Going back to their roots in Studio 2, ParrJazz welcomed Forq to Liverpool’s finest Tuesday night entertainment. Mikey Fell was there to check it out.

As always the crowd for ParrJazz is an eclectic mix, evident from the pot of tea rubbing shoulders with a pint of Stella on the table next to ours. Ideal then for the headline group whose genre can’t quite be put into one box, but nicely comes under the umbrella of tight and groovy.

Forq are a four-piece instrumental group, and spent Tuesday night playing a mixture of songs from three of their albums, and with each song lasting roughly ten minutes, time was racing away.

Keyboardist Henry Hey leads the group, who are something of an all-star band. Snarky Puppy’s Chris McQueen is on guitar, Jason ‘JT’ Thomas, who is best known for playing with Marcus Miller and D’Angelo, is on drums, and Kevin Scott is on bass by way of Wayne Krantz and Jimmy Herring.

The quartet are in the middle of a European tour promoting their album, Thrēq (pronounced ‘threek’), so they are currently a well-honed machine. Their energy is incredible. Thomas particularly impressed. He opened the final number of the first set with a drum solo lasting over six minutes, spurred on by the whooping in the crowd.

Some personal highlights were Taizo (the opening track from Thrēq) and a song which featured accompaniment from an outside car alarm from Chris McQueen on slide guitar. The songs titles were difficult to catch, and somebody must have mentioned it at the break, as McQueen returned to the stage exclaiming “The song titles don’t really matter, do they?”. I guess not if your first set ends in a standing ovation.

The second set was even greater than the first, bringing in some incredibly diverse moments that silenced the crowd. It made this writer wish I’d bagged a seat at the very front so I could get a close-up view of the musicians perfecting their craft.  

And that is the crux of it; their musicianship was amazing. To catch them in such an intimate venue for FREE makes the experience even sweeter.

Hey thanked the crowd for supporting live music, but on a grander scale, it’s good to see more musicians making Liverpool a point on their touring map, and we owe a debt of gratitude to both ParrJazz and Studio 2 for making it happen.

ParrJazz takes place every Tuesday at Studio 2. Entry is free.

Lead Image: Artist’s website