YOU’RE LOOKIN’ FOR SWING?… you’ve come to the right place – Tim Thornton’s energetic, vibrant The Feel Good Place.
The London-based double bassist works with some of jazz’s finest, including Gilad Atzmon, Brandon Allen, Ivo Neame and Gregory Porter, as well being a regular member of Ronnie Scott’s All Stars and hosting a residency at Ronnie Scott’s Late Late Show with this fine quartet of James Gardiner-Bateman (alto sax), Grant Windsor (piano) and Chris Draper (drums). Known for his commanding, punchy bass sonority, Thornton also reveals his classy compositional prowess in this debut on the Jellymould Jazz label with five expansive originals plus one arrangement – and hashtags #swing and #feelgood are entirely appropriate.
Influential possibilities abound in this zazzy recording (Mingus, Ellington and Monk immediately spring to mind), right from the opening ebullience of ten-minute Sweet Chin Music. With Thornton’s solid lead always evident in the mix, Gardiner-Bateman’s unfettered alto improv is a joy, and the frequency of live playing surely contributes much to the unwavering tightness of their rhythms. Grant Windsor’s pianistic style is both precise and bright; and in tuneful Newborn (referencing US pianist Phineas Newborn Jnr.), there’s that flowing, classic feel of Peterson, Brown and Thigpen, albeit with tumbling sax melodies – altogether a totally spirited performance.
Chris Draper’s rattling percussion spikes the lazy blues of title track The Feel Good Place, with the slurred confidence of Gardiner-Bateman’s alto lines reminiscent of Ron Aspery, as Thornton scampers briskly over the fingerboard. The smile-inducing drum effervescence which introduces Monkish Dribbling (facial or footie?!) sets the players off into a bustling display of energy which almost topples over itself in excited impatience; and Tim Thornton’s sunny, re-harmonised arrangement of Paul McCartney’s Here, There and Everywhere (from, arguably, The Beatles’ most enduring album, Revolver) is pleasantly spry, encouraged along by bubbling bass and subtly Latin piano.
The slow, descending-bass wistfulness of Corona (a ballad which claims the exotic mood and melodic presence of a familiar jazz favourite) softly shimmers to Draper’s deep, malleted cymbals as the accomplished chromatic darting of Gardiner-Bateman’s lower register becomes extraordinarily redolent of Stan Getz; and fast-swing finale Wicked Rickety positively gallops its way through almost nine minutes of tricksy, no-holes-barred soloing, with rhythm-makers Thornton and Draper stealing the show before fade-out.
Released on 2 October 2015, The Feel Good Factor offers an hour of accessible, mainstream, jazz-club grooving which continually sparkles with interest – very much ‘the right place’.
Available to sample and purchase at Jellymould Jazz.
Tim Thornton double bass
James Gardiner-Bateman alto saxophone
Grant Windsor piano
Chris Draper drums
Jellymould Jazz – JM-JJ021 (2015)