Alcyona Mick & Tori Freestone
The Verdict, Brighton
Sunday 4th March, 2018
Touring their new album, Criss Cross, saxophonist Tori Freestone and London Jazz Orchestra bandmate, pianist Alcyona Mick began their set with the title track of Tori’s most recent trio album, El Barranco, reconfigured for piano and saxophone.
Freestone’s strength is often considered to be her Shorter-esque tenor playing but she is also a highly accomplished flautist as was evident on the latin numbers, which included their version of the Steve Swallow classic Ladies in Mercedes and Hermetica, Freestone’s dedication to Hermeto Pascoal
Despite feeling unwell, pianist Alcyona Mick performed well, particularly on her own originals, the Monk-influenced Strange Behaviour and the free-influenced Goodnight Computer. The folk-song inspired piece Press Gang, whilst sounding good on tenor saxophone, makes more sense as a vocal piece, as can be heard on the album, sung beautifully by Brigitte Beraha.
The not often heard Monk tune Criss Cross ended their set and illustrated their attention to detail with both musicians matching the syncopated rhythms with the required precision, followed by a saxophone solo that matched the creative spirit of Monk, with an Ellingtonian accompaniment from Mick.
What came across most of all was their strong interplay, forged through many hours of rehearsal and their ability to convey emotion through their sensitive playing and listening.
Tori Freestone, tenor sax, flute, soprano sax; Alcyona Mick, piano.
(The album Criss Cross is released on Whirlwind Recordings.)
[Photo of Alcyona Mick & Tori Freestone by Lisa Wormsley]