Event Review: Where Pathways Meet @ The Crypt (London: Friday 16th November 2018)

Where Pathways Meet are a group that are both gripping and beautifully challenging. Tuned in to the key of the universe, the group channels a cosmic energy that plays with the pulsating tension gifted by the power of complete freedom. With a definite nod to Sun Ra Arkestra, this South London band literally call on you to travel the spaceways from planet to planet with them.

The band filled out the Crypt in Camberwell as part of EFG London Jazz Festival and are led by Axel Kaner-Lidstrom on trumpet and Joe Elliott on alto saxophone. They are joined by some of London’s best jazz players on the scene: Sam Jones on drums, Michael Shrimpling on bass, Lorenzo Okello-Osengor on keys and Paris Rain on guitar.

One of the opening numbers in the set was entitled ‘N171’. As they asked the audience what they thought it was about, one lady shouted out, ‘skateboarding on acid’. This could well accurately sum up the vista they paint through their music. A work of art of high-speed travel through South London terrain, drawing on constantly changing contours, shading, texture and perspective.

It’s possible to lose the concept of time whilst listening to this band and transcend into another state. With Jones digging his brushes into the snare skin as though hoeing the air below it and Mollison pounding his fists on the floor, their harmonic experimentation acts as a gateway to the possibilities of a full human experience. Interspersing sweet melodies between frenetic energy, the only certainty is that the set will be fully dynamic.

Watching these musicians play together is a masterclass in how to live fully in the present, and how improvisation and expression can act as a conduit to a higher energy. Bringing the mysteries of space into the minds of the audience is the biggest achievement for this band.