The Dinner Party

reviews of Wednesday Afternoon

THE DINNER PARTY with ADRIAN NORTHOVER / VLADIMIR MILLER / PIERPAOLO MARTINO - Wednesday Afternoon (FMR 571; UK) Featuring Vladimir Miller on piano, Pierpaolo Martino on double bass and Adrian Northover on alto sax. Thanks to the FMR & Leo labels, we have able to watch/hear the music journey a large number of British and European musicians who rarely get much recognition. UK saxist Adrian Northover was/is once a member of the Remote Viewers (6 discs of Leo), the London Improvisers Orchestra and more recently the Runcible Quintet. Russian pianist Vladimir Miller has worked with the Moscow Composers Orchestra, Steve Lacy, Ken Hyder and Vladimir Tarasov. I don’t know much about the bassist here, Pierpaolo Martino, although He appears to be from Italy, which is where this disc was recorded in August of 2019. This is the second disc by this trio, whose name is The Dinner Party. Six of the eight pieces here are group improvs with two written by Mr. Miller. Oddly enough, the improv pieces sound like they were partially written as the trio have found a mutual bond that connects the melodic and freer spirits. The title track is one of the written pieces and it has a lovely, soothing melody, the trio sound more like an enchanting chamber trio, not so distant from the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, the sax and piano solos both exquisite. What’s interesting about this is this: it often doesn’t sound very free, more like one player will play a melodic or thoughtful fragment, while the rest of the trio soon join in and accentuate what is happening, expanding upon the fragment into it turns into something larger and/or more connected. Mr. Miller often mutes strings in the piano giving it a more rhythmic sound which works well since there is no drummer here to hold things to an ongoing rhythm pulse.
The other written piece, “Open Your Eyes”, is a playful, charming ditty that sounds like it should be a theme for some PBS series. For the final and longest piece, the trio push things out a bit further, listening closely and getting into strong connected blend which is both inside and outside at the same time.
The Dinner Party show that FMR still has some surprises up their sleeves, when was the last time you heard a chamber/jazz trio playing in a similar style to PCO?!? - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG

Have gathered as THE DINNER PARTY, this time on a Wednesday afternoon (FMRCD571-0120), again in Monopoli, Italy, the Anglo-Russian pianist Vladimir Miller, the London saxophonist Adrian associated with him in Notes From Underground Northover, who will be with Marcello Magliocchi at The Sea Of Frogs and The Runcible Quintet Italian has already polished up, and Magliocchi's compatriot Pierpaolo Martino on double bass. For a dinner music that is also a table conversation about Russian and English Folklore, Virginia Woolf, Fellini and Pasolini. Miller already has two topics in mind formulated, everything else just comes through the back door. Make the three present Fellini with Nino Rota shaken from the sleeves and Pasolini with 'Teorema'. they exchange thoughts about music as a healing art, friendship, film music and the richness of melodies of folklore and how to savor it without being 'below level' make music. But like Morricone as Spaghetti-Mozart, with popular as quiet Friend, with a feeling that brings you to your knees, dynamics that make your thoughts dance leaves, sounds that nestle up without losing their freedom. A dinner is a purely culinary matter and therefore below the spiritual dimension of Music. Said with Adorno. Not from a basement hole perspective and not on Wednesday afternoons.Nijinsky dances Stravinsky, but only as an interlude for elegiac feelings. Martino insists with arches that British and Moscovite barbarism of an Apulian perspective can only dream. But Miller's harps are in the indoor piano something intimate and his attack, similar to Ganelin, Nabatov or Abdullah Ibrahim, so classic, so sunny, that Martino's bass bow next to it like one blowfly buzzes and its rabid blows are attributed to the Terrone temperament Need to become. Northover with his black Italian mane sings his Alto so melodiouslyand heartbreaking, as if he had a southern legionnaire in his family tree, and "Open Your Eyes" so that you understand it. 'Silent Friend' is last, hot and rough and through suffering and grief everything, only not deaf, blind and dumb, pure forza vital, pure Gioia di vivere, great cinema of feelings.

At times record labels can be confusing things. Why are certain acts on labels with others? Look at Pure (RRRecords sub-label). What links the artists that have been released on there? What links The Haters, Criswell Predicts!, Zone Nord and Pain Jerk? You couldn’t say they sound the same. What links them is aesthetic. They all have a latent disregard for convention. But what connects them, and makes the label feel cohesive, is that Ron Lessard heard something in all of them that he liked and wanted to put out.
The same can be said the for Future Music Records (FMR).

