CHICKEN CHILI BASIL
Energy and excitement can be paradoxical elements in music, in that musicians who play with too much vigour can stop their instruments vibrating and sounding to their full capacity, and excitable performances can result is music that is merely overwrought. Elsen Price understands this, and is able to generate fizzing energy from the strings of his double bass, whether playing pizzicato or arco. This is energy that rushes from the speakers and instantly draws you into his musical narratives: compositions that exist outside of genre, in a world where jazz, classical and world elements converge, with a similar latitude existing in the improvising language.
His Plait Ensemble is completed by percussionist Adem Yilmaz, pianist Zela Margossian and guitarist Yutaro Okuda, players who share Price’s love of maximising the music’s drama without pushing it into that realm of nervous excitement. Sometimes the ideas can feel slightly undercooked, but there is no denying the appeal of Price’s bass playing: the richness of his sound, his flaring facility, the rhythmic and melodic sinuousness – and that energy. A stand-out is the evocation of delirium on Pneumonia.