Rules have changed slightly at The Vortex in Gillett Square. On arriving at the club last week for the Vein gig around 7.30pm, I am told by the man locking up the door of the bar downstairs that the Club has decided to open the bar only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Visitors, jazz fans et al, beware and make a note!
Once the doors open at 8pm, I take my seat at one of the tables at the back, most other tables are pre-booked. Notwithstanding the fact that the Vortex is a very small place, I still manage to have a good view of the stage. Vein take their place at precisely 9pm and it’s all systems go.
The trio comprises of Michael Arbenz on piano, his twin brother Florian on drums and Thomas Lähns on bass.
Vein are from Switzerland and have been playing for a decade now, touring extensively worldwide. They play in both the jazz and classical scenes and this has allowed them to keep their interests and experience varied. Working with the musicians like Greg Osby, Glenn Ferris, but also many other European artists, Vein have absorbed what can only described as a diverse taste in jazz music.
I have always liked the Vortex; it has very good acoustics, so when the music starts, it is with vigour and clarity.
Vein start by playing a few tracks they have recently written, but also music from their 2013 album, Vote For Vein.
Under Construction and Bordering The Beat are great rhythmically but it is the compositions written by Florian Arbenz that are particularly striking, sounding like a cavalcade, on a higher level, especially when Florian performs his solos.
A top rendition of Duke’s ballad, Reflections In D, is also performed beautifully.
Outside in Gillet Square, night has well and truly fallen, but the young skateboarders that gather there to practice, are still busy. At certain quiet moments whilst the band is playing, one can still hear them outside.
Michael Arbenz announces the tracks in between tunes, his voice coming across as rather shy.
Eat The Rich is a striking piece of double-bass extravaganza, although Florian’s drum solo deserves a mention - again.
Vein are complex, diverse, rich in vitality, but also and most importantly, very talented. Their unpretentiousness coupled with a sheer desire to play has to be noted and applauded.
We need to see more of Vein in London!
Words: Erminia Yardley
Photo: Carl Hyde