Concert Review – The Fred ‘Thelonius’ Baker Trio

The Fred Thelonious Baker Trio

Cathedral Hotel, Lichfield – April 17th 2019

This newly formed trio comprises the brilliant Derbyshire born bass player, composer and guitarist Fred ’T’ Baker plus the outstanding Nick Twyman drums/percussion and Michael O’Brien on Bass, and they treated an attentive audience to a showcase of complicated instrumentals that ranged from atonal noise bombs, to solo classical guitar pastiches.

The concert started with the solo acoustic pieces of Hymn for Hope and Prelude to Life, which showed both Fred Baker’s guitar talent, and his restless spirit. He was joined by the rest of the trio for Phil Miller’s complex Eastern Region, which took in elements of swing jazz, with rock overtones, whilst the set closer Above and Below used a guitar synthesiser, to summon up all days of noises for this complex piece that went through most time signatures and keys, keeping both the audience and band on their toes.

The second half was even more bombastic, with volume and feedback being used to musical effect. It started with Phil Miller’s upbeat and joyous Upside, which gave Nick Twyman a lot of work to do, whilst Truly Yours was a delicate ballad that showed the sensitivity of the three players to good effect. Delta Borderline started with a slow, brooding blues figure, before becoming something completely unpredictable, whilst the encore of Green and Purple was a ten-minute epic that went through so many moods and textures that it could be a textbook example of collective improvisation.

This was not a stately, graceful recital, but one that was full of blood, bombast, and noises that other ensembles would not dream of using, but here it was all done to good effect, showing the talent of these three musicians, and their ability to meld new sounds around older tunes.

Ben Macnair

« Back to previous page