Music preview: Trio HLK with Evelyn Glennie at Hampstead Arts Festival, South Hampstead High School

Trio HLK with Dame Evelyn Glennie

Trio HLK with Dame Evelyn Glennie - Credit: Archant

Diverse infuences and a fascination with rhythm mark out this groovy jazz trio

Staying open to a kaleidoscope of musical influences is the mission statement for innovative ensemble Trio HLK.

The mantra has lead to collaborations with saxophonist Steve Lehman and master percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie on their debut album ‘Standard Time’ (Ubuntu Music)

The blend of jazz, classical with a hint of heavy metal is anything but standard as they deconstruct standards and rework them using contemporary classical techniques. Harrold, a classical pianist who studied composition at the Royal Academy of Music and Yale, met drummer Richard Kass on Edinburgh’s music scene.

“We wanted to invite one or two special guests to play on our album and came up with people we all admired as musicians and artists,” he said.

“Dame Evelyn is a phenomenal percussionist, an adventurous musician who constantly pushes herself in small collaborations, putting herself into new creative situations - which is admirable for someone with such an established career playing with orchestras around the world.”

HLK’s gigs almost seamlessly blend original compositions with improvisation. “That suits Dame Evelyn, she can play anything you put in front of her, she’s so creative and open to exploring sound,” adds Harrold, who with Kass and 8 string guitarist Ant Law - formed the band’s name from their initials. “We’re all interested in the same things and inspired by the same approach to music - a fascination with rhythm, overlaying different rhythms, and exploring a wide variety of sounds and styles from contemporary classical, computer programme music, jazz and metal. We’re trying to welcome as many influences as possible.”

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Taking a melody fragment they create intricate new pieces that play on harmonic and rhythmic ambiguity. The results are dense and uncompromising, but also fresh, beautiful and engaging.

“There’s something there for people who are familiar with popular jazz standards,” says Harrold. “But we disassemble them and build them into new pieces with diverse rhythmic stuff, improvisation and the whole spectrum in between. It’s a young collaboration but we are really pleased with how it’s gone. It’s enjoyable music to watch live, complex, interactive and dynamic, there’s a lot for audiences to grab on to.”

Dame Evelyn, who joins Trio HLK on Nov 20 at Hampstead Arts Festival said it had been: “A wonderful journey of exploration, a challenge that I have thoroughly enjoyed. It has allowed me to venture out of my comfort zone, explore new rhythms and marvel at the Trio’s compositional prowess.”

Hampstead Arts Festival is a feast of music and words at various venues in Hampstead and runs November 10-29. Further info