By Sammy Stein
‘Numerology of Birdsong’ is the second album by Somersaults, who are Olie Brice on double bass, Mark Sanders, drums and percussion and Tobia Delius on tenor sax and clarinet. It follows their eponymous debut on Two Rivers (2015) and now this free flowing group have released another beautifully put together recording. Olie Brice and Mark Sanders have played as a bass/drum unit with jazz luminaries including Paul Dunmall, Evan Parker, Mikolaj Trzaska, Rachel Musson and Ken Vandermark. Toby Delius is a member of the legendary Dutch collective the ICP and Olie and Mark had long wanted to work with him. Now, on 'Numerology of Birdsong' they have and it was worth the wait. The trio have an October tour planned in the UK and Europe. This release is on Olie Brice's own label West Hill Records.
'Turdidae' is breathy sax over deft and fast moving bass and percussion with a steady growing melodic development as the piece progresses whilst later stut notes and whistles add texture and layers. 'Thisteltuig' has a gentle start, but don't be fooled. As the piece evolves more layers are added, the textures deepen and, over the constant traveling bass, the percussion and woodwind have a riot with squeaks, trills, riffles and screeches. The final section with a resounding, deep, full throttle bass line under breathing, breathy sax is interesting.
'A Probable Warbler' finishes the album and there is little probability about this track- it is great improvisation and sees all three musicians exert themselves both as leads and supports in many directions. This is a standout track and simply great free jazz.
This is a great album, full of interest, differing tones, hues and colours and there is a huge amount of communication going on both between the players and with the listeners, all of which adds up to great improvised music.