Last Tuesday evening I acted on an 11th hour text and checked out On Cartel at the Notting Hill Arts Club. Pardon the in-depth behavioural psychoanalysis, but my reasons for going were
The first thing I notice is, look how few of those reasons had anything to do with generally liking music as a person. I spent the whole of last wondering how to get people to come to Improvizone gigs, so I'm condemned to thinking in these terms for a little while yet. What it says to me is, if you're doing a gig, whether or not people will come is almost entirely out of your hands. And sometimes theirs. It also reminds me that the success of a gig has not much to do with the music going on.
Anyway, On Cartel were great and I really enjoyed their set. They are a trio of flute (Achilleas), keyboards (Martin Jenkins) and acoustic kit (Phil Jones). Achilleas has been known to be a modest contributor at Improvizone gigs, but here he was really going for it, and sounding fantastic as he swept and fluttered all over the tune, adding extra depths with his delay. Martin Jenkins's two-handed keyboarding was impressive too, playing rhythm and solo piano/organ sounds with his right hand and all the bass parts with his left. Phil Jones had some very fluid sweeps and offbeat phrasings on the tubs too, maintaining groove but doing the decorating at the same.
I enjoyed the whole of their 45 minute set, but I was wondering whether it would be a criticism to say that I'd heard everything in the first ten minutes. Maybe not. When you have savoured the first slice of your pizza, you generally want the rest of it to taste just as good.