Two of their recent releases by Dinner Party and The Runcible Quintet feel like companion pieces. Neither was made with the other in mind, but they share similar motifs, and tones, that make playing them back-to-back almost required.The title track, ‘Wednesday Afternoon’, is filled with delicate piano and soaring horns. Sometimes the horns explode from the speakers, other times they are melodious and calm. But they always grab your attention. ‘Open Your Eyes’ has a playful Basil Kirchin vibe about it. It feels like something that would soundtrack a dinner party. Album closer ‘Silent Friend’ is more abrasive and might be something to play if you wanted your guests to leave early. If you were to make a playlist ‘One’ but The Runcible Quartet would follow on seamlessly from ‘Silent Friend’ so well that you’d assume it’s from the same album. ‘One’ is a monster clocking in at 30 mins. Here the group take their time and explore every logical, and illogical, motifs to its conclusion. Throughout Adrian Northover’s saxophone work is second to none and Neil Metcalfe’s flute is intoxicating. How it flits between gentle birdcalls to full-on rasps in a single breath is exhilarating. ‘Two’ and ‘Three’ are shorter pieces, but no less mesmerising.

What ‘The Dial’, ‘Three’ and ‘Wednesday Afternoon’ show is that FMR is dedicated, as it always has been, to finding the best new music. Dinner Party and The Runcible Quintet create music that challenges and entertains. Whereas Lynch/Frydryk/Fowler/Edwards just pummel you for 50 mins. The songs are filled with clever ideas and inventive motifs Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. But this doesn’t matter, as they all weave themselves into a rich tapestry that smoothers you from start to finish. There is a reason why FMR is still going since emerging in 1987. They have keen ears and a keener idea as to what they are about. Other labels should take notice. (NR)


The Dinner Party is an international free jazz trio, consisting of the Anglo-Russian pianist Vladimir Miller, the Italian double bassist Pierpaolo Martino and the British saxophonist Adrian Northover. I already knew the latter from The Remote Viewers, a band that I always rub my hands when a new album is released.The Dinner Party is somewhat a-typical for a free jazz and pure improvisation trio, because they make very melodic and sometimes almost meditative music in which silences and soft passages are essential. This produces exciting and sometimes breathtakingly beautiful music, which regularly reminds you of film music, in the sense that the music subtly evokes images. You also hear Russia, Italy and England in this music, which you have to play more often, because this is music that only reveals all its secrets after a while.
Nice nice.


Domenica 5 Luglio 2020 Corriere del Mezzogiorno

Take an English saxophonist, Adrian Northover, who attends not little Italy and especially the North East from Trieste, add the inspiration of Vladimir Miller, British pianist and composer son of Russian emigrants who with the land of the his parents maintained an intense network of collaborations and frequentations
(directing for a few years Moscow Composers Orchestra), and close the circle with the double bass by Pierpaolo Martino, musician, musicologist and anglist from the University of Bari.
The result is a group, The Dinner Party (name borrowed from the title of their first album),
totally atypical and intriguing: the their music we could call it jazz, for the choice of equipment
and for use that makes it, but in reality the beauty of the written parts as well as formal balance
and the discipline of improvised sections they are so distinctive that they do play the Dinner Party as a
refined chamber ensemble capable of enhancing a complex civilization of musical conversation.
In the new album released by the English label Fmr Records, Wednesday Afternoon,
it is a pleasure to listen with how much fluidity a lot of songs alternate collective, built on the thread of a non-shouted improvisation, made of whispers, veiled sounds and noises of theatrical scene
that every musician knows how to get out of his instrument
(The Boy Who Barked), with nice themes by Miller (Wednesday Afternoon, which gives the title to the album, and Open Your Eyes) and more swirling and playful sequences like in Fellini.
There is also another tribute cinephile, for Pasolini (Theorem).
The climate dominant expressive, elegant and Nordic,
seems to return something of the bruise light of the image on the cover.

di Fabrizio Versienti

Pierpaolo Martino has also published Wednesday Afternoon, a work under the name Dinner Party, a trio with the Anglo-Russian pianist Vladimir Miller and the English saxophonist Adrian Northover, where the atmosphere is much more graceful and lyrical. We highlight those sound "clouds" that are also "clouds" of intimacy, with the theme and jazz having vital importance (to hear the beautiful evolution of Wednesday Afternoon which generically informs Miller's style), in some way collectors of a generation of listeners, that of fans of the Blue Note and Ecm R. Played very well, it has implications that go in the direction of a jazz with a cinematic appearance (Fellini or Teorema), scenographic (Between the Acts or Silent Friend) , only occasionally shaken by distracting solo interventions (Through the Backdoor), but with no concession to rhetoric.

