sauce. Tonight became dominated by admittedly compulsive, varied rhythms. What would surely have made for supreme fare would have been for him to be live mixing from the midst of an entire band.

Also at Jazz Cafe, London

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Picture Gallery:-
Adrian Sherwood - Jazz Cafe, !7/6/2016

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