Just back from the Rainbow in Digbeth, Birmingham, and the first chance to hear the full line-up of Mary Wakelam’s new band Maylight.
Her last collective, Summary, mixed nu-jazz and hip-hop with interesting results, but Maylight feels like a real step up.
There’s that same light and shiny feel to things, with the characteristic trippy drums and electric piano -strong contributions from Jim Bashford and Rob Barron respectively – but the melody lines are far more interesting than most in the nu-jazz field, perhaps indicative of the fact that Mary listens to Steve Coleman as well as Spring Heel Jack, and there is more instrumental room to stretch out.
Strong solos from Barron and Joe Egan on trumpet, I thought, and some good stuff from Chris Read on turntables – though I could have done with more from him integrated into the music. Adding a lot of class is vocalist Lizzy Parks who sings lyrics or harmonises as an added horn, as the music demands.
Of course, there is always the question of what do the horn players do during the bass solos… there’s a challenge for any band! There has to be something more interesting than staring at the sheet music. Maybe they could work on some dance routines? Or what about the return of the hand jive?
Look out for future gigs as Maylight add more material and play longer sets, there’s an interview with Mary here, and look out too for Lizzy’s excellent new album Raise The Roof, which she launches in Birmingham Town Hall on Friday, 3 October, along with The Heritage Orchestra playing the music of Amon Tobin. To book for that go here.