Wednesday Afternoon published by FMR Records in 2020 with the Dinner Party trio, founded by Martino with two leading figures from the varied British scene; that is, first of all the pianist Vladimir Miller, who among his many activities we remember among the pillars of the Moscow Composers Orchestra (yes, music is even capable of shortening the distance between Moscow and London) and then the alto saxophonist Adrian Northover, in his turn a member of – among his many ensembles – the London Improvisers Orchestra.
The album, recorded in Monopoli in 2019, knows how to attract the attention of listeners for its ability to combine the free experiences of the three musicians with a language capable of unexpected melodic openings and often played on perfect discursive alternations of full and empty that at times lead to episodes characterised by an exquisitely cinematographic mood. The eight tracks in the list – with the exception of ‘Wednesday Afternoon’ and ‘Open Your Eyes’, composed by Miller alone, characterised by a remarkable communicative effectiveness – are all the authorial fruit of a collective work and it is no coincidence that they bear the joint signatures of the three soloists. Among these, leaving you the pleasure and surprise of listening, we mention for all ‘Fellini’ whose oblique, ironic and circus-like melody, can be appreciated for its ability to remain in constant equilibrium on the thread of expressive chaos, without ever losing the thread of speech.

Ugo Sbisa’
La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno






Reviews of The Dinner Party

Il discografo: conversazione a tre voci
per Martino, Miller e Northover
Nel disco «The Dinner Party» un incontro tra jazz e improvvisazione quieta sulla storica traiettoria Puglia-Russia-Inghilterra
di Fabrizio Versienti
 L’improvvisazione non è solo sarcasmo e furore; è un vizio «ideologico», frutto delle abitudini di ascolto, quello che ci porta ad associare a questa pratica l’idea di una sorta di scatenamento emotivo dei musicisti. Certo, fare musica senza rete (e senza spartiti) vuol dire mettere in gioco una buona dose di istinto e di emozioni, ma ciò non toglie che altre pratiche sono sempre possibili, come hanno dimostrato nel tempo le esperienze di improvvisatori «eufonici», da Steve Lacy a Ned Rothenberg, senza dimenticare il Keith Jarrett dei «piano solo». In questi casi un disegno musicale sorvegliato e consapevole smussa molto la furia a vantaggio di un ampio ventaglio di situazioni che vanno dall’appena percepibile dei suoni «sussurrati» al fortissimo degli urli espressionisti sui sax o dei cluster sul pianoforte.The Dinner Party, registrato a Monopoli nel 2017 ed edito in Inghilterra dall’etichetta Fmr Records, è un disco nel quale tre strumenti dialogano, attraverso otto brani totalmente improvvisati, con un altissimo grado di attenzione reciproca e di «discrezione», senza che nessuno tenda a soverchiare gli altri o a saturare gli spazi sonori. Un disco quasi «melodico», verrebbe da dire, dove non mancano gli spunti jazz con tanto di pulsazione ritmica evidente, le melodie a tempo sospeso e le atmosfere più «informali». Gli inglesi Adrian Northover al sax contralto e Vladimir Miller (russo d’origine) al pianoforte incontrano il contrabbasso del pugliese Pierpaolo Martino; ciascuno offre del suo, dalle sequenze di accordi di Miller ai graffi sonori di Northover fino ai suoni sempre in movimento di Martino. Ciascuno dei tre, a turno, fa da collante al lavoro altrui, e la musica evolve così per strani e intriganti percorsi. Non mancano riferimenti a Virginia Woolf (The Window), cara a Martino nella sua «altra vita» di professore di letteratura inglese, o alla Echo Chamber (La stanza dell’eco) che è il titolo di un romanzo di Luke Williams, storia di un’intrigante «memoria dell’ascolto», e anche il nome del «laboratorio» barese nel quale Martino mette in gioco i suoi tanti interessi: letteratura, arte, musica, musicologia.
19 febbraio 2018 | 20:30

