Chip Wickham: Blue To Red

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Chip Wickham: Blue To Red
It's not always easy to feel uplifted and optimistic these days, when reasons to be downhearted seem to overwhelm the reasons to be cheerful. When an album's title refers to a planet's descent from life-giving blue to the deadness of red (Mars, in this context, but British flautist Chris Wickham fears that Earth may be heading in the same direction) it hardly appears likely that it's one for the "cheerful" pile: and yet Blue To Red, from Wickham, is one of the most uplifting, joyous and beautiful recordings of the year.

Wickham is in his third decade as a professional musician. He started out in the hip-hop and drum 'n' bass scene of his native Manchester, played with artists and bands including Nightmare On Wax, Badly Drawn Boy and Roy Ayers, worked as a composer, producer & remixer, and eventually relocated to Madrid— all before the release of his first album under his own name, 2017's La Sombra. His second solo album, Shamal Wind, appeared in 2018. Both of those albums rightly garnered critical praise and featured Wickham on saxophone as well as flutes but on this, his third release, he concentrates on flute and alto flute as well as writing all six tracks and producing the album.

His flute playing is characterized by a soft, ethereal tone, but he brings a harder edge to the instrument when that is called for—notably on "Route One" and "Double Cross," the funkiest tracks on the record. For the most part, Blue To Red is filled with dreamlike, meditative, music of great beauty. The title track, which is also the album's opener, is a fine example of Wickham's talent for crafting songs which are both immediately engaging and also capable of repaying repeated close listening, revealing further layers of sound from all of the musicians. Unsurprisingly, his flute takes on the lead role, but the album's sound owes much to the pairing of flute and Amanda Whiting's harp, a distinctive and delightful combination.

Alice Coltrane is one of Wickham's inspirations and the closing track, "Mighty Yusef," is named for another, Yusef Lateef. Wickham's rich, warm, flute takes the melody line, while the rest of the band play with commendable restraint to create a seductive, positive, mood.

Track Listing

Blue To Red; Route One; Interstellar; The Cosmos; Double Cross; Mighty Yusef.


Chip Wickham: woodwinds; Dan Goldman: keyboards; Simon Houghton: bass, acoustic; Amanda Whiting: harp; Jon Scott: drums; Rick Weedon: percussion.

Album information

Title: Blue To Red | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: LoveMonk Records

Post a comment about this album


Shop Amazon


Read Cranbrook Christmas Jazz
Cranbrook Christmas Jazz
Rodney Whitaker with the Christ Church Cranbrook Choir
Read The New Orleans Collection: For All We Know
The New Orleans Collection: For All We Know
Ellis Marsalis with Jason Marsalis
Read Echoes Of Africa
Echoes Of Africa
The Invisible Session

All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.