Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

482

Issie Barratt: Astral Pleasures

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
Composer/baritone saxophonist Issie Barratt's music is nothing if not distinctive. The balance it strikes between ensemble and soloists usually comes down on the side of the former. Soloists such as guitarist Mike Outram—whose work sometimes recalls Chris Spedding's in the early line-ups of trumpeter Ian Carr's band Nucleus—and saxophonist Mark Lockheart, however, ensure that there's enough stimulation for listeners whose interests fall into one camp or the other. Lockheart is a one-time member of the British band Loose Tubes, and in a sense there's a similar density linking that band's music with the work captured for posterity here. That said, in her writing and direction Barratt doesn't strive for the effect of irking the purists in the way that band arguably did.

The reflective air of "Hold Down The Moon" proves also that it's possible to have that effect even without making it obvious. Barratt's writing on this one is as refined as anything here and the music is drilled to a point where it's just the right side of losing that feeling of spontaneity. Barratt is a supreme colorist, appreciative of how the palette can be supplemented through instrumental pairings or the deployment of small groups within the larger ensemble setting. In solo flugelhornist Steve Waterman picks his way anything but tentatively over potentially treacherous ground and the same goes for Lockheart on tenor sax. On the basis of the evidence here Lockheart has become a really distinctive voice on that horn, hinting as he does at all sorts of rhythmic ambiguity at the same time as the underlying logic of his work is never in any doubt.

The initial anxiety evident on "Oodley Groove (the shorter)" intimates at the notion of an ensemble on the verge of dissolution, which in itself is tribute to the concision of Barratt's writing, especially when trumpeter Anders Bergcrantz emerges from the ensemble like a habitual midday drinker used to two hour lunch breaks. James Allsop on bass clarinet plays the role of his stability in the midst of turbulent surroundings and the fade, as is nearly always the way with these things, is frustrating. It's just a niggle however, and it takes nothing away from the distinctiveness of Barratt as a composer nor the empathy of this ensemble for her work.

Track Listing: Eva Naim, Mega Supreme; Astral Pleasures; Hold Down The Moon; Brayards Road; Dublin Soundscape; Oodley Groove (the shorter).

Personnel: Sid Gould: trumpet, flugelhorn; Steve Waterman: trumpet, flugelhorn; Anders Bergcrantz: trumpet, flugelhorn; Mark Armstrong: trumpet, flugelhorn; Mark Bassey: trombone; Pete North: trombone; Jeremy Price: trombone, euphonium; Jim Rattigan: french horn; Rowland Alexander: flutes; Pete Whyman: saxophones, clarinets; Mark Lockheart: saxophones, clarinets; James Allsop: saxophones, clarinets; Mick Foster: saxophones, clarinets; Rob Townsend: saxophones, clarinets; Liam Noble: piano; Mike Outram: guitar; Rob Millet: vibes; Dudley Phillips: bass; Simon Pearson: drums; Fiona Clifton-Welker: harp; Chris Wells: percussion.

Title: Astral Pleasures | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Fuzzy Moon Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Upcoming Shows

Related Articles

Read Poems For Orchestra Album Reviews
Poems For Orchestra
By Friedrich Kunzmann
April 26, 2019
Read We Are On The Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration Album Reviews
We Are On The Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration
By Mark Corroto
April 25, 2019
Read Golem Dance Album Reviews
Golem Dance
By Friedrich Kunzmann
April 25, 2019
Read New Jazz Standards, Vol. 4 Album Reviews
New Jazz Standards, Vol. 4
By Dan Bilawsky
April 24, 2019
Read Open Form For Society Album Reviews
Open Form For Society
By Mark Corroto
April 24, 2019
Read Yes Album Reviews
Yes
By John Sharpe
April 24, 2019
Read Avec le temps Album Reviews
Avec le temps
By Mark Sullivan
April 23, 2019