‘Pocket Compass’ – Trish Clowes

PocketCompass

THE BELIEF in staying true to oneself, particularly as a creative, improvising musician (hence Pocket Compass), is very much the thread running through this third release from British saxophonist and composer Trish Clowes. A journey to California early in 2013, including a meet-up with jazz icon Wayne Shorter, provided considerable inspiration for these latest imaginings and writings, resulting in an adventurous recorded project which reflects “the people who help us stay on the right paths.”

Concluding three years as a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, and recording here in full for the first time with her experienced and intuitive Tangent quintet, Clowes has also chosen to collaborate with the BBC Concert Orchestra to provide a luxurious weave of timbres and textures across all eight expansive originals.

From the outset, in the first of the three orchestral sessions, Radiation unfurls into a smorgasbord of delights as the quintet dances freely and comfortably with the lush breadth of its larger counterpart; and Clowes’ commanding, lyrical tenor is equalled by the familiar high dexterity of pianist Gwilym Simcock. With the orchestra extemporising from a melodic fragment, there’s a lot going on, yet it melds intriguingly well. Tangent’s Question Mark, written ahead of the Californian trip, introduces a mood of encircling apprehension as soprano sax pirouettes to Chris Montague’s distinctively unpredictable guitar staccato, the whole episode driven by the bass and drum urgency of Calum Gourlay and James Maddren; and Porcupine is expectedly spiky as its pointed rhythms jar against the satisfying amplified ramblings of Montague, whilst Clowes’ almost mocking tenor encourages a rapid swing to rise out of glorious disorder – just perfect.

From Oscar Wilde’s Symphony in Yellow, Trish Clowes interprets his paradoxical impressions of London’s vistas – “like a yellow silken scarf, the thick fog hangs along the quay” – into the most ravishing of quintet pieces, its combination of soft lyricism and light, workaday scurrying tempered by Montague’s sinewy, shadowier moments. Chattering octaves introduce high-spirited Balloon, as Clowes’ soprano and the oboe (fondly labelled ‘jazzboe’) of the BBCCO’s Lauren Weavers spiral upwardly against boisterous quintet action (Maddren as extravagant as ever) and striking, full orchestration with flickers of the late, great Kenny Wheeler.

Heralded by imitation mammal calls, courtesy of saxophone harmonics plus delicately plucked piano strings, the serenity of whale-watching in Big Sur is communicated beautifully in echoic Pfeiffer and the Whales; and in homage to the genius of Wayne Shorter, Wayne’s Waltz dazzles with the improvisatory soprano spark of its dedicatee, Clowes impressively unwavering throughout. To close, a sensitively-balanced Chorale displays the pellucid soloing of Calum Gourlay and Gwilym Simcock; and with luscious orchestral arrangements reminiscent of Claus Ogerman, the leader’s tenor searchings here become increasingly spellbinding.

All the while – as with 2012’s And In the Night-Time She Is There – this album carries the spine-tingling realisation that Trish Clowes is constantly knocking at the door of innovation, needing to pass through to discover further, uncharted avenues. It’s that inquiring edge, along with an innate musicality, that defines this collection of intelligently-crafted, collaborative compositions – a truly compelling addition to the catalogue as well as another indicator of this artist’s undoubtable advancement.

Releasing on 10 November 2014 and available from JazzCDs via Basho Records, the Pocket Compass album launch takes place at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London on 18 November as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival 2014, including work by Guy Barker and Norma Winstone.

 

TANGENT
Trish Clowes
 composer/arranger; tenor and soprano saxophones
Gwilym Simcock piano
Chris Montague electric guitar
Calum Gourlay double bass
James Maddren drums

BBC Concert Orchestra
André de Ridder conductor

trishclowes.com

Basho Records – SRCD 45-2 (2014)

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‘Seven Hills’ – Alexi Tuomarila Trio

SevenHills

MOVING TO A NEW HOME at Edition Records, Finnish-born pianist Alexi Tuomarila and his trio have released Seven Hills, an engaging collection of nine jazz originals by the pianist himself, Mats Eilertsen (double bass) and Olavi Louhivuori (drums) – plus guest appearances by guitarist and album engineer André Fernandes.

