After two great days of English music at the Rochester International Jazz Festival, Sunday saw the arrival of the first of the Scottish groups to take part in the Made In The UK series; Breach offer a fiercely contemporary take on the organ trio line-up, with both organist Paul Harrison and guitarist Graeme Stephen both doubling up on electronics, backed by the propulsive and surging drumming of Chris Wallace.
The Scottish bands have been helped over to this year's festival by the good people at the Scottish Jazz Federation and Creative Scotland, and special mention must go to the SJF's Cathie Rae for her hard work in helping making these concerts a reality. Chris Wallace and Graeme Stephen also play as part of NeWt, another trio performing as part of the Made In The UK series in which the are joined by trombonist Chris Greive. Their Rochester gig will take place on Tuesday evening, sadly after I leave the festival. But Breach's performance was a fantastic introduction to the musical prowess of the Scottish contingent of Rochester, and I'm happy to report it was an absolutely first-class gig.
Flirting equally with free and fiery improvisation as well as more sensitive and melodic textures, Breach conjured a startlingly original sound from a familiar format and really gave the audience something to get their teeth stuck into. With an unseasonal rain shower (perhaps another, if unwanted, UK import to Rochester?) and big name gigs nearby, Breach's audience was a little smaller than the previous nights but no less appreciative, and the waves of raw and rolling musical textures were eagerly lapped up and yet another standing ovation for UK artists followed the final notes of the night.
All four Scots were prominent in that evening's jam session (also featuring a couple of very nice spots from festival organiser and hard-blowin' saxman John Nugent) and had a great time getting into a more traditional couple of tunes. It was jokingly speculated by some onlookers that the obvious joy in their playing may have been due to the fact that their national team hadn't been kicked out of a major sporting event earlier that afternoon, but whatever the reason it was a suitably upbeat way to end their day and make their mark on the festival landscape.