The Dinner Party Miller/ Martino/ Northover FMR CD469-1117

British pianist based in Great Britain,  Vlad Miller , Italian double bass player from Bari,  Pier Paolo Martino , alto saxophonist (in this album) and  British soprano unavoidable in the London scene,  Adrian Northover. Dark music as "serious" / applied as sensual. Egalitarian trilogue, collective  work, attentive, sensitive and relatively reserved contrabassist, introverted pianist conferring an orchestral dimension with an open sense of harmony, lyrical, detached and lunar saxophonist, post konitz-desmondienne free flavor. This trio seems to recycle common practices in the world of avant-garde jazz and improvised music in a subtle flow by linking the emotion the free-jazz free moment by referring indifferently to the music of the  Twentieth centuryand the adventurous improvisation of the most lively jazz. Finally, a true originality of the subject ends up coming off and it is their ability to improvise while creating a common thread where each artist finds his place. Miller and Northover are very familiar to each other and Martino has nothing to do but curl up in the midst of their astonishing complicity that he completes perfectly. The session becomes progressively more animated, the musicians visibly freeing themselves from their apprehensions as the pieces develop towards more angularity and interplay, that the music fuse and that the ideas acquire the brilliance and the inspiration of the big days. We can return to these beautifully improvised beaches and discover something new, unsuspected perspectives at the start. An excellent album, finally atypical.

Miller-Martino-Northover «The Dinner Party»
a cura di
 Alceste Ayroldi
The Dinner Party
Fmr Records
Improvvisazione par excellence. E già, perché qui di preparato non c’è nulla e le composizioni firmate a sei mani parlano chiaro: un dialogo a tre voci strumentali intenso e omogeneo, alimentato dal fuoco sacro dell’interazione e da un sapiente uso dello spazio. E alle sequenze siderali fanno seguito corpi melodici intensi, ricchi di sospensioni e di marezzature blues, come nell’iniziale Bridges. In mezzo al sassofono contralto e al pianoforte dei due musicisti britannici, si accomoda il contrabbasso di Martino, che inglese non è ma ne conosce ogni meandro anche musicale da studioso e docente universitario, che cuce, elabora e dà la stura alla fantasia dei due sodali. Stupiscono alcune brani che sembrano impostati ed elaborati da tempo, ma sono frutto della stessa seduta di registrazione, come la bella The Window, costruita nel dialogo serrato e armonioso tra Northover e Miller. L’avanguardia europea viene fuori lucente in Otic Repast, sempre in altalena con intervalli rilassati; idem dicasi per Take Away e per la dinoccolata 3 Moods, dove confluiscono tre differenti modi di sentire che gigionano magistralmente tra loro.
Alceste Ayroldi
"The Dinner Party"
Sorti il y a peu, The Dinner Party est le premier album d'un trio né de la rencontre du contrebassiste italien Pierpaolo Martino, du pianiste russe (vivant en Angleterre) Vladimir Miller et du saxophoniste anglais Adrian Northover, fondateur de l'excellent groupe à géométrie variable The Remote Viewers. Appartenant au domaine de la musique improvisée, les trois musiciens oscillent, tout au long des huit titres de l'album, entre une musique de chambre frôlant, parfois, le chuchotement et de vigoureuses éruptions free. Ne jouant ici que de l'alto (il excelle aussi au soprano), le saxophoniste, tout au centre de la musique, est à la fois l'architecte de chaque titre, le lien entre les musiciens ainsi que son soliste le plus intéressant.
Released recently, The Dinner Party is the first album of a trio born from the meeting of the Italian bassist Pierpaolo Martino, the Russian pianist (living in England) Vladimir Miller and the English saxophonist Adrian Northover, founder of the excellent band Variable geometry The Remote Viewers. Belonging to the field of improvised music, the three musicians oscillate, throughout the eight tracks of the album, between a chamber music grazing, sometimes, the whispering and vigorous free eruptions. Playing here only the alto (he also excels at the soprano), the saxophonist, at the center of the music, is both the architect of each title, the link between the musicians and his most interesting soloist.

…….Northover has also worked for a long time with Russian-English pianist Vladimir Miller, not only in the band Notes From Underground, which plays purely Miller's compositions, but also in the duo and in recent years also in the trio, where the third drummer is Italian drummer Pierpaolo Martino. Their CD The Dinner Party brings a more moderate and distinctly melodic form of improvisation in a relatively more traditional jazz concept, but the audience of a conventional party would still be fooled around at some passages, although it is often really pleasant but not routine boredom. The jazz bases are of a pan-European type and refer to both English and Russian folklore or classical music of these provenance. Some of the songs stick out the corners more and offer different twists and turns, but in some places it's really moody at a calmly flowing pace. Actually, it's a nice transition between standard and unbridled improvisation.
16. 5. 2019    Petr Slabý