‘Hon’ – Huw V Williams

Hon

This…… THIIIIIIISSSS [waves CD sleeve]…… is worth your attention!

Hon (the Welsh translation of ‘This’, inspired by a somewhat abrasive poem of the same name by T H Parry-Williams) is the striking debut album from double bassist and composer Huw V Williams; a contemporary jazz release whose brash delivery and left-field instrumental sparkle catches the ear and won’t let go.

Hailing from Bangor, North Wales (on the beautiful Menai Straits), and a 2012 graduate of the Royal Welsh Academy of Music and Drama (first class honours), Williams relocated to London to embark on his career. And now, teaming up with the irrepressible jazz energy of Laura Jurd (trumpet), Alam Nathoo (tenor sax), Elliot Galvin (accordion, piano) and Pete Ibbetson (drums), the bassist unleashes a quintet recording of original material defined by unfettered invention and clamorous beauty. In fact, he declares his enthusiasm for this music, describing it as emanating from “the mixing pot of all your history, so this is just as much about a teenage rock phase in North Wales as a mid-twenties free jazz phase in London.”

Recorded on the periphery of Snowdonia, the eight studio tracks of Hon transmit a certain wild freedom. From the crackle of Skardu’s Missing, with its mischievous trumpet and tenor phrases and dissonant shards of prepared piano, to 06/01/14‘s anarchic, undulating bass landscape (almost electric in its execution), there are surprises around each corner (including elephantine shrieks from Jurd’s bell and typically boisterous, percussive crashes from Pete Ibbetson). Elliot Galvin’s individualistic piano imprint on the UK jazz scene has been a breath of fresh air; yet it’s that same oblique approach to accordion, here, which colours this line-up so differently, offering glissandi, sustained chordal meshes and impertinent solo lines throughout fast-walking-bass Slumps.

Rotten Apple Boughs‘ trumpet-and-accordion melancholy (almost New Orleansean, at times, in its inebriated, flutter-tongued abandon) is perpetuated by dark-clouded unrestraint in the form of jangling percussion, intense bass and mysterious accordion; and retro-detective soundtrack Mugs babbles its way through a relatively simple motif, the solid rock propulsion crescendoing up through saturated waves of wonderful, tenor-screeching mayhem. The deeply-beaten groove of title track Hon is cleverly built out of Williams’ intertwined electronic crackling and harmonic arco bell peals, opening into a rollicking episode which pulsates with horns and tremulant Hammond; and it’s to be hoped that the disembodied clunks and scrapes of Retrogressive Shredfest – five minutes stuffed full of fascinating, unpredictable shocks – don’t turn up on your iPod Shuffle as you walk the Llanberis Pass after dark!

Bonus trio track, Glyn – an 11-minute live recording from Brecon Jazz Festival (video here) – features acclaimed North Wales pianist/composer and Williams’ longtime mentor Huw Warren (also producer of this album). With Jim Black’s impressive density at the drums, it’s a smouldering, building anthem which showcases the bassist’s particularly resonant, improvisational technique – and a towering conclusion to a box of continually unfurling delights.

Released on the Chaos Collective label on 26 February 2016, Hon is available as CD or high quality download at Bandcamp.

 

Huw V Williams double bass
Laura Jurd trumpet
Alam Nathoo tenor saxophone
Elliot Galvin accordion, piano
Peter Ibbetson drums
with
Huw Warren piano (bonus track)
Jim Black drums (bonus track)

huwvwilliams.com

Chaos Collective – CC005 (2016)

‘Telegraph Hill’ – Tim Richards’ Hextet

Hextet

A NAME synonymous with great British jazz of the last thirty five years, pianist Tim Richards brought us the invention of his quartet/quintet Spirit Level back in the ’80s and ’90s, followed by the excitement of nine-piece Great Spirit (with the likes of Tony Kofi, Jason Yarde and Seb Rochford). Both were impressive bands when heard live.

Read the full review at LondonJazz News…

 

Tim Richards piano
Ed Jones tenor sax
Ralph Wyld vibes
Peter Ibbetson drums
Dick Pearce trumpet
Dominic Howles bass

timrichards.ndo.co.uk

Track – CD0215 (2015)

‘Qualia’ – Henrik Jensen’s Followed by Thirteen

Qualia

IT’S A PLEASURE to hear a new quartet release that’s bristling with such obvious vitality and ebullience! Danish bassist and composer Henrik Jensen presents a debut album of ten jazz originals, with compatriot Esben Tjalve at the piano, American trumpeter Andre Canniere and popular British drummer Peter Ibbetson.

Jensen has spent the last few years playing for a variety of artists, but now focuses his creativity on leading and writing for this four-piece which he calls Followed by Thirteen. The album’s title, Qualia, is defined as “an unfamiliar term for something that could not be more familiar to each of us; the way things seem to us.”

Andre Canniere is already known to audiences for his own driving jazz/rock fusion group, but here we discover his more acoustic persona with a technique which is clean and fluent, either at full throttle or when more reflective. At times, his pairing with Jensen is reminiscent of American bassist/composer Ben Allison and trumpeter Ron Horton, though clearly both here express their own individual and appealing characteristics.

Esben Tjalve has a beguiling pianistic style, the opening The Post Office inviting and delivering more than a hint of Thelonious Monk (perhaps even Ellington), courtesy of his fun, even brazen, melodic and improvisatory lead – a great, smile-raising lightness of touch. Pete Ibbetson displays a reliable sense of momentum here, similarly keeping things breezy with brushes and cymbals. The slower-paced The Milden Hall Museum (one of a number of tracks with intriguing, Google-prompting titles!) sees Tjalve and Jensen soloing skilfully around a memorable trumpet hook from Canniere. Dog of the Day returns the band to swing mode, all personnel evidently and brightly demonstrating their affinity with each other (as does Hep Hep, later on in the programme).

And so the album continues, with delight after delight being conjured. A Wave Goodbye sets up an entrancing, slightly disquieting Avishai-like bass and drum groove – a great vehicle for Canniere and Tjalve to roam free, whilst also playing off each other very effectively. City Fox‘s lively pace is addictive (and over all too quickly!), but then gives way to the quirky, twisting bassline of Landmarks where Tjalve and Canniere need no encouragement to follow suit with the freedom to explore, Ibbetson arrestingly and shimmeringly entertaining! Beautifully lyrical, Schmetteling reveals the quartet’s mastery of space, with Jensen soloing so eloquently; and finally, the moving, piano-led Mum Melody honours the album’s dedicatee, Henrik’s mother, and provides another opportunity for his bass to sing.

The recording is favourably direct, with an almost ‘captured live’ feel, helping to make the connection between band and listener. Jellymould Jazz are building their relatively new catalogue with some fine albums, and it’s certainly worth bookmarking their website to keep an eye on their output with releases of this high calibre.

Qualia – certainly distinctive in quality – is on general release from 29 July 2013, following a press launch of 18 July.

 

Andre Canniere trumpet
Henrik Jensen double bass
Esben Tjalve piano
Pete Ibbetson drums

henrik-jensen.com

Jellymould Jazz – JM-JJ013 (2013)