Read the full review at LondonJazz News…


Alexi Tuomarila
piano
Mats Eilertsen double bass
Olavi Louhivouri drums
with
André Fernandes guitar

Edition Records – EDN1041 (2013)

‘Coalescence’ – Andre Canniere

Coalescence

A MASTERLY new release from trumpeter and composer Andre Canniere, ‘Coalescence’ presents a strong quintet line-up and a fine collection of nine originals.

Canniere’s debut with Whirlwind (‘Forward Space’, 2011) received numerous plaudits for its rock-driven jazz grooves. This new recording marks a shift to a more elaborate post-bop feel, displaying greater compositional eloquence… and delivered by a top team of Hannes Riepler (guitar), Ivo Neame (piano and accordion), Ryan Trebilcock (bass) and Jon Scott (drums).

American-raised Canniere (based in London since 2008) consistently delivers a clear, bright trumpet tone, immediately making its mark on his confident, bustling opener, Sweden Hill – Ivo Neame’s piano a particularly brilliant rhythmic and textural core. Hans Riepler’s guitar tone and technique are vital ingredients in this album’s mix. As well as his nimble soloing, a fascinating ‘chemical reaction’ occurs when he either shares or harmonises a melody with Canniere. Their tones are surprisingly close, beginning to resemble a paired trumpet or trumpet/sax frontline, but with the added string attack that Riepler’s guitar can bring – a full and engaging sound.

Gibbs and East is a great showcase for the trademark drumming of Jon Scott – a rock-solid, hard-edged, but also sensitive and imaginative player (heard with Kairos 4tet and Dice Factory) who provides the spectacular ‘snap, crackle and pop’ to a number which Canniere describes as his homage to Rochester, New York. Riepler comes to the fore in Nylon, providing pleasing guitar textures as well as a warm yet agile lead in a punchy and sometimes wonderfully clumping track in which Canniere bristles chromatically. In contrast, Gaslands – a commentary on the topical issue of US and UK fracking activity – finds Canniere soloing mournfully over a troubled backdrop of guitar wash and high piano elaboration.

The eleven-minute Zuid is a brash and lively stand-out, opening with impressive, sonorous, flexing bass. Canniere positively flies on this (Hubbard-like), Scott and Trebilcock providing and maintaining its fabulous motion which intentionally suggests memories of train journeys through Europe. And Ivo Neame provides characteristic shape, reflection and embellishment. Neame is becoming something of a pianistic chameleon in differing line-ups, able to re-invent his ‘colour’ of play – yet his innate musicality and wizardry always reveal the identity of an artist who is so evidently at the top of his game.

Parallax, from its first ear-catching guitar and bass riff, possesses a questioning, tentative air. As Trebilcock’s bass continues the same pulse, Canniere and Riepler freely expound on its subject of perceived change in perspectives, guitar and piano here a classy combination. The more urgent, guitar-led Point Zero acknowledges Canniere’s abhoration of inadequate gun laws in the States, Scott’s straight-talking drums and Neame’s accordion giving weight to the trumpet line. Finally, Neame’s spacious and delightful countrified piano is a key element of the homely, closing, Pennsylvania-inspired Elk Run – mellowness and memories the watchwords from Canniere.

This new quintet somehow has the ability to continually shed new light on their offering, the various nuances frequently revealing themselves differently each time – an indicator of their superb collaborative musicality. An excellent programme, and definitely a repeat player, ‘Coalescence’ is released on Whirlwind Recordings on 28 October 2013.


Andre Canniere
trumpet
Hannes Riepler guitar
Ivo Neame piano, accordion
Ryan Trebilcock bass
Jon Scott drums

Whirlwind Recordings – WR4642 (2013)

andrecanniere.com