…Carefully crafted melodic lines…
Alex Veitch: piano; Ashley John Long: double bass; Alex Goodyear: drums
Recorded 7th July 2022 by Doug Dave at the Greenbank pub, Easton, Bristol
Sometimes local heroes can transcend their familiar stomping ground and reach a much bigger audience. Yetii (formerly the Alex Veitch trio) have been playing a residency upstairs in the Greenbank pub for several years and snowballing an enthusiastic audience. Partly in thanks to that audience, they have recorded a set of 5 original compositions (plus a stately version of ‘Will you still love me tomorrow?’). The crisp recording beautifully separates the richly sonorous bass and scintillating drums from Veitch’s carefully crafted melodic lines. Having said this, it is not only the piano that carries a tune packing emotional punch, but the delicately phrased bass runs scuttle around the melody to create their own tunes, and the drums patterns are more than simple signatures of time keeping.
As an introduction to the approach taken by this trio, the closing track (and the only cover here) provides a good starting point. There is a slowly stated, somewhat mournful, head that gradually morphs into the piano solo in ways that never quite lose the melody or that dispense with the chord structure. While this might be sufficient to keep the casual listener engaged, the joy of the music lies in the subtle ways in which chords and melodic lines are substituted and shifted around. There is nothing here is that shocking or startling in the ways that the pieces develop, but nor is there much that is repetitive or obvious.
As such, you can imagine that each live set will be sufficiently different to make you want to catch them the next time they play. And this recording captures that feeling of a band improvising their way through tunes that they know inside out, in order to amuse and impress themselves with the variations that they can discover. But this is not some private experiment within the band because one also responds to the delight they get from doing this and the warmth of including the audience in their shared love of the music (and the audience responses is every bit as warm).
Reviewed by Chris Baber