What we said at the time…
Eye Contact features three of the most exciting names in this generation of free jazz musicians; breathing new fire into the living tradition. Matt Lavelle’s trumpet and bass clarinet work has a fierce emotional honesty and a tone that’s warm and rich, yet also nerve shredding. His trumpet playing in particular makes use of Middle Eastern scales that lends a unique richness to his sound; there’s a depth and emotion to his playing that’s totally disarming and very affecting. Matt Heyner is some kind of underground hero with a wealth of influences spanning fire music and death metal, and a personal vision and lyrical styles that makes him one of the most in demand improvisers in NYC. Sawyer plays in a clutch of the most exciting groups just under the surface of New York’s free jazz scene; his agility totally key to this trio.
So I guess you might expect some flat our free blowing and relentless assault from these guys, but Eye Contact exhibit a finely pitched restraint, swinging between quiet, somber resolve to long stretches of full blown blasting and teeter on the point of incandescence; they never go past it, but certainly come close. Heyner’s ecstatic arco buzz and his agility act as a kind of magnetic centre to the group, around which Ryan Sawyer rolls in rim shots and shivering cymbals and Lavelle explodes out in a rasping trumpet barrage or down into longing, gossamer lyricism.
This is their first ever UK show.