Moonlight Saving Time at Wall2Wall Festival, August 2014
“Wright’s pure and flexible voice is the obvious focus of this excellent band but the contributions of the instrumentalist are equally significant. MST seem to be entering a new and important phase of their career and the release of their first full length album should constitute a highly significant event on the UK jazz scene.”
“A distinctive take on an eclectic group of songs and tunes, blending tight grooves with breezily handled, layered arrangements and fluent improvising… as Emily Wright’s vocal line blended effortlessly with Nick Malcolm’s trumpet. There was the sense of an established band maturing and stretching out… every movement in the room stilled by the intensity.”
British Airways Highlife Magazine, November 2013
Moonlight Saving Time, Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho, 24th June 2013
Review by Maciek Pysz
Moonlight Saving Time EP launch
Colston Hall, Bristol, 28 October 2012
It’s that time – and here’s Moonlight Saving Time helping you remember to put the clocks back. Given the band’s name – taken from a jaunty 30s jazz-dance song – it’s appropriate that they’ve chosen the coming Sunday to launch their five-track EP debut of favourites from their live set. In just under two years the vocal-led contemporary jazz sextet have built a strong fan-base (their sold-out set at the 2011 Brecon Jazz festival had to be moved to a bigger venue) and it’s easy to see why, not least because of the individual talents in their line-up. The empathetic duo of bass player Will Harris and drummer Mark Whitlam has become acknowledged as the rhythm section of choice on the Bristol jazz scene and beyond, regularly appearing with visiting soloists at the Bebop Club and elsewhere, with Jon Hyde’s deft guitar and Dale Hambridge’s keyboards both perfectly judged complements on breezy Latin and harder bopping tunes alike. But it’s the exceptional pairing of Emily Wright’s vocals and Nick Malcolm’s trumpet that repeatedly catches the ear, trading the tunes and improvising around them in turn or together, the horn effortlessly soaring, growling and surprising, that pitch-perfect alto voice another freewheeling instrument in the mix. Above all the band work their sound out together, refreshing well-picked numbers like Johnny Mercer’s ‘Skylark’ or the Isley Brothers’ ‘Footsteps in the Dark’, making a cool and rewarding soundtrack that might, hopefully, just take the edge off as the nights start drawing in. (Tony Benjamin)
Copyright Tony Benjamin 2012
Moonlight Saving Time, Oxford Jazz Festival, 4th April 2012
Review by Alison Bentley, LondonJazz
Cycling up the hill in the rain (in Oxford style) to the gig, I was thinking about the band’s name- it suggested something eccentric and English, like a Django Bates album title, and wasn’t sure what to expect. I arrived to find this Bristol-based band – whose name, it appears, is derived from a kookie Blossom Dearie song – playing a moody 5/4 version of Afro Blue, with Emily Wright’s deep-toned vocals in unison and harmony with Nick Malcolm ‘s trumpet. There was a real band sound, not just soloists with backing- improvising all together over their loose, understated latin and funk grooves.
Emily has a beautiful voice, strong and clear with just an undertone of breathiness, and very accurate on the tricky intervals of tunes like Black Narcissus and Corea’s Morning Sprite. At times it reminded me of Flora Purim’s wordless improvising, with a dash of Julie Tippetts and even soul singer Corinne Bailey Rae. Emily named particular influences as Kurt Elling and Gretchen Parlato. Her duet with double bassist Will Harris on You Must Believe in Spring was a highlight – and the audience were quiet for the fine bass soloing and lovely vocal solos.
Will Harris ‘s strong rhythmic double bass pulse underpinned Mark Whitlam’s rich drum textures, particularly strong in the latin and funk grooves of Spain and the Isley Bros’ Footsteps in the Dark.
It was good to hear the voice as a front line instrument with trumpet. Nick’s energetic flurries of chromatic notes, cool tone and playful squeals made me think of Freddie Hubbard and Tom Harrell at times.
Jon Hyde, on guitar, was at different times melodic and angular with a beautiful harp-like intro to Spain. Hints of Herbie Hancock’s Fender Rhodes style were in Dale Hambridge’s keyboard playing, both virtuosic and expressive,
Not quite Difficult Listening Hour, as the thoughtful arrangements led the audience through unusual timings (Chick Corea’s Open Your Eyes, You Can Fly in 7/4) and spiky chromatic improvisation. It was a full house, and the audience was with them right from the start. The choice of tunes was refreshingly imaginativeness – it would be great to hear some originals and a recording too.
This is music for the heart and the head, and on the strength of their sell-out performances at Brecon (where they had to be moved to a larger space) and Glastonbury, Moonlight Saving Time are ready – and surely deserve – to play at bigger venues soon.
‘Wright on Time’ interview with Emily Wright
Venue Magazine, October 2011
Moonlight Saving Time at Brecon Jazz Festival, August 2011
It’s great to see her first big festival gig rewarded with a full house and she clearly lives up to their expectations. Nick Malcolm’s Chet-styled trumpet and Jon Hyde’s absorbing guitar both do their part in colouring the sound, but it’s Emily’s rich vocalisation and her flawless alto range that make songs like ‘Orange Blossom In Summertime’ and ‘You Must believe in Spring’ so riveting.
Wright’s voice is a lovely jazz instrument, accurate and flexible. She has a fairly light sound – you won’t hear her belting it out in front of a big band, I don’t think, and some of her best moments were in duo with guitarist Jon Hyde or, especially, bassist Will Harris. But she also has a fondness for Chick Corea’s trickier melodies – we heard three of them – and delivers them in convincing unison with Nick Malcolm’s fluent trumpet. Interesting repertoire, some nice wordless vocal soloing: a satisfying hour to start things off.
Kaleidoscope at the Rose of Denmark, August 2011
This was not the threesome with Gypsy guitarists previously seen but a more exotic combination of Ms Wright’s jazz vocals with Jake McMurchie’s tenor sax and the double bass of Will Harris. That’s a bold line-up, when you think about it; with no ‘chord’ instrument to fill the sound, each musician is exposed at all times. Naturally the music is more impressionistic and spacious as a result, a style with which the three are well comfortable, and such is the confidence and judgement on display that you feel there’s actually no room for anything more. Familiar songs like ‘Afro-Blue’ and ‘Autumn Leaves’ are refreshed, deftly sketched by McMurchie’s harmonic nuance and Harris’s cool certainty, while the vocals slip effortlessly around the music, adding their own texture and instrumental presence. A lot of the time there’s a duo – vocals and bass, bass and sax, sax and vocals – and each combination has its own voice, opening up still further into the space provided. It’s rarely less than fascinating, not least for the sheer courage of such minimalism, and always satisfyingly contemporary jazz music.