Event Review: The Trilateral Agreement @ Mau Mau Bar (London, 1st June 2017)

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Like the smell of a freshly printed book with the anticipated suspense of a can’t-put-it-down storyline, the debug gig for The Trilateral Agreement brought feelings of anticipation and excitement to a bustling crowd at Portobello Road based Mau Mau Bar. The group partnered with London promoters and record label Jazz Re:freshed, who bring their desire to push boundaries of modern jazz away from elitism, and showcase quality music deserving of further recognition.

The trio bring a sound rooted in jazz, evoking ghosts of music pioneers from the 1970s and adding their own contemporary style ranging from world, neo-soul and funk influences. The rhythm takes centre-stage with a heavy riff focus, executed with a rare synchronised tightness. This band is an illuminating discovery for 2017, with a rule-breaking attitude that breathes life into our currently absent summer.

The group is formed of three players who grew up together in North-West London: Daniel Bond on drums, Tarik Khan on guitar and Iman Houssein on keys. Together they represent the cultural diversity of London, their Anglo-Indian, Fijian-Pakistani and Persian heritage transpires through their music. The chemistry and natural energy on stage makes it seem as if they have been playing together for years, because they have, citing each other’s families as an extension of their own.

The live set seemed too short as the only band playing that evening. Maybe this was their intention; to leave the audience wanting more. The evening consisted of only four songs, however, each was progressively around ten minutes in length. The group take you on a journey from start to end, but some of the transitions seem disconnected jumping between ideas and appearing restless in parts. The music could have benefitted from more development of motifs through the individual voices of instrumentation, allowing more room for each to express their own sentiment.

That being said, this trio excel at transporting you into another dimension on a wave-fuelled dynamic journey. With a foundation of deep groove, the group play with time, pushing, pulling and pocketing the beat. They are not afraid to purposefully speed up or slow down and let the chemistry take the lead. Expect to swing from a bossa groove into a dirty dubstep beat and break into jungle speed all within the same set. The audience went from flirting and whooping to cavorting throughout the night as the band cast their spirited presence over the room.

This is a group firmly embedded in the present but growing towards a future of musical depths that awaits them. The minimal soft-breeze that surrounds their aura is blowing in the direction of notoriety and this is a band to go and see now before they start filling out less charming and intimate venues.  Two weeks after their debut they are already booked to support Henry Wu (from duo Yussef Kamaal) at Jazz Cafe on Saturday 17th June.  Invigorating, sensual and glowing, this is brand new music for those who relish exploration.

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