Atlanticus is a hands-across-the-pond quartet led by Washington, DC-based tenor saxophonist Peter Fraize
and Brighton, England-based organist Terry Seabrook
. The lineup is completed by fellow Brightoners, trumpeter Jack Kendon
and drummer Milo Fell
. Each of the four musicians has two or more decades of experience behind them.
Atlanticus first toured together in 2016 and Blue Haven
, the group's debut, was recorded live in the studio following a lengthy British tour in 2018.
After two years of enforced lay-offs, the band takes to the road again with a month-long small-venue British tour in July 2022. Blue Haven
is being released to coincide. As the instrumentation may already have suggested, Atlanticus has its roots in hard bop and jazz funk. It does not seek radically to push the envelope but neither is it lacking in originality. The two standards on the albumBobby Timmons
' "Moanin'" and Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II's "Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise"are both given satisfying twists, and the spirited two-minute Afro-Cuban intro to "Moanin'" is particularly noteworthy.
Most of the material, however, consists of originals, six by Fraize, two by Seabrook. Again, these do not radically push the envelope, but neither are they routinely generic. The main event, however, is the soloing. Fraize and Seabrook are gutsy, extrovert players who come across with absolute conviction and it is their well-matched steaming styles which have above all made Atlanticus a popular live attraction. Kendon is a chip off the same block and Fell a deep-pocket drummer.
New ground may not be broken here but there is magnetism in a band which plays with such full-on drive and palpable enthusiasm.
Blue Haven; Swank; Let's Walk; Ethan's Sky; Moanin'; Theme for Reggie; GW RIF; Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise; Revival; That's What.