Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

339

Dave Stapleton Quintet: Between The Lines

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Leading a band while simultaneously recording other musicians for your own label is no easy feat, but it's one pianist Dave Stapleton is achieving with style. Between The Lines is the third disc by the feisty and engaging Dave Stapleton Quintet for Edition Records, whose catalogue includes well received albums by Polar Bear saxophonist Mark Lockheart, pianists Ivo Neame, Matthew Bourne, Keith Tippett and Tom Cawley, and Troyka, and is growing fast.

Stapleton, who graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in 2002 in classical piano, has cited influences ranging from pianists Keith Jarrett's European Quartet and Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi, to arranger Gil Evans and composers Ravel, Satie, Mahler and Beethoven. Between The Lines, on which Stapleton frequently plays the Fender Rhodes, draws most explicitly from Hancock's funked-up, early 1970s, electric experiments and Evans' elegant orchestrating style. The album—which follows DSQ's When Life Was In Black And White (Edition, 2005) and The House Always Wins (Edition, 2007)—combines the agility of a small band with inventive through-arrangements that at times suggest a much larger ensemble.

Stapleton's writing is marked by strong melodies and magnetic hooks, powerful riffs and ostinatos, and unusual frontline voicings. His pieces are given suite-like structures, or alternate between reflective and fiery sections, rarely staying in the same place for long. Solos are compact and framed by detailed charts. The band—which has seen only one change in personnel since it began recording (saxophonist Ben Waghorn joined for the second album)—exists primarily to perform Stapleton's work, and does so with both gusto and finesse.

Waghorn is heard on several saxophones, and also bass clarinet, whose combination with Stapleton's Fender Rhodes and Paula Gardiner's throbbing bass, gives the 10:54 "Horn" an attractive Mwandishi vibe. The tune, a mini-suite of five sections, showcases trumpeter Jonny Bruce, growling and pugnacious in the first and third sections, muted and breathy in the second and fourth. Waghorn steps forward on tenor for the bouncy concluding section. It's a great track. So too are the more temperate "Socks First" and "Under The Cherry Tree," on both of which Bruce projects a beautifully rounded, open tone. There's a Maghrebi feel to the arrangement for "Socks" which inevitably evokes trumpeter Miles Davis' Gil Evans-arranged Sketches Of Spain (Columbia, 1960).

Other highlights include the headlong, boppish "Wig Wag," and "Dry White" and "Between The Lines," two slow burning, building ballads whose arrangements evoke a lushness hard to achieve with just five instruments. Gardiner is especially delightful on "Dry White," which Stapleton wrote with her in mind.

Carefully arranged, well-crafted albums such as this often fall short on fire and heat, but Between The Lines has plenty of both, and Stapleton's arrangements play to the individual strengths of his colleagues. Highly recommended.

Track Listing: October Sky; Horn; Dry White; Socks First; Between The Lines; Wig Wag; October Sky (Repriese); Daz Lightyear; Under The Cherry Tree; Images.

Personnel: Ben Waghorn: saxophones, bass clarinet; Jonny Bruce: trumpet, flugelhorn; Dave Stapleton: piano, Fender Rhodes; Paula Gardiner: double bass; Elliot Bennett: drums.

Title: Between The Lines | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Edition Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Baby It's Cold Outside CD/LP/Track Review Baby It's Cold Outside
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Wrong Turns And Dead Ends CD/LP/Track Review Wrong Turns And Dead Ends
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Lavaman CD/LP/Track Review Lavaman
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 32 CD/LP/Track Review Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 32
by Don Phipps
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Bad Hombre CD/LP/Track Review Bad Hombre
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Aladdin's Dream CD/LP/Track Review Aladdin's Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "Living In Twilight" CD/LP/Track Review Living In Twilight
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 31, 2017
Read "The Quest: Live at the A.P.C." CD/LP/Track Review The Quest: Live at the A.P.C.
by Jim Trageser
Published: February 14, 2017
Read "Super Hi Fi Plays Nirvana" CD/LP/Track Review Super Hi Fi Plays Nirvana
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 22, 2017
Read "The Art Pepper Quartet" CD/LP/Track Review The Art Pepper Quartet
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 7, 2017
Read "Over the Rainbow" CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Rabble Rouser" CD/LP/Track Review Rabble Rouser
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: October 1, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!