INTERN INSIGHTS: Event Review – Portico Quartet

Hot on the heels of International Jazz Day, Portico Quartet release their new EP, We Welcome Tomorrow, today, Friday 1 May 2020, on Gondwana Records.

To celebrate, we throw back to Saturday 29 February when they performed to a packed Turner Sims. Our Concert Promotions Intern Issy McMichael shares her experience of the event…

Portico Quartet at the Roundhouse, credit John Williams

From their Jazz heavy debut in 2007, The Portico Quartet has been constantly evolving into the ambient, electronic jazz influenced sound that we heard on Saturday 29 February.

The quartet came together in London whilst at university collating Duncan Bellamy (drums and electronics), Milo Fitzpatrick (bass), Keir Vine (hang and keys) and Jack Wyllie (saxophone and keys). Their creative and artistic backgrounds shine through in their sound that is so present in the UK Jazz scene.

Portico Quartet uses an array of tech to enhance and produce their unique sound. Opening with With, Beside, Against the Quartet set a dream like scene that entranced the audience. The synth-drones and hi-tech quality sound created a looming atmosphere in Turner Sims, interjected with Duncan Bellamy’s responsive and sensitive playing on kit.

The fusion of sounds felt like a musical conversation, especially between Bellamy (drums) and Jack Wyllie (saxophone). Their music provided a hypnotic soundtrack for a thoughtful and enthusiastic audience. Having listened to their discography, they are definitely a band with a sound that comes to life live.

The use of the hang adds to the quartet’s individual sound, particularly in their track Endless, my favourite piece of the performance. What I admire most about the quartet is how they develop texture in such a powerful way. Nothing ever seems forced or overdone, each move made by each individual musician is thought through and has purpose – something I listen out for, especially in any Jazz inspired or fusion music. The dialogue created between the players is enhanced by their use of looping, creating what sounds like a jazz symphony.

I am very excited to follow their journey and watch Portico Quartet thrive in the ever evolving and electrifying jazz world.

If you missed Portico Quartet in February be sure to have a listen to Memory Streams (2019), Art in The Age of Autonomation (2017), Portico Quartet (2011).

Issy McMichael

Stream or purchase We Welcome Tomorrow, released Friday 1 May 2020, here

Listen to Portico Quartet’s Music For Home playlist


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