Review: Kairos 4tet in Reading

The Kairos 4tet impressed Derek Ansell with its integrated and unified approach to jazz, at the Progress Theatre in Reading

The Kairos 4tet appeared at the Progress Theatre for Jazz In Reading, an organisation that is now presenting top jazz combos on a monthly basis and also promoting smaller performances for local musicians to play, in local pubs and other venues in the area. Kairos 4tet is a little out of the ordinary as jazz groups go; their music is abstract but melodic and they play all original compositions most of them from the pen of front man and leader Adam Waldmann.

Waldmann played tenor and soprano sax and managed to produce some intricate improvised lines on both instruments, his tenor sound smoky and blues-based and his soprano unusually pure and metallic. The soprano instrument is notorious for giving soloists intonation problems but Adam had none and his melodic sound on the soprano was a delight. His tenor solos were slightly more conventional in the bop idiom but he also displayed a good sense of dynamics, shading some pieces down to a musical whisper at the end.

John Turville was the keyboard man tonight and most of his work was as an accompanist to the saxes and the swirling, bold punctuations from the rhythm team of bass and drums. A high degree of integration was achieved by this foursome and it was impressive in the way that one solo seemed to segue smoothly into another in a continuous arc during each selection. Jasper Hoiby was a lively and serpentine bass soloist and Jon Scott a flamboyant drummer who still managed to keep good time whilst exercising polyrhythmic arabesques around most of the chosen compositions. It is always instructive and rewarding to hear an integrated jazz combo that offers much more than what the late Bill Evans called "one guy blowing followed by another guy blowing". These guys blew together and separately and produced a satisfying, unified whole. Try to catch them in action if they play in your area.

Derek Ansell

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