389

Alex Maguire Sextet: Brewed in Belgium

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Alex Maguire Sextet: Brewed in Belgium While calling them a pick-up band would be unfairly dismissive, the members of Belgium's The Wrong Object sure do get around. Since 2007, in addition to its own Stories from the Shed (Moonjune, 2008), TWO has collaborated with British trombonist Annie Whitehead and trumpeter Harry Beckett on Platform One (Jazzprint, 2007), and Elton Dean on The Unbelievable Truth (Moonjune, 2007)—one of the British saxophonist's last performances before his unexpected passing in February, 2006. Brewed in Belgium continues the group's winning streak of stylistic breadth, this time with keyboardist Alex Maguire at the helm.

Maguire's teaming with saxophonist Robin Verheyen and four-fifths of TWO—guitarist Michel Delville, trumpeter Jean-Paul Estievenart, bassist Damien Polard, and drummer Laurent Delchambre—makes perfect sense. The keyboardist worked regularly with Dean in his last years, including the collaborative group Psychic Warrior (Hux, 2003) and the saxophonist's Moorsong (Cuneiform, 2001). Maguire opens this live set with a lengthy and largely solo revisitation of his elegant but oddly titled ballad, "Psychic Warrior." Best known, perhaps, for his organ/synth work, here he proves himself an equally compelling pianist, combining hints of Bill Evans with, at times, greater drama and unexpected flourishes.



The sextet gradually enters during the song's final moments, segueing into the 9/4, riff-driven groove of "John's Fragment," from Moorsong, with Maguire adding organ to the mix. A simple thematic premise but a set-up for powerful solos by Verheyen and Estievenart, over a turbulent foundation where Delville's synth guitar comingles with Maguire's equally outre accompaniment. Incredible though it may seem, given Dean's free jazz proclivities, this version of "John's Fragment" is far looser and open-ended than the original.



The fifteen minute-long "Saturn," Brewed in Belgium's longest track, explores a singular bass riff, with Maguire and the entire group drawing a clear line to the music Soft Machine was making during its Dean years. That period—from Third (Columbia, 1970) through Fifth (Columbia, 1972)—was vastly influential in its marriage of open-ended improvisation with the energy and electricity of rock. The flexibility demonstrated here would simply not be the same without it. The brief, cued theme of Delville's "Theresa's Dress" was a brief interlude on Stories from the Shed, but here it's extended to nearly ten minutes of free play that gradually intensifies in energy and density as it then dissolves into Maguire's equally oblique "Pumpkin Soup." The group finishes the set with a potent take on Dean's irregular-metered, grooving and often-covered (and often slightly renamed) "Seven for Lee."



Throughout, despite the sextet's collaborative nature, Maguire's near encyclopedic breadth of references make Brewed in Belgium true fusion music. More than just a blending of jazz and rock, he seamlessly brings together seemingly disparate stylistic elements. It must have been exciting to be in the Belgium club that night; thankfully Dutch radio was there to document it and Moonjune's always-watchful Leonardo Pavkovic ready to make Brewed in Belgium available to a wider audience.


Track Listing: Psychic Warrior; John's Fragment; Saturn; Theresa's Dress; Pumpkin Soup; Seven for Lee.

Personnel: Alex Maguire: acoustic piano, synth; Michel Delville: synth guitar; Jean-Paul Estievenart: trumpet, flugelhorn; Robin Verheyen: soprano and tenor saxophone; Damien Polard: bass guitar; Laurent Delchambre: drums.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Moonjune Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "MG50 Peace & Fire" CD/LP/Track Review MG50 Peace & Fire
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 12, 2016
Read "Recondita Armonia" CD/LP/Track Review Recondita Armonia
by Phillip Woolever
Published: March 12, 2016
Read "Live at 5e" CD/LP/Track Review Live at 5e
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: August 13, 2016
Read "AHEO" CD/LP/Track Review AHEO
by James Nadal
Published: May 23, 2016
Read "Flaga: Book of Angels, Volume 27" CD/LP/Track Review Flaga: Book of Angels, Volume 27
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 14, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!