These days, jazz is percolating in London, where, in the music of the Portico Quartet, it’s invigorated by the beats of the clubs, by the dissonance of contemporary classical and the noises of ambient and electro-acoustic music, and even by the use of a new instrument, the Hang, a sort of drum recently invented in Switzerland – and the music is a heady brew. Whether these four – Jack Wyllie (saxophone), Duncan Bellamy (drums), Milo Fitzpatrick (double bass), and Keir Vine (Hang and percussion) – are aiming to sweep audiences off their feet or intending with their aural land- and seascapes to foster a more meditative mood, they succeed admirably. Especially memorable are the acoustic ὁμοιώσεις in passages that are pervaded by spaces or places (just listen to their number “Ruins”) with a degree of specificity that makes one think (pardon the comparison) of what John Coltrane does, in “On Green Dolphin Street” or “Blue Train” for example.
This band is part of a nexus in London comprising several other musicians and singers, such as Cornelia – who adds her vocals to one of the numbers in the playlist – or the Circle Traps, which has remixed some of its numbers, and perhaps even including the enigmatic DJ known as SBTRKT, who has done the same. On Portico Quartet’s Soundcloud page a number of these remixes have been uploaded – they’ve got them covered.