Dead Hedge Trio, Mello Mello Jazz Cafe, Tuesday 26th 2013
Spring, unfortunately has not yet reached north-west England yet a sweaty, hot-under-the-collar temperature was achieved earlier this week at Mello Mello by Dead Hedge Trio and their guest artist Mimi Amore.
Although only on their third residency at this fantastic, grassroots venue the group attracted a healthy crowd for a Tuesday night, perhaps in anticipation of the saucy Burlesque dancer and vocalist promised. Having been performing at the various key Liverpool venues for a number of months (the Kazimier and its Gardens, for instance) and gathering an ever growing contingent hooked on their free jazz-rock vibe, it was to be expected that Mello would indeed by packed out.
Consisting of tenor saxophone (Nick Branton), guitar (Rory Ballantyne) and drums (Michael Metcalfe) the bass-less trio conjure up hard hitting funky riffs adjoined to sounds of organised chaos, yet they still draw from the heritage of earlier pop and jazz repertoire with deconstructed arrangements.
Dead Hedge Trio’s sets called on their rough and ready original numbers such as ‘Antibiotic’ and ‘Yusef Lateef’ which were loud and delightfully approved by all alongside a witty, inventive take on the Beatles’ ‘Day Tripper’; although the crowd were restless at times these nights have enjoyed a consistent positive vibe and respect for the group’s approach to tune writing: with a city full of jazz bands that sound all too similar, Dead Hedge are a refreshing breeze in comparison.
It was during the second set, however that one could almost visibly see sweat pouring down the walls; Mimi Amore at first was merely a shadow dancing behind a tall framed veil, shaking and swaying to the noise and groove accompaniment (which was happily not discomforting at all). Oozing sexuality, Amore made here appearance and raunchily sang with zest ‘Why Don’t You Do Right?’ an old standard, which was enough to excite any man or woman present. The fun continued with what only can be described as a classy slow strip tease, stimulating viewers to cheer on which the trio certainly drew out for ultimate effect and climate, one supposes (!). A group well worth catching in their up and coming monthly Mello Mello residencies for more explorations of the potentials of audience friendly, contemporary improvised music.
Mark Jones (MA)