The Overground Collective is an unorthodox big band composed of some of the wildest improvisers on the London jazz scene. The combination of Paulo’s music and these improvisers makes each concert a unique experience.
Review of concert at Vortex Jazz Club 3rd August ’14 by Alya Al-Sultani, London Jazz News
It was difficult not to come in with very high expectations. The Overground Collective is essentially a 19-piece big band of outstanding soloists and improvisers. Its founder, Paulo Duarte, is a Portuguese composer and guitarist who has been in London since 2003. This performance preceded the Collective’s first recording together and was the first outing of several of Duarte’s new compositions. The balance of instrumentation allowed both great intimacy and enormous energy, often creating an exhilarating wall of sound. Duarte’s ability to write music that is at once melodic and accessible but highly challenging and unexpected where the improvised elements hold primacy, is the key to the inevitable success of this music.
The performance was intended to be performed as a suite, with no breaks, but this was difficult to execute because of the audience’s need to show its appreciation. This is an element Duarte could consider leaving aside for future performances.Ben Bastin on bass made a gallant conducting effort supported by key members within the band. The complex counting required in this music was evident in the occasionally anxious faces of the performers but none of that anxiety could be heard in the confident, energetic and fully committed execution. Jon Scott (drums), Ben Bastin and Danny Keane (piano) provided an unshakable base which is vital for a score where grooves take sudden U-turns and tension is created with frequent stops and changes. The perfect execution of these was heart-stopping. This is a big band that I would make time to see again and again.
Guitar/composition – Paulo Dias Duarte
Alto saxophone/soprano/flute – Chris Williams
Alto saxophone/flute/piccolo – Julie Kjaer
Tenor saxophone – Rachel Musson
Tenor saxophone – Dan Mays
Bass clarinet – Tom Ward
Baritone saxophone – Joseph Stout
Trumpet – Noel Langley
Trumpet – Yazmeen Ahmed
Trumpet – Andre Canniere
Trumpet – Henry Spencer
Trombone – Paul Taylor
Trombone – Ed Reiband
Trombone – Raph Clarkson
Bass Trombone – Olivir Haylett
Tuba – Ben Kelly
Bass – Ben Bastin
Keyboards – Danny Keane
Drums – Jon Scott