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Simon Lasky Group: About The Moment

Geno Thackara By

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Which moment could this title be referring to? There's no shortage of beautifully striking ones scattered throughout the Simon Lasky Group's second outing: dynamic lifts and swells, chord changes that step through sophisticated sequences as smoothly as descending stairs, little heads or melody lines that pack a special hit because they're placed at just the right spot in the larger context of the piece. The whole album is really an extended moment of happy togetherness, presented as a mosaic of all those small ones making up the whole.

The group's light fusion sound has a significant streak of Pat Metheny—the uplifting improvisational grooves, classy chops, exotic percussion and even some well-nuanced harmonica that evokes Lyle Mays' old synth sound in a couple spots. It's natural to think of Weather Report as Pete Billington adeptly glides up and down the fretless bass, or pleasantly recall John McLaughlin's Shakti when Kuljit Bhamra augments the drums with spirited tabla work. There's a lot to enjoy for listeners who like all those bands' sounds, though the SLG's joyful combustion is a product of their own making.

The leader's pieces are built for the ensemble with space to feature everyone without singling out anyone. "Mila's Song" is a lovely and not-so-simple piano solo; "Nightrider" is largely carried by guitar; "She Said" puts the bass and harmonica foremost. When the others sometimes drop out behind Lasky's keys, it's not to put him in the spotlight, but introduce a new shift or pattern for the band to explore. For all the interplay going on, it's difficult to actually point to any conventional solos. Each individual's turn in front is built into things as a piece of the overall structure.

The group can do simple and pretty (see the closing "New Day") as capably as it takes off from the ground and soars (e.g. the exuberant "Mountain Spirit"). There are melodies that please the ear without needing to be catchy and performances that impress without needing to be flashy. Distinct and comfortably familiar at the same time, About the Moment cooks briskly and offers a nice lift.

Track Listing: Dancing In The Rain; She Said; Mountain Spirit; Nightrider; Intro To Close To Ecstasy; Close To Ecstasy; Mila's Song; Mendocino; Chasing Shadows; New Day.

Personnel: Simon Lasky: piano & keyboards; Luca Boscagin: electric and acoustic guitars; Pete Billington: fretless and electric bass; Sophie Alloway: drums; Kuljit Bhamra: tabla; Fergus Gerrard: percussion; Phillip Achille: harmonica.

Title: About The Moment | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: 33 Records

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