Gig review: Noushy 4Tet – The Great Western Festival

13th November at Websters Theatre, Glasgow

Noushy – trombonist and vocalist Anoushka Nanguy – has been gradually building her reputation as a live act, playing with corto.alto and Astrosnax and winning the Rising Star award at the 2020 Scottish Jazz Awards. 

Tonight she’s leading her own quartet through a set alternating modal takes on some standards, along with her own material. It’s on the latter that they really shine: ‘Party In Warsaw’ starting out spacey and contemplative, breaking into a dissonant crash before finding it’s centre again, the spectacularly named ‘Monster Truck Tuck Shop’ seeing guitarist James Mackenzie turn into a shredding hair metal soloist and a pulsing, driven ‘Seven Pennies’ urging the packed crowd up off the theatre seats to dance in front of the stage where they stay for the rest of the set. 

There’s a strong emphasis on musicianship with each of the quartet; Mackenzie, bassist Ewan Hastie and stylishly-shirted drummer Peru Eizagirre taking propulsive solos but the focus is on Noushy’s expressive scale-jumping trombone slides and resonant vocals. A poignant ‘Strange Fruit’ is a brave comparison for any musician to invite but they pull it off with skill. 

The crowd demands an encore which they quickly accede to after an apology to the front-of-house – a trancey, cosmic version of Sun Ra’s 1974 ‘This Song is Dedicated to Nature’s God’ inspiring a mass chant-along from the young heads. 

While they’ve delivered some engaging online streams, this is music that comes into its own in a live setting that it’s almost inexpressibly uplifting to have returned.

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