'No man is an island'. This popular quote by John Donne holds a particular truth in my experience as a musician. Besides the obvious parallel in terms of performing in a group context, over the years I have been inspired, motivated, comforted and even dependent, on being a small part of one of many 'scenes' in London and beyond. Musicians learn from each other, practice and perform together, and also hang out together, discussing everything from politics to practice patterns and sharing music and experience. Thankfully in London there is an abundance of amazing, generous musicians, and the 'Fours' project is a series of recordings representing a fraction of the 'scene' I find myself drawn to. This week I turn the spotlight to...
I first met Dave through my good friend and super talented trombonist Tom White, who would often get me on a regular gig he had at The Dove on Broadway Market. I had never heard him or seen him at any of the usual muso haunts, jam sessions etc but I could immediately see why Tom was booking him! I find myself to be somewhat reliant on drummers kicking me up the backside (musically), as I tend to look to them as first port of call for inspiration when I'm improvising, and I found that Dave has such a freedom within the pulse that he really keeps me on my toes. Hearing him play reminds me a bit of Jack DeJohnette, with multiple layers of time going on whilst retaining a deep groove, offering many rhythmic 'gears' to shift through. It can be really exciting, and sometimes feels like getting caught in a whirlwind!
Added to this freedom and virtuosity, Dave also has a great deal of sensitivity and textural awareness, allowing some great moments of contrast. On the Fours recording, I really liked his (and the rest of the band's) controlled build on Stella over the entire duration of the performance, conjuring up a storm by the final 16 bars:
Unsurprisingly, Tom White and I are not the only band leaders to take notice of Dave's talents. Over the years he has become increasingly in demand as word spreads, and is now performing in a myriad of musical styles, contexts and venues, including 3 different groups at this years EFG London Jazz Festival. Definitely worth looking out for when perusing the gig listings. Below is a video of Dave in action and sounding particularly burning, recording rising trumpet star Henry Spencer's album with his band 'Juncture':
Dave will be featured in 3 performances at this years EFG London Jazz Festival:
Saturday 12th November with Nick Costley-White at London Iklectik - More Info
Saturday 12th November with Helena Kay at Barbican Freestage - More Info
Tuesday 15th November with Kate Williams at 606 Club - More Info
I am thankful to Dave for his performance featuring alongside Tom Farmer and Hannes Riepler on Vol. I of the 'Fours' record. Listen to 'Fours Vol. I' here. Available now.