Words by Ian Pennington // Photos by Megan Collett.
Close your eyes and imagine you’re in your favourite place. Envision a landscape and scene you’d like to be in and walk around with music playing in your ears…
I’m paraphrasing Jungle By Night’s Ko Zandvliet, the trombonist and chief narrator for the band, who also works as an actor and plays the bone with another Amsterdam jazz collective, Gallowstreet Brass Band. At times he guides and set the co-ordinates, with more audience participation to follow with boy/girl woops and hums helping to lay down beats, but this show at Band on the Wall is a prime example of a band letting its music do the talking – and not only due to the absence of a vocalist.
Zandvliet’s thought experiment is all the more relevant given the themes within their latest LP, The Traveller, and typical of the Jungle By Night mindset – exploring all the senses as they embark on an Afrobeat jazz inspired voyage, both physically and metaphysically.
From percussive soliloquies to throbbing cacophonies, the rich instrumental diversity across the nine-piece affords them the roles of several musical voices. The aforementioned close-eyed excursion is a slow-burning journey until its Space Invader flight, ballistic trumpeted landing and multi-coloured light show underpinned by almost Casiokids-esque synthetic chirpiness, before the steady SONAR electronics of newest single ‘Kingfisher’ are interfered with by frenetic French horn, segueing into disjointed soundwaves.
It’s this variety that keeps the audience on their toes. Although fairly modestly sized, the crowd can take advantage of the spare space to groove, and the voracity of cries for an encore are indicative of how the band grew into a towering force through the night.
The gig took place at Band on the Wall on Thursday 21 July, 2016.