Spring Heel Jack: The Sweetness of the Water (2004)
John Coxon’s electric guitar scrapings introduce “Track 4,” the opener, and quick light work by Sanders supports him. Smith enters the slowly unfolding track with big clear tone and incisive statements. Edwards probes on bass, responsive to Smith’s lead. Offering a rare chance to hear Parker and Smith together, “Quintet” continues the amphorous feel with Parker on soprano entwining with Smith’s muted horn, Sanders brisk on brushes, brassy electronic wedges dropping around them.
Parker’s free brilliance weaves through the angelic samples of “Lata.” Occupying a familiar crux point between hyper-melodic and tuneless, Parker warbles circular breath over Coxon’s glowing vibraphone. he deftly attacks the rims and cymbals of his drumkit to open “Duo,” Coxon roaring on distorted guitar and quietly growling. Coxon and Wales create an ambient setting for Smith’s pure musings on “Track One,” Coxon adding accents on harmonica. Parker switches to tenor and trades amazing phrases with Smith.
Quiet anticipation marks “Inlet,” an exercise in space and restraint. “Track Two” continues the low-key mood, built on occasional piano chords, trembling bowed bass, and piercing trumpet. Sanders whispers cymbals and quick drum runs, while Coxon’s electric guitar adds buzz and drone color. “Autumn” feels more like spring, with its swelling orchestral electronics and Smith’s bold fanfares.
The SHJ anchoring duo of Coxon and Ashley Wales continue to prove a flexible and supportive host for some of improvised music’s most adventurous voyagers.
Track Listing: Track Four; Quintet; Lata; Duo; Track One; Inlet; Track Two: Autumn
Personnel: Wadada Leo Smith, trumpet; Evan Parker, tenor and soprano saxophones; John Edwards, double bass; Mark Sanders, drums and timpani; John Coxon, electric guitar, organ, harmonica, vibraphone, samples, electronics, lift cage; Ashley Wales, acoustic guitar, trumpet, congas, samples, electronics, lift cage.
Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings
Style: Modern Jazz