CD: Basquiat Strings with Seb Rochford, Basquiat Strings


With the Arke String Quartet, Gogmagogs, Tin Hat, John Metcalf and others, we're in a golden age for string bands. Cellist Ben Davis and his quintet Basquiat Strings have taken their time before releasing their first album, but it's worth the wait. Because these classically trained string players have grown up alongside non-classical musicians, their use of jazz compositional methods, rhythms and improvisation is not at all forced: they rock.

Davis's fine tunes include the spiky Double Dares and the intense Junk. These are augmented by standards: Infant Eyes (Shorter), In A Silent Way (Zawinul) and a brilliant interpretation of Ornette Coleman's Lonely Woman.Drummer Seb Rochford adds effective, self-effacing drum parts, and the quintet lineup means that Rochford and bassist Richard Pryce can work as a rhythm team behind the others when needed. Basquiat feels like a real, gigging band, with great solos from all players, and Davis is a star.


John L Walters

The GuardianTramp

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