Review: Concerts in the West - Nicholas Meier Trio

THE fourth of Concerts in the West's 2012 series at Ilminster Arts Centre featured jazz, flamenco and oriental influences with the Nicholas Meier Trio.

This was an occasion to savour – three brilliant musicians, but with around 20 instruments between them the evening inevitably became highly visual.

Bass guitarist Pat Bettison has spent the past four years in the London jazz scene, but in July he is returning to Florida, while Demi Garcia, freelance drummer and percussionist, and originally from Barcelona, has been playing in the UK since 1999.

Both were a foil for the formidable talent of Swissborn Nick Meier: in Autumn Leaves, one of several numbers taken from his 2009 CD Breeze, there was physically close duetting with impressive improvisations between the guitarists.

The evening opened with the trio’s take on Jimmy Green’s Body and Soul before featuring Yuz and Lavender from the CD. Lavender was one of several pieces in which Pat, rather modestly I thought, alternated harmonica with bass.

Fascinating throughout was Demi’s inventiveness in combining timbres across the dozen or more percussion and drums. No sticks were used; instead there was much stroking and striking of surfaces.

Influences for Nick are many, in particular, middle eastern, specifically Turkish. We heard the electronic version of the Turkish string instrument, the baglama, and the concert reached its climax with October in Ankara.

Often wild, occasionally transcendental, the evening bore out Nick Meier’s description of his music as passionate with heartfelt originals all emanating from his musical and personal world.

Some of the audience were not sure what they had let themselves in for, but almost all went away happier beings with a wider outlook on life.

Review by Anthony Pither.

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