In a scintillating performance at Mary’s Underground, the Zela Margossian Quintet played, in chronological order, the eight compositions on their new album The Road, plus a couple of encores. A tight, well-rehearsed and very professional quintet, it featured, other than Margossian on piano, her long-term colleagues Stuart Vandegraaff (saxophones & clarinet), Jacques Emery (double bass), Adem Yilmaz (percussion), and Alexander Inman-Hislop (drums).
I have a working familiarity with the group’s two albums – including their first, Transition– but their studio work, although highly impressive, did not adequately prepare me for the group’s overwhelming brilliance in live performance.
Consider how well Yilmaz and Inman-Hislop have integrated their playing together. These two extraordinary musicians might be respectively a percussionist and a drummer, but it would be more apt to think of them as two highly skilled percussionists, such were the subtleties and nuances in their playing. Unusual in what may appear to be a fusion band, they showed an excellent feel for dynamics, bringing the volume up or down whenever necessary, creating the tension and release essential to